Friday, December 25, 2009

Trying to say Something with Lists.

Family. Fambly.
1. Something you choose. Those people who are guaranteed to be around for every wedding and every funeral.
2. Something you don't choose. Those people who are guaranteed to be around for every wedding and every funeral.
3. Friends who stick around and want to know everything.
4. My cousins and their mothers. We are alike for a reason. Who knew so many strong-willed, outspoken women could exist happily in the same space. It wasn't always happily.
5. Kyle and his wife Dena and our shared experiences and our love of games. Games!
6. The realization that my aunt is really my aunt and I can't do anything about it. Thank you.
7. Permanency. A sense of "for better or worse."
8. Holding hands with your cousin and knowing that there is something more than choice that makes you call one another when bad things happen.
9. Understanding why you do things the way that you do them.
10. Realizing that we all laugh hardest at our own jokes. Gilhams are retarded in that way.

Growing Up.
1. Finding music that I love and playing it over and over again.
2. Looking at people in the eye and knowing what to say.
3. Paying for groceries and telling people that fruit is expensive.
4. Feeding cats.
5. Waiting for phone calls.
6. Knowing when to take some space.
7. Talking about forgiveness.
8. Taking advantage of these last years with my grandmother.
9. Two beers.
10. Telling, not asking. Discussing, not arguing.

I always have more to say than what I write. Here below is just a hearty sentiment from my deep Christmas insides. :) Does that make sense?

Joanna Newsom makes me feel so deeply that it is good to be a woman. Thank you, Jessica, for making me listen to her on the way to Delynn's wedding. I think I've played "Ca' the yowes to the knowes" twenty times in a row today. My life is better. :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

pretty people

I have such beautiful people in my life. I can be neurotic and insecure and they love me somehow. There are only a handful of people in the world that I assume love me, that I expect to love me. Everyone else continues to surprise me.

I'm glad that winter is here, but it's making me slightly bi-polar. I am a mess in the winter. A mess, do you hear me? I'm drinking tea every day though. And being productive and un-productive. you know. Dear goodness. Sometimes I think people must think I'm a pretentious jerk. Maybe I am. But I can't stand dumb people.

Thanks for loving me even when I'm crazy. Winter is here. I have no idea what I'm doing or what I'm thinking or why I'm acting the way that I am. I apologize in advance for all the ways that I may offend you in the next few months.

Please love me anyway. And I'll be surprised every time I realize it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cats have their own brains. You can't control them; they think for themselves. And they move in their cat-like way and sit the way cats sit and look at you.

My cats follow me from room and room and look at me. They sleep curled up together and walk side by side through the house. They are black. One is a boy and the other is a girl.

Cats are like statues. They sit perfectly upright and look at what interests them. They like windowsills so they can see outside. When they see something move quickly, their eyes get big and round and yellow. These cats are sweet and cuddly and they can jump high. Jump, Cat!

This is not a real blog post.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Bare Arms of Trees, by John Tagliabue

I was walking up Henry's driveway the other day, breathing steam into the air, and I said to him, "Look. There are no more leaves on the trees." And my spirit said, "Finally." It was cold that day. And it felt right.

O Winter, I thought, I must confess I thought, o welcome, cheers.

As much as I wished it to be otherwise, I felt so unsettled with Autumn. I kept shifting my weight around in that big orange armchair, unable to find a comfortable position. It was odd; I thought it would be easy to love. So many of my friends come into their own once the leaves start changing. I wanted to wrap my hands around Autumn and breathe in that warm pumpkin-scented spiciness. But it didn't seem to fit. I found myself looking out the window at that corner, thinking, "Winter, where are you?"

I've come to realize that I am a Winter Woman. I get so cold and so lonely and so quiet and so tea-filled. Winter is sometimes dark and bitter and difficult and slow, true. But it's honest. And I trust that there's life underneath and in it all, even when I can't see or even imagine it anymore.

O Winter. Winter gives me that great grey space in which to breathe. Winter lasts. I get to unfold and settle down. I'm not squeezing every moment out of it, not clinging to it like Summer. I'm not rejoicing in its triumphant arrival, like Spring. It's not Autumn, for goodness sakes. But Winter is my time and my season. This is when I come into my own.

Friday, November 20, 2009

There is Joy in All

Today I woke up too early and drove downtown to have coffee with Sarah Reid, which meant that she had tea and I had nothing (long line). It took me less than 20 minutes even with traffic! We talked and smiled and were sad and happy. It was joyous. Then I came home and made tea and watched "Glee." When I watch that show and I hear those men sing, I can physically feel the joy swell inside my ribcage. Dear sweet music. It makes me squeal and dance about my kitchen while waiting for my tea to steep. Steep, tea, steep! While I dance out my joy.

Life is crazy good. Crazy and good. And Glee delights me. And tea tastes like London and home. I can walk to work. I can hold hands with a five-year-old. I'm bringing the cats home tonight. Penney already loves them. We will have good times. I will be able to afford my rent. And that is wonderful and happy.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

O Peace.

When I came home from London I wrote about peace attending me. It was a phrase I had heard in a lullaby: "Sleep, my child and peace attend thee, all through the night." I loved the idea that peace was active. It was alive and working on me. Peace wasn't passive, it was aggressive. And then, frustratingly enough, I lost it. I didn't know how to hold onto it, or let it live in me. I wanted it; I asked for it; but I felt as though it had slipped through my fingers, or run away when my back was turned.

These past few weeks though, peace has come attending again. I glimpse it through the windows. I hear it in my choir. I feel it in my slippers and taste it in my tea. I look down and I'm holding it in my arms. O Peace. You're right in the middle of these hard things. I am still so uncertain and insecure. Life isn't stopping and things are spinning and spinning. But Peace is holding my hand, reminding me everyday of my undeserved blessings.

Peace is found walking around a Farmer's Market, holding Henry's little hand, feeding him little kiwis. Peace is his ridiculous adaptation of that favorite American pastime and his silly boy laugh and his short lived exclamation, "Holy thin apple!"

Peace is this new and surprising gift I've been given. It's late nights and new housemates and someone who is just mine. O Peace. Living in my house. Driving in my car. Attending me, all through the night.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

salt slab foccacia

I am in the pumpkin-scented house, my wife is cooking for me, there is a kitten asleep in my lap, Jessica is on her way home, and Glen is serenading me with his strangely perfect music. *deep heart sigh*

He has done all things well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I have a large glass of wine sitting by my hand and it is delightful. and there is a block of cheese and a cheese slicer next to it. Also, my friends live in a warm, pumpkin-scented house in SE Portland and I'm housesitting for a family with a large tub that I am going to soak in very soon. what? how did life get so great? oh, but also, I overdrew my bank account. so, there's still a healthy level of "what the hell?" going on right now.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

it smells good here.

Today I opened a window in my kitchen, put my nose right up against the screen and breathed in nice and deep.  mmmmmmm, it was raining.  I laughed.  I heard thunder and the dog, scraping his nails on the windowsill, wanting in.  I breathed in again and thought happy thoughts about the fall and the leaves and the dark day.  I love this smell.  Wet and smoky, cold and grey. 

It's been so long since I've been here.  The last fall I spent in Portland was senior year in high school, six years ago.  or is it five?  How do you count that?  freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, London, this year.  Right?  Six?  However you count it, it's a long long time away from my rainy rainy home city. 

I have two cats.  Am I a cat lady?  They're lovely and crazy and I always have stories to tell about them.  I like to talk about my cats. Hmm.  

I like to sit and think with scarves.  My neck gets cold really easily.  I like the red one.  It's long and I can tie it up in knots and thoughts. :)

Here are some rain-inspired haiku.  It's been another long time since I played with syllables.  I used to love that.  Once again,

Today I worried
about slipping on soggy
city sidewalk leaves.

that Thanksgiving smell
is wafting up from the rain-
soaked, autumn asphalt.

an eyeball licking
kitten attacks my orange
sleeves on the warm couch.

every now and then
on my mind. on my mind. on
my mind now and then.

Monday, October 12, 2009

i'm meeting a family on thursday that might want me to nanny for them starting in november. i just got another preschool from one of the other "first stage" teachers, bumping me up to three a week, and i start working the box office for tapestry theater at the end of october. things are coming together little by little. also, went for drinks with some nwct teachers and they like me. having people like you is always wonderful. three cheers for being likable. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

one flat tire

I felt so self-sufficient today as I changed my tire in the parking lot. "Look at me!" I thought, "I know how to do this! I am awesome." I rubbed my smudgy fingers together and smiled at the dark marks on my jeans. This is what it is to be an independent woman. I almost wanted some man to see me and come up and offer to help just so I could say, "Thanks, but I got this." Haha. I have known how to handle a flat since I was about fifteen. I am confident in my tire-changing skillz and I really like to do it. Seriously, if you get a flat and you are near to me I will come and change it for you.

But then it turns out that my tire is beyond repair! And the Les Schwab guy told me that at least two of my tires need to be replaced. So I drove my little car home and put it in the garage and backed out the Blazer and moved all of my things from one car to the other. Things like my ipod, my face lotion, and my sleeping bag. Because I can't afford two new tires right now. And I can't do anything about that. So I move my things and I wait until I can. There are other things to focus on. But it made me feel a little less self-sufficient. A little less independent. A little less ready to move on and move out. It's hard. But I can't help that.

I've been praying more lately. This week was a good week for prayer. For focused prayer, that is. I have unfocused prayer all the time - little thoughts I flick at God almost without thinking. I like that. But I've been writing out my prayers this week and I think that's been right. I re-read through some old blogs too and re-prayed all those old thoughts and moments. They were good ones. Like this:
I remembered that this is not new, this waiting thing. Millions before me have learned this lesson, and have waited for God to work. have waited to hear His voice. and have been rewarded with the promise of His faithfulness over and over again.
That was good to remember. Also, this:
i know that God has done all things well. that He does all things well. and that He will continue to do all things well. and i will seek rest for my soul even as i do not have time to seek rest for my mind or my spirit or my body.

He has done all things well. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

Monday, October 5, 2009

two maple keys

Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Now read this. Really read it.
I was standing lost, sunk, my hands in my pockets, gazing towards Tinker Mountain and feeling the earth reel down. All at once I saw what looked like a Martian spaceship whirling towards me in the air. It flashed borrowed light like a propeller. Its forward motion greatly outran its fall. As I watched, transfixed, it rose, just before it would have touched a thistle, and hovered pirouetting in one spot, then twirled on and finally came to rest. I found it in the grass; it was a maple key, a single winged seed from a pair. Hullo. I threw it into the wind and it flew off again, bristling with animate purpose, not like a thing dropped or windblown, pushed by the witless winds of convection currents hauling round the world's rondure where they must, but like a creature muscled and vigorous, or a creature spread thin to that other wind, the wind of the spirit which bloweth where it listeth, lighting, and raising up, and easing down. O maple key, I thought, I must confess I thought, o welcome, cheers.
Dear Annie Dillard. This is from her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I love finding similar souled authors. Sometimes when I'm out walking, I'll suddenly breathe in deep and suck down all the outsideness that I can and when I breathe out again it's with a laugh and an alive feeling. This feels like that. O, it feels like joy. Can we pause for a moment and breathe in and suck down all that goodness and peace feeling? It's fall right now and things are changing. Then let it out and laugh for your life. O brother. Can anyone write that the way that it is?
Thomas Merton wrote, "There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues." There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won't have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.
Once I start in on Annie, I can't stop. None of my own thoughts run by untainted by hers. I love it. I won't be itsy or bitsy. I wasn't born for it. I live on purpose. Today I'm going to go play with preschoolers and I'm going to shake my crimpy hair at them and growl like a lion and feel strong and silly. Hullo. I'm praying for courage today. Courage to risk life and openness. Sometimes I feel so cliché and laughably philosophical, but this is it. This is the only time we have.
These are our few live seasons. Let us live them as purely as we can, in the present.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


... i'm a geek i'm a geek i'm a geek i'm a geek ...

... but music changes me. how is it?? how does it vibrate through us like that? how does it shake our brains and rattle our perceptions like that? why am i so happy after something as silly as a singing TV show? i'm a geek, but ... watching cheno and matthew morrison duet was like a musical high. i don't need drugs. i've got kristen. and queen. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day By Day

There's a song that I sing to myself during those days when everything seems overwhelming and never-ending. It's from the finale of a musical called Avenue Q and it's called "For Now." At first glance it may seem depressing - nothing lasts forever! - but it helps me breathe and gives me hope. Hope that things will not stay the same, that things will change. Here are some of the lyrics:

Nothing lasts,
Life goes on,
Full of surprises.
You'll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes.
You're going to have to make a few compromises...
For now...

But only for now! (For now)
Only for now! (For now)
Only for now! (For now)
Only for now!

Each time you smile...
It'll only last a while.
Life may be scary...
But it's only temporary

Everything in life is only for now.

Sometimes I feel like I'm trapped in a place where everything is frozen the way that it is right now. and that is terrifying. terrifying and untrue. Thank goodness. Nothing lasts forever. I once wrote in my London journal, "Time goes by because that's what it does. And we move along because we must." I like this because it's not an empty promise, like, "Things will work out." Sometimes they don't. And hearing that doesn't comfort me. But Things Will Change. That is true. And it is so hopeful.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

i have such vivid thoughts and i construct such complex mental scenarios that sometimes i can't remember what i've actually done and what i've actually said. i think i have memories of events and conversations that never happened.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

screw it. (updated and unprofane!)

my room is always a pretty good indication of my mental state. when i get the occasional organizational spasm, my room gets swept and tucked and fluffed to within an inch of its life. when i'm normal to crazy, my room is cluttery: my clothes are all over the floor, the contents of my purse are scattered across my bed, there's dirty dishes on the dresser, half the drawers are open, there's an uneaten donut underneath my's pretty ridiculous (i have since thrown away the donut). and, as always, i have no motivation to do anything about it. i can sit here and look around and think about picking everything up, but i'm not going to do it. i'm not sure i can do it. i mean, i will. just not today. see? ridiculous.

i think what it comes down to is that i am Unsettled with a capital U. i am unsettlingly unsettled about everything in my life right now. and oh gosh! i really am trying to live in the process and breathe and drink and own this in-between place, but it's not easy and it's not very fun. i'm unbalanced, unimpressed, unexcited, unmotivated and Unsettled. i always wanted to be this adventurous, go where the wind takes me kind of person, and in some ways i am. i just like to be settled wherever the wind drops me. that's when i'm really happy. and then adventures go from that settled place where my mugs are. i want a place for my mugs - which is the other thing it comes down to.

mugs. mugs that will hold the tea that future me will make for myself one evening in my own future place where the rent is paid from money made at that future job that i will go to every day in the future. oh gosh. i'm tired of having that be so hazy and away out there in front of me. i want it tangible and right in front of my face. easy enough to reach out and take for myself. one day, one day. until then - unsettledness. and a messy room.


choir makes me giddy. giddygiddygiddy. as giddy as an infatuated middle school girl. or tim palmer. :)

tonight i went to choir rehearsal. i can't even remember the name of it, something oregon. but the director is a lovely lady and i felt a little thrill when she said, "pick up to measure 41." oh choir-speak! how i've missed thee! and there was jordan in the back row, flip flopping back and forth between first and second tenor and an elderly lady attempting in vain to sing a high A. dear woman, i don't think you were able to hit that even long ago when you had a young voice. give up the dream and move down to second soprano territory. we have fun here! but she wouldn't.

i have other things to write about. but not right now. tonight is a my giddy night. HIMYM premiered its fifth season and Neil Patrick Harris is as wonderful and unattainable as ever. dear goodness i love him. and that show. how is it possible to be so happy over the lives of fictional characters? it's an unanswerable mystery in my life.

choir choir choir choir choir choir.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D D: D: D:D :D :D :D D: D: D:D :D :D : D: D: D:D :D D: :D:d;d;dko;jciejfowenranklefnfinwaerclamamlm dafjewfjalwcjr9wujfoielKD,jdhlsj;d[

like i said: giddy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Like to Write

I like to write and I love to edit. I love typing and backspacing and re-writing and saying exactly what it is that I mean to say. It's a delightful feeling. And one that I can't get in my process-y mess of a journal. So, a blog. Jessica has one and it is my favorite thing in the world. I like it. I like the idea of sharing creativity. And venting about Starbucks moms. Oh moms. It's fun and funny. Hi Jessica. :) You inspired me.