Tuesday, December 27, 2011

When Death Comes, by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse 
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox; 
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades, 
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? 
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility, 
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular, 
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence, 
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth. 
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument. 
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Monday, December 5, 2011


This is everything wonderful.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brave Thoughts.

Today I read something that hit me in the heart and I want to share it.  I find it brave to kindly and gently say what you believe, especially when it's about something that can easily become so hateful.  This is what I read today.  I found it to be brave.  I found it to be full of grace.  And, perhaps surprisingly, I found it to be very important to me.  If you comment, please read twice.

Abortion, by Frederick Buechner

Speaking against abortion, someone has said, "No one should be denied access to the great feast of life," to which the rebuttal, obviously enough, is that life isn't much of a feast for the child born to people who don't want it or can't afford it or are one way or another incapable of taking care of it and will one way or another probably end up abusing or abandoning it.

And yet, and yet.  Who knows what treasure life may hold for even such a child as that, or what a treasure even such a child as that may grow up to become?  To bear a child even under the best of circumstances, or to abort a child even under the worst--the risks are hair-raising either way and the results incalculable.

How would Jesus himself decide, he who is hailed as Lord of Life and yet who says that it is not the ones who, like an abortionist, can kill the body we should fear but the ones who can kill body and soul together the way only the world into which it is born can kill the unloved, unwanted child (Matthew 10:28)?

There is perhaps no better illustration of the truth that in an imperfect world there are no perfect solutions.  All we can do, as Luther said, is sin bravely, which is to say (a) know that neither to have the child nor not to have the child is without the possibility of tragic consequences for everybody yet (b) be brave in knowing also that not even that can put us beyond the forgiving love of God.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Community Brainstorm

Have you ever noticed that the "talks" in movies never last as long as they would in real life?  A break-up talk, something that might last all night and be horrible and mean and sad, is less than two minutes in Movie Time.  Pretty much every time I watch a movie or see a show in which they have a serious conversation I find myself thinking, "that would last SO MUCH longer in reality."  Really, your reconciliation talk after much distrust and bitterness is only going to be a few phrases?  And you feel satisfied with that?  I wanna see a movie where they break-up for a whole episode.  Give me the exhausting, gut-wrenching, trivial, hour-long conversation where people say everything they say.


That's not what this post is about.  We don't need a community brainstorm about Movie Talks.

I want to hear what you do that is good for you this time of year when it gets dark and sad.  I want to know what keeps you hopeful, what brings you peace, what makes you brave.  I'm going to write down some of the things that I know help me hold onto sanity, but I would love for everyone who reads this and struggles with darkness to share as well.  Here goes:

1.  Running in the rain and the cold.  I feel like I battle the elements and come out stronger and better afterwards.

2.  Hot tea with a blanket and a good book.  But really, it's about allowing myself to be and not need to accomplish anything.

3.  A movie that gives me a means of catharsis.  Bawling my eyes out to Moulin Rouge is surprisingly helpful.

4.  Regular time with friends.

5 - 10.  Going to the beach.

Your turn please.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winter Run

I have to be surprised by good runs.  If I start out thinking, "I'm going to do three loops," I'm doomed before I even start.  But if I think about running two loops, I can surprise myself with three.

I ran tonight and I got wet; it was cold and dark; the air was frosty.  Perfect running conditions.  I breathed deep and thought about running depression into the ground.  I thought about how next to the difficulty of marriage or a job, running up a hill is cake.  I reminded myself that my legs recover soon after the running is over.  They can handle a little shin ache.  I did lots of lunges and sweated badness out of my body.  I breathed in purpose and motivation.  I ran for health.  I ran for clarity.  I ran to just fucking get whatever it is out of my system.

3.6 miles.  Surprise!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunset at 4.40pm

I can't remember a prettier fall.  or a drier one.  There have been such breathtakingly beautiful, crisp autumn-y days this year.  I hardly feel that I'm in Portland.  I normally associate yellow with fall in Oregon, but I've been blessed with some rich reds near my house.  I love to kick leaves.  There is such a soul-satisfying rustling and crunching under my boots.

Yesterday though, I was driving up Bethany and a few of the trees were completely bare.  The others seemed for the first time as though they were weighted down with detritus that they were anxious to shed.  The leaves looked dirty to me.  I ached for the clean lines of naked branches.  I was ready for the last of the leaves to fall and wash away.  

O Winter.

I can't quite go there yet.  After Daylight Savings Time it got so dark in the evenings.  or late afternoons, rather. I don't like it.  

I'm trying to run out of doors.  I know that will be good for me.  I like to think of running as a Winter sport.  I hate running in the heat.  Hate Hate.  I love running in the cold; it feels right and good.  And I believe that it helps hold off depression.  or rather, that it gives me a tighter grip on perspective and sanity during the long, dark months.

(I know I have a "Winter post" every year.  This isn't it.  But it's getting closer.  I'm one beach trip away from full acceptance of this season.)  

Deep breaths everyone.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Must Write!

There will be a question at the end of some of these Lisa-thoughts.  Please feel free to respond.  I just love comments!

We're getting another cat tomorrow. :)  Well, that is, it's kind of an adoptive situation.  I've been whispering to Eureka all week, "Enjoy these last few days on your own.  You're getting a new friend."  She is so soft and funny.  I would recognize her meow out of a sea of cat meows.  Everything is unique.  What is something you would recognize instantly even if it was from long ago or in an entirely different context?

There are some women on NPR with epic names:  Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, and Lakshmi Singh.  They affirm me and my name choice.  I love my name!  Do you like yours?  Why? :)

Whenever I'm sick I get very frustrated that I can't be more active.  But when I try to do very much I just feel icky.  I need to take care of myself.  But why is it that we often feel the most motivated to do things just when it is most impossible to do them?

I have a good music recommendation!  The Civil Wars.  Fun fact:  The voices are right in Kyle and Dena's ranges.  Kyle plays the guitar and they sing all the songs.  I have talented family. :)  Have you heard of any good bands recently?  Please tell me about them and why I should listen to them.

If you could do something you secretly like without fear of failing, what would you do?  I would dance hip-hop.  Also, I would wear short skirts.


I would like to learn
how to flip off of those play-
ground bars.  Scary fun!

lonely girl cat seeks
male cat friend who likes to curl
up in boxes.  Thor?

the bare arms of the
trees are peeping out along
my frosty drive home.

you should come visit
when my house is neat and the
tea is hot.  that's now. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I rode the bus a lot today. I probably spent at least four hours on public transportation of one kind or another. And this is one thing I have noticed. People who stay silent on the bus seem way more interesting and smart than the people who are talking, especially if that person happens to be talking loudly on the phone. Take for example Bangs and Scarf Girl. BSG is very pretty. She has nice hair and lovely face. BSG seems mysterious; perhaps her thoughts are deep and meaningful. I find myself wanting to get to know her. Then, BSG picks up the phone.

"Oh my god, you will NOT believe who I saw today. Fucking Brandon. I know!"

Mystery - gone.
Deep and meaningful thoughts - probably never existed.
Thoughts of friendship - dashed.

le sigh.

Oh dear sweet BSG, why? Why?

I keep my mouth shut on the bus. Sometimes I smile slightly like something has gently amused me. I look out the window and think deep thoughts. Everyone wants to be my friend.

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halfway Up the Stairs

Oh man!  It is so good for me to read through past blogs and past journal entries.  I have thought and struggled and written and sung my way through some ridiculous times and and some hard, hard things.  I wrote once that the future hadn't been colored in yet and I couldn't find my markers: "no.  they're on the counter, but half of them dried up, and those were the pretty ones."  It's amazing that I once wrote that.  That was four years ago and I was in a bad, bad place.  These days, I am in a more colorful future than the one I then imagined.

I have so much that is good in my life these days.  Take for example, this lovely room I'm typing away in:  next to me is a bookcase full of wonderful and familiar friends.  In front of me is some good beer.  On my phone is a "goodnight, love" message from my remarkable husband.  I have a piano, which reminds me to practice for my voice lessons, which are a blessing.  We have a big couch that is perfect for canoodling while watching movies and equally great for drinking tea with friends and my cat.  In the corner is my library basket, full of books that I checked out to learn more about teaching kids drama.  Plus!  a heaping helping of delightful and beautiful children's books.  

Oh goodness.  I can't stop there.  I may have grown and moved on and out of some shitty times, but I can't begin to pretend that I know what I'm doing or that I understand life or the world or my own self much better than I did four years ago.  If anything, I have found more to be less certain about.  Does that make any sense? 

I keep finding myself thinking, "Life is so complicated."  I still am surprised at how limited and ignorant I can be when there is so much more to everything than what I initially see or understand.  I am so young and so silly.  I know practically nothing for certain.  And certainly those things I think I know are only pieces.  Pieces of truth or reality.  And I probably don't see how true or real they really are!  The best thing for me to do is hold everything loosely and ask a lot of questions and drink a lot of tea.  and listen.  and try not to think about what I think while someone else is talking.  That would be good.  I would see a lot more of this world's complexity if I would just shut up some of the time.

Still, I am working on it.  I wake up every day, alive and somehow coloring with these goddamn beautiful colors.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Self Cheerleading

I tend to think of fall as the beginning of the year.  It's easier to imagine change in September than January, at any rate.  That way too, I can think of years from birthday to birthday.  I realized today that my schedule has shifted for good, from the consistency of summer to the strange unpredictability of the rest of the year.  In the summer, I am at one place for seven-ish hours every day.  It's easy to get there, easy to get home, easy to plan the rest of my life around.  Now, I'm going to at least four different schools every week, as well as rehearsals, voice lessons and Saturday classes at the theater.  Some days, I'm racing around.  Others, like today, I have nothing except Henry at 3pm.  Which is tough when I wake up with Peter a little before 7am.  I need some routine, stat.

Running!  I think I'm going to give myself a nice tough goal this year.  I was able to train for an 8K in only three months last year.  I figure since I'm starting three months before that this time around, I should aim higher.  Like a 10K or 15K.  But, I want to be careful, so I don't hurt myself and end up limping around and laying off of running for months like I did last year.  Nice and easy is the name of the game.  I started off with a 2.4 mile run today and made myself stop.  I feel good.

Dancing!  I have until Nov. 7 to finish up my dance class package. I've forgotten that there are mid-day classes as well as evenings. That would fill up my time nicely.  Hurray for Ballet!

This is my current challenge:  find things to do that are productive, that get me out of the house and don't necessarily cost money.  I mean, I could clean the house, but how many days am I really going to be motivated to do that?  I have enough time to be really on top of my classes this year.  I want to be a more prepared teacher this year.  I can do this.

Have you noticed that this post is like a giant pep talk for myself?  GO! FIGHT! WIN!  I'm always wanting to live life to the fullest.  This fall, I'm going to throw myself head first into good things.  Time wasting will be kept to a minimum and joy and purpose will be seized at every opportunity!  or ... most opportunities.  many opportunities.  I am Lisa and I do love my long mornings with tea and books.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lace-up Wedges


1.  Wake up at 6:15am.  Hate everything in your life.
2.  Jump in a cab and go to the train station.
3.  Stand in a ticket queue behind idiots who can't schedule their trip around planned Tube construction and thus have missed their train.   Silently fume.
4.  Go through seven security checkpoints at Heathrow Airport.  SEVEN.
5.  Nap sporadically on the plane.
6.  Thank your mother for anti-anxiety meds that calm your restless leg syndrome.
7.  Tiredly fight with your husband in every airport over the silliest things.
8.  Repeat step five.
9.  Get on a MAX, find your car, drive home.
10.  SHOWER!!!
11.  Put on make-up, make coffee and head out the door.
12.  Lie on the grass outside the concert venue.
13.  Drink Beer.
14.  Watch Ping-Pong while waiting for openers to finish and your band to start.
15.  Listen to other people's conversations.
16.  Repeat steps 13, 14 &15.
17.  Go inside, let loose and enjoy the music.

There should be an even 20 in this list in order to measure up to Lisa List Making Standards, but alas, I am still jet-lagged and oh so tired.  So, there you have it - a good concert experience that I enjoyed. :)  Like being drunk, but not.  What?

Go listen to the Lumineers.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Life with a Broken Arm

We're growing, growing and I'm changing, changing.

I read back on my journal entries sometimes.  It's so nice to know that I'm not the same.  Things Change.  For better, for worse, for different.
               And some things stay what they were.  Whatever they were, they continue to be:  hard, nice, quiet, frustrating, funny.

I love it when things become non-existent issues.  Over time, they stop meaning as much or having as big a place in my consciousness.  Although that can be sad.  I hope certain things never stop meaning as much to me.

I like to walk.  I like to play on playgrounds.  Peter and I had conversation through one of those playground pipes that are like walkie-talkies.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  It's fun to talk about important and silly things while sitting on bark chips.  
Walking is always good.  You might find blackberries. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

there is a time for blogging ...

It is good to run in the cool of the evening.  and to let your body choose the longer of two routes because your knees aren't hurting and there's no pain in your chest.  It is good to live in the darkening day and to breathe and to feel good about what you can do.  I'm still running.

My face sweats more than the rest of my body put together, by the way.  It's ridiculous.  I don't know how or why that works, but there you have it.  Weird.

I am currently right smack dab in the middle of life.  Marriage is a lot of work.  So is actual work.  My job is great, but I don't always have the wealth of patience for tiny children that I should.  Also, you have to spend a lot of time with your husband to really maintain a good relationship.  Who knew?

I'm also taking dance classes.  I would like to be able to do the splits one way or another by the end of the summer.  In the meantime, I'm relearning leaps and dancing to Katy Perry. :)

Sometime soon soon soon, I want to sit outside a Portland bar with a beer and a friend.  It should be warm by not hot and I will have biked there.  We'll both be done with work for the week and we'll understand one another.  We'll talk and laugh and be happy to be near one another.  This is something that will probably actually happen to me.  It is perfection and it exists from time to time in my life.

What the hell?  How did I wake up with a job and a husband and a life that I enjoy with a body that can run in the evening?  I've been biking to work too.  And it's summer.  I've promised myself that I'm going to get shitfaced at least once before September.  I don't do it often enough.  I can't grow up too fast you know.  There is something so freeing about drinking more than you should and then leaning on someone you trust who will get you back to your bed in one piece.

Speaking of which, goodnight.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I really do have bigger things happening in my mind and in my life than Baby Caroline.  I just don't know how to write about them.

Baby Caroline

Kiersten and I babysat Baby Caroline tonight.  Just her.  Brother and Sister were on dates with the parents and Caroline was all on her own with us.  She cried for a straight hour and a half.  You could tell that she was just tired and confused and unhappy and unsettled with us. Which was understandable.  Still hard to deal with, but understandable nonetheless.

Babies are nice.  You can say anything you want around them.  I like to sing songs and say silly words in a high voice to babies when they're happy.  But they are a little too much for me when they're not, which can be often.  The constant loud crying in my ear is tricky.  I sat Caroline in her high chair while Kierst and I made dinner and she cried the whole time.  It was hard to think or have a conversation that wasn't about Baby Caroline.

She was happy later, but I was still glad to leave her.

My house is so peaceful.  There are no babies here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I like new words.

I don't think it's cliche to love long walks on the beach.  They really are refreshing and wonderful.

I like poems.

Sunsets are never over-rated.
          neither is cereal with marshmallows.

                            if I were a bird I would be a crane.

new bangs.

I feel open and hopeful about this summer.
        good friends.  good beer.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Music Box River Ride

Yesterday Kiersten and I spontaneously agreed to meet at a park in NE Portland on our bikes.  There we met up with a large group of hipsters and a collection of other eclectic Portlanders.  A guy rolled up with a trailer attached to his bike that was carrying big speakers and we rode out, serenaded by Queen's "Bicycle."  We biked through the side streets of NE Portland and hooted and hollered at the residents who stood waving from their porches.  Bicyclists took turns stopping traffic while we cruised through intersections on our way to a beach on the Columbia.  The sun was setting, the air was glowing, the wind was warm and the glee was infectious.  Once there, everyone dropped down next to their bikes, cracked open cheap beer and watched a beautiful sunset over the water.  After the sun dropped below the horizon, someone built a fire and soon joints were out and people were drinking and dancing and loving Portland and the start of this delightful summer.  

We rode back in small groups through the dark streets, watching more carefully for cars and waving goodbye when people broke away to ride home.  

This is what I want my summer to be:  beaches and bikes and bright moments.  

Feel free to join me in any of the following:
1) volunteering at a beer festival.
2) going to the beach.
3) reading in parks.
4) browsing farmers' markets
5) dressing up
6) dressing down
8) taking dance classes
9) going to a play
10) barbequeing

Also, these are other Pedalpalooza rides I am available to ride/am interested in riding.  If you want to come with, let me know!  They are so fun!
Monday, June 20th, 6pm: Mt. Tabor - sunset on Mt Tabor with instruments.
Thursday, June 23rd, 9pm:  Unicorn Ride. :)
Friday, June 24th, 7:15am:  Breakfast on the Bridges
Friday/Saturday/Sunday 6:30pm:  Bike Noir - friends of mine from NWCT are doing a play/ride
Saturday, June 25th, 9pm:  Midnight Ridazz - "Those LA kids bring us yet another delightful ride full of terrible, terrible ideas.  Somehow it will all work out."

The last one both scares and excites me. :)  here's the website, come ride with me! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Full Day

I had an emotionally overwhelming day on Sunday.

                    My show closed.

and I had a dance callback twenty minutes later for a show this winter that I really want.
     also, I just started learning how to tap dance this last Thursday.

so ... that's fun.  It was a strange experience.  There I was, with Mandy, Jeremy, Holly and Chrissy, dashing in from the end of our run with all of our clothes in bags, eating cliff bars and putting on character shoes for the jazz number.  But twenty minutes before I had been crying and watching Amber and Everett take a final bow for one of the biggest and best and most important roles in their young lives.  It was a jarring transition.  I cried.  I sat on the floor of the dance studio, eating my protein and hedged in by my lovely cast members and tried to siphon off some of the worst of it.  And then I danced for two hours. :)  And I knew I wouldn't get the routines down perfectly, so I just smiled big and tried to look like I was having the best time of my life.  Which, strangely enough, I kind of was.  Since it wasn't going to be perfect, it was just fun and funny.  I felt full of joy, even when I told the choreographer that I couldn't do a triple time step.  Damn!  I just started learning tap four days ago!  But I worked hard.  I did what I could.  I guess I'll see what happens.  Then I went and watched the Tony's with my fellow White Christmas hopefuls.  and after that went home and wept all over Peter and was put to bed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

jog, jog, jog

Today I read about having a mantra while you run.  Haruki Murakami used I am not a human.  I'm a piece of machinery.  I don't need to feel a thing.  Just forge on ahead.  Granted, he was running a 62 mile ultramarathon at the time, while I was only attempting to run three miles today, but I tried it out anyway.

I've had a weird exercise month.  I'm in a show which takes more energy out of me than I think I'm used to admitting and I'm trying to go easy on my knees.  Last week I wanted to run four times.  Instead I ran twice and biked once.  I'm always very motivated at the beginning of the week.  Not so much at the end.  Granted, weekends are when the show is, so I'm very busy, but still.

Anyway, I've been running two miles only for awhile.  It seems like a long time, but it's probably only been a couple of months.  I didn't have an ipod today, which means I am more likely to overly fixate on my breathing and start to wonder how on earth I am ever supposed to do this.  So, today I paused between mile two and three and tried to get my head into a better place.  I thought, it's a mile, just a mile, what's a mile? just a mile.   and I started running.  Pretty soon my mantra morphed into multiple variations of the above and and i jog, jog, jog and i jog, jog, jog.  This got mixed in with strong legs, strong arms, strong head, strong heart!  i am strong, strong, strong and i jog, jog, jog.

It was strangely effective.  And I ran that mile.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Real Life

I just finished re-reading Anne Lamott's "Grace (Eventually)" and liked it again.  Truth be told, I'm not in a very Anne Lamott kind of place right now.  But I was thinking about my marriage today and the little everyday moments that move us along and I was reminded of something she wrote,
I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kinds of things; also, that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace's arrival.  But no, it's clog and slog and scootch, on the floor, in the silence, in the dark.
She was relating this to the story of her son Sam moving inch by inch in a sleeping bag, over weeks, down the hall from her room to his new room in their new house.
scootch, scootch, stall; scootch, stall, catastrophic reversal; bog, bog, scootch.
I feel this is appropriate.  People don't learn to live together instantly.  Every intimate relationship takes thousands of moments, thousands of choices and hundreds of arguments and conversations and exasperated sighs to develop.  I don't wake up knowing how to best love Peter on any given day.  He doesn't love me perfectly from the second I step foot in the door at night until the instant I fall asleep.  We don't make decisions smoothly or incorporate each other into our processes very graciously.  But we do scootch along.  We get bogged down; we stall, but we're moving.  Slowly but surely, we're inching down the hall.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Once More With(out) Feeling

We truly are beautifully and wonderfully made.  And horribly ourselves from the beginning.  I enjoy the strength and grounded sense of self that have been the cornerstones of my person from day one.  And I continue to try to compensate for and/or make peace with my complete lack of empathy.

Sometimes, on days like today, I feel as though I turn around and am suddenly face to face with that fact.  It's not surprising or hugely disappointing even.  It just is.  And I say, "Oh.  Right.  This is true.  Now what?"  Then I reach for grace and divine understanding.  I ask The Big Good Thing to help me be bigger and gooder.  I work hard and I try to care.  Sometimes I just pretend to care for awhile, while I pray like hell for actual caring to enter my heart at some point.  Usually it does.  But oh goodness, some days it is a lot of work.   

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mother Monster

Lady Gaga made a Country Road Version of "Born This Way."

I just died and went to my twisty, trashy, giddy, ridiculous version of Heaven.


Oh gosh, I don't know.  Sometimes I think I could tip over the edge and become a crazy, out-of-control fan of someone like Gaga or Beyonce.  I'm more than a little obsessed with them today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Today Alan, our musical director, had the ensemble stand in a circle around him to sing through the group numbers.  He said it was his idea of musical heaven.

Can I just say, I love talented, hard-working people.  The ensemble in my show has beautiful voices in every single part.  And we also have great blend.  We're so lucky!  Eeeheehee.  I get giddy about good choral sound. :)  When we sing the finale a capella (not because it's that way in the show, but just because Alan loves to hear the harmonies), I feel completely at home.  like I'm doing what I was made to do.  I'm such a basic, unselfconscious version of myself at musical rehearsals like that.  I bounce up and down, I bob my head to time my cut-offs, I close my eyes, I smile hugely at the person across the circle from me.  How is there so much freedom within a choir to be completely oneself?

I always leave ensemble rehearsal feeling like I've been filled.  I believe that there is something divine in creating and crafting music with like-minded people.  I would like to press my hands together and dip my head down towards that sacred goodness.  God is in these Good Things.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Painting a Thank-you.

Oh man.  I've been struggling with the running lately.  Remember when I hurt my knee?  Well, I stayed off it for about a week and then went frolicking through Tryon Creek State Park.  It was fun and I felt pretty good.  Then I got a horrible cold that made me feel tired and unhappy.  I ran a little, but it was hard and stupid.  Still, I tried about once a week.  When did two miles become so difficult?  I went running again at Tryon Creek State Park and I had to drag myself through 35 minutes.  Blagh.  Dumb dumb dumb.  But I keep trying and hoping that it will get better.  Jess said, "one day you'll have an awesome run that you'll feel like you didn't work for."

Hallelujah!  Today was that day!  I went to the park again; I had music (this seems to be important); I had time; I told myself I could walk a bit if I needed.  And then I ran for an hour. :)  There was even a hill that I conquered!  Oh goodness, I feel so relieved.  I haven't been defeated!  What a good day.
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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I am now a successful bread maker.

Yesterday I attempted to make a little loaf of bread for the first time EVER.  I was scared.

But I was armed with ambition and a page full of useful bread-making tips!  The cookbook I use is kick-ass.  Given to me by my health-conscious (to put it mildly) mother.  It's called Good Food Great Medicine and it supposedly will keep you from getting heart disease, something my mom thinks will happen to her entire family.  Moving on!

Side note:  Henry and I went hiking the other day.  We would stop to look at things along the way and when he was done he would cry out, "moving on!" with an upward inflection at the end and I would reply, "moving on!" with an emphatic emphasis down.  It was hysterical.  to me.

The bread-making attempt started out fine.  Warm water, yeast, a little flour.  What could go wrong with that?  Nothing, except the fact that I just really didn't have enough time to be making bread.  I needed each rise to take only an hour, no more.  And really, if I was going to finish my loaf before rehearsal, it needed to take less time than that. 

Long story short, the first rise took an hour-and-a-half and even then, I was cheating.  By the time I set it aside for the second rise, I had to leave.  "Oh well, " I thought resignedly.  "At least it was a baby loaf, so I didn't waste too many ingredients."  I was prepared to leave it to die.

However, fast-forward three-ish hours ... I returned home to find a delightful doubling of my dough.  I called my wonderful mother to ask if I could still use it even though it had been sitting so long and she said, in short, "why not?"  Why not indeed.  So, I pulled the sticky ball of dough out and began kneading.

Soon I looked like this.

I spent way too long trying to knead my overly sticky dough and cackling hysterically at my attempts to dust the countertop with flour by holding a spoon with my elbows before giving myself permission to add more flour; proportions be damned! (sheisse, that was a long sentence!)

Ha.  Anyway.  I put it aside for the final rise and surprisingly enough, IT ROSE!

And then I put it in the oven and IT BAKED!



next up:  regular-sized loaves ...

P.S.  Don't forget to read and comment on the previous post.  I'm incredibly interested in your thoughts on bravery.  Although bread and baking thoughts are fun too!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Being Brave

What does it mean to be brave?  There is something that I cannot quite understand about the whole being brave thing.  Who can teach bravery?  

There is a bravery that is
a big thing,
a fist thing,
a facing the anger thing.

Sometimes bravery is a
                  me against the world thing.

But I think there is a personal, intimate bravery too.

Bravery with love.
I think it's
               a quiet and difficult thing; it's simple and hard.

I think about two people sitting down and talking about something difficult with compassion and a willingness to work hard.  That is so scary and so brave to me.  I want more of that bravery in my life.
Brave as a bear, with a heart rare and true.    
What are your thoughts about being brave?  What does it look like?  What do you think it means?  I'd like to know, and in knowing, learn to better understand this whole being brave thing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nasty-Ass Cold

Umm ... anyone else feel really mean when they're sick?

I swear, my internal monologue was evil this afternoon.  I felt awful and I wanted everyone else to feel awful too.  Except for my mom and Peter.  Because I would like them to combine forces to take care of me.  No, correction:  I don't want the people I care about to feel awful, I just want all the strangers who annoyed me today to be cursed with my germs.  Stupid people.  Getting in my way.  Looking at me with their eyes.  Their stupid, poopy eyes.

Ok.  Anyway.  I feel mean.  and sick.  Quick! Someone put me in a nest of pillows, turn on a good movie and spoon-feed me macaroni and cheese!!! and then check on me often and offer to do nice things for me.

When I was little, I would read whenever I was sick.  I would lay in bed all day and read three or four books.  Ever notice how there is no real comfortable way to read while lying down?  Think about it.  Every position either requires neck support, or tires your arms out.  Why is that?  Someone solve that problem already.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Radical Face

Today I let my endorphins lead me astray and now my physical therapist says I must take iboprofen for two days and ice my knee before I go to bed and not run for a few days.  :(

My physical therapist is my mom.  She treats me for free. 

When your parents are really good at math and science and you have science or math related questions, you should call them.  And then do what they tell you. 

I think I need to start running with music more regularly.  I don't necessarily listen to what's playing, but the music distracts me from over-thinking my breathing, and kind of frees my brain to think about things that keep me from getting bored.  Here were some things that prevented boredom today.  They may or may not still be interesting:

1.  I like rain best when I'm allowing it to get me wet.  I know I'm going to get soaked so I don't waste energy trying to keep it from dripping from my eyelashes or running down my collar.  It becomes strangely refreshing that way.

2.  I like to look at the houses in SE Portland and guess how big their backyards are. 

3.  When I was a kid my dad thought it would be a great idea for my little brother Kyle to have a business repairing the cracked sidewalks in our neighborhood.  He could call it Kyle's Konstruction Kompany.  Oddly enough, it didn't work out. :)

4.  Being a strong, independent individual with my own interests and passions is more important to me than ever.  I firmly believe that it's healthy for my marriage.

5.  The album "Ghost" by Radical Face is such good running music.  Oh man.  SO GOOD.

Running is good for my being.  I've said that.  It bears repeating.  I've had some shitty runs lately.  But I still want to do it for days like today, where I run for an hour (before hurting myself) and it feels so natural and right and easy to figure out.  I need easy sometimes.  Life is messy and complicated.  ok, so is running.  but today it was gloriously simple.  breathe.  step.  repeat.  look at a backyard.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Secret Garden

I am going to be in a show.  A real live honest-to-goodness-I'm-an-actor-in-Portland show.  I just got cast as Rose in The Secret Garden.  She is one of the dead moms.  Not the main dead mom, the other one. :)  I still can't believe it.

Being in a show was one of my New Year's resolutions.  BOOM.

And I'm just beginning.  I'm so fresh on the scene I might as well be a Cabbage Patch doll.  Someone tell me they had a couple of those as a kid.  I kissed mine with lipstick when I was in Jr. High and the stains have never completely rubbed off.  Whoops.

One more thing:  wine and Glee are actually the perfect companions.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I bought a big book called The Ultimate FRENCH Review and Practice.  I spent several hours sitting on the couch muttering in French under my breath and enjoying little victories every time I correctly conjugated an irregular verb without peeking at the answer key.  Il faut que j'apprenne.  Roughly translated, that says I must learn.  Learning is a necessity.  I suppose that's a given.  We have to change, have to move, have to grow.

Last night around 9pm I ran around the George Fox track.  It was cold.  I had new running pants on.  And I think something changed in me.  Before last night, I'd been operating as though this running thing was a phase.  One of those things that I'd like to keep it around, but that will probably fade out of my life, leaving me with a vague sense of loss and disappointment that I have once again failed to keep a positive habit alive.

I don't know though.  I think I may be becoming a Runner.  One of those people who need to run, who like to run, and in whose lives running is a vital puzzle piece.  I'm not there yet, but I feel myself moving in that direction.  I was running last night and half-expecting to arrive in that tired, frustrated, hurting place where I really want to walk.  I never got there.  Instead, I occasionally took stock of my body and it felt really good.  My legs were moving; my heart was pumping; I wasn't gasping for breath; I felt strong and happy.  This morning my body wasn't screaming at me.  I like this and I'm built for it.  I can and I should continue to do this good and healthy thing and I will probably be able to do it for a long time.

Today this is a new and strange thing to contemplate.  What a bizarre and wonderful turn in my life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number 3
by Mary Mackey

It's easy to love
through a cold spring
when the poles
of the willows
turn green
pollen falls like
a yellow curtain
and the scent of
Paper Whites
the air

but to love for a lifetime
takes talent

you have to mix yourself
with the strange
beauty of someone
wake each morning
for 72,000
mornings in
a row so
breathed and
bound and
that you can hardly
sort out
your arms

you have to
find forgiveness
in everything
even ink stains
and broken

you have to be willing to move through
the way the long
grasses move
in a field
when you careen
blindly toward
the other

there's never going to be anything
straight or predictable
about your path
except the
and the springing

you just go on walking for years
hand in hand
waist deep in the weeds
bent slightly forward
like two question
and all the while it

my dear
it burns beautifully above
and goes on
like a relentless

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cute Things

I'm suddenly into "cute things."  I know this is a twisted part of my personality.  Sometimes it flares out without warning.  Like when I'm driving over to my cousins' apartment and "Are You Gonna To Kiss Me" comes on the country radio station that I'm flipping through and all of a sudden I'm screaming in the car and getting all gushy and happy and cutesy.  And then, damn it!  Glee has to be all cute and I'm wriggling with delight and it's just a mess.  CUTE THINGS!!!

Other times I find cute things to be cheesy and annoying.  Yet another contradiction.

Ok.  Lately I've been proud of my body not for what it looks like, but for what it can do.  I like to feel good about how I look, but I've found that when I'm active I care less about what I look like and more about how I feel.  My body can do a hell of a lot.  It can be kick-ass!  I can run four miles!  I can also chase kids around.  I can dance around and sing with my healthy lungs.  It is a gift.  And it feels good.  Thank you, o body of mine.

You know what else is cute?  THIS!!!  AAAAAA!!!!!!!!  CUTENESS!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Near my home is a track.  Today I ran around it 12 times.  Well, actually, I ran around it 11 times.  Somewhere in the middle there I walked one lap.

That's three miles!  I am a superhero in my own mind today.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Things I may never reconcile within myself:

1)  I am capable of extraordinarily efficient and powerful self-motivation / I cannot sustain self-motivation to save my life.
2)  I love good music, good food and clean places / I have a strangely trashy alter-ego that leaves food wrappers around the house, listens to Celine Dion and can drink both PBR and Folgers with gusto.
3)  I have a group of intimate, beautiful friends who know and love me and who seek out my company / I sometimes feel left out and out of the loop.
4)  I get mired down in the details, lost and stuck  / I am gifted in the ability to see and understand the Big Picture.
5)  I sabotage myself / I empower myself.

All these are true.  Sometimes simultaneously.  And there are many others.  Will we ever cease to bewilder ourselves and one another?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Later, I stumbled to my bed
All alone in the branches
I laid in the dark
Thinking about all of my friends and their changes
My friends have changed so much.  Are changing so much.  They don't think the same things or the same way anymore.  They don't want the same things.  They don't look the same.  What do I look like?  How have I changed?  I have no idea.  But I lie in the dark and I think about it.  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Via Positiva.

Below you will find my "Via Negativa" post.  But that's not all I wanted to write about tonight.  It's a big part, but I'd like to write something positive as well.  Just don't miss that post down there.  I need some insightful and honest comments.

Last night we went to see The Head and The Heart.  Oh my goodness.  They were so great live.  So great.  I wish you could have been there with me.  Kierst just introduced us to them and I'm loving them more and more as I continue to learn about their music.

Rivers and Roads
A year from now we'll all be gone
All our friends will move away
And they're goin' to better places
But our friends will be gone away

Nothin' is at it has been
And I miss your face like hell
And I guess it's just as well
But I miss your face like hell

Been talkin' 'bout the way things change
And my family lives in a different state
If you don't know what to make of this
Then we will not relate
Said if you don't know what to make of this
Then we will not relate

Rivers and roads
Rivers and roads
Rivers 'til I reach you
There are happier songs too. :)  They're a very happy, dancey band.  But even their happy songs have depth to them.  One more.  And then that's it, I promise.  Don't judge me too badly for the Via Negativa.  But do what you have to do.  Say what you have to say.  I need it.

Listen to this song:  Ghosts

Via Negativa.

Peter and I got a gift certificate to Red Robin for Christmas, so we went there tonight and had a very nice time.  While we were waiting for our check to be processed I watched the large party at the long table next to us.  I think it was a going away party with work friends.  They were all women except for one man, who seemed to be a co-worker, and his family.  I started watching them when the first few women arrived, all older and very friendly with one another.  Then this family arrived and I watched them so intensely that I'm surprised no turned and glared at me.  The wife sat at the far corner of the table, with a small girl between her and her husband, who was seated next to and across from his co-workers.  Their two older sons(as in late and mid-elementary school) were seated at the end of the table with their mom.  Right away the couple made an interesting impression because the woman was tall and heavy and the man was very short and slight with a sort of little dog look about him.  He was engaged in conversation with his co-workers while his wife did her mom thing at the end of the table.  I instantly felt that she was very isolated over there.  She wasn't next to or even near any of the other women, and even her husband was separated from her by this tiny girl tot.  At one point he turned to say something to her and I overheard her say something like, "go ahead and talk to your people," which felt to me and my biased observation like a deliberate continuation of her isolation.

I know nothing about this woman and her life.  Why did I feel so struck by her position at the end of that table?  Maybe it comes back to that association I have in my mind with "pregnant" and "trapped."  She looked so boxed out.  Or would that be boxed in?

I wish I could watch some of you reading this. :)  You have such different associations with the word "pregnant" than I do.  I'm so glad.

Somehow though, I don't think this was about that for me.  I don't think it had anything to do with me wanting or not wanting kids someday.  Because that would never be me if I chose that route.  I would have left the kids with Grandma or stayed at home.  So, if not that, then what?

I didn't like that man.  I wanted him to move his wife over.  Be less a part of his office and more a part of his family.  I realize this is very unfair.  But I will never know him or tell him these things.  They're just in my head(and now on this blog).

Goodness, what was that all about?

Monday, January 17, 2011


I love my city.


Who's going to watch this show with me? Anyone? Anyone?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bloody Knuckles

Every List has to have a title with O' in it. Don't ask me why. But judge for yourself: would you rather read a list called "List of Good Things," OR "List O' Good Things"???

That's what I thought.

First List O' 2011
1) Currently in my fridge is a six-pack of beer called "Moose Drool." Obviously it will be the best thing ever.
2) Yesterday Peter and I cleaned our apartment SO CLEAN and re-organized all of our closets. It took us all day, but I feel so much better about life now.
3) I just re-read all my London blogs (Ridiculous Ramblings) and had one of those lovely quiet re-remembering moments. There are so many little details that I had forgotten. I need to pull out my London journal this week.
4) During the month of December I had three jobs. This week is my first week without two of them and I feel like I've just clawed my way out of a dark, claustrophobic hole in the ground.
5) However, I know that when I have too much time on my hands I can't get anything done. Isn't that annoying? I get so much accomplished when I have no time. It's always been this way. I want to continue to wake up and move and be and get out of the house and feel productive, even as things are slowing down.

More to come. I need to go buy a space heater to put next to the pottery wheel so my husband's hands don't keep cracking open in our freezing second bedroom.

I have time to hang out now! Call me!