11 December 2010


Well, it's snowing like crazy.  I know eventually it won't freak me out so much but holy shit.  There is so much snow dumping down I don't know if it's exciting or scary.  Both?  Do I want to go play?  Do I want to go to bed?  Should I try cleaning a few inches (feet!!!??!?) off of my car that is parked out front in what looks like an increasingly large snow bank right now?

I'm fortunate I don't HAVE to go anywhere right now, but knowing I'd have a really hard time getting anywhere makes me feel claustrophobic.  I'm trying to appreciate that there's food and alcohol in the house, the heat's on, and my car is parked on the side that doesn't have to be clear until Monday morning.

10 December 2010

Minneapolis Freeze

I don't care how cold it is, I'm still falling in love with my new city...
MpLs freeze

(Via Stuff About Minneapolis and Flickr.)

07 December 2010

I don't know what my first memory of my sister is, but I like to tell people it's the time when I was still a baby and she, a toddler, was holding me on her lap, and she leaned over as if to kiss me but instead bit my ear.  (She describes it now as if she meant to show me, her baby sister, affection, but was overcome by a wave of jealousy that somehow manifested into an ear bite.)

Megan is two years and twenty days older than me; she was born on my parents 10th wedding anniversary and I like to think many of her personality traits reflect the manner in which she was conceived:  planned, organized, calculated, logical...  (She will think I'm teasing there, but really, they are traits that I wish I carried more strongly.  Or at all.)  My growth spurt and puberty hit not long after hers did (I think because I was always trying to catch up and play with the big girls, maybe my body took a cue) and I used to make people guess who was older, and giggle with glee when they guessed me.  In reflection, I shouldn't have been surprised many years later when after a couple bottles of wine my sister mentioned casually how much she hated me in high school.  

Megan didn't go to college right away; instead, she went to South America and worked with orphans, learned Spanish, ate lots of street food, and got her first tattoo.  Then she went to college, which included a year in Africa as well as a return trip to Bolivia to research her undergraduate honors thesis, and graduated about six months before I did.  The years between then and now included two in the Peace Corps, three getting two masters degrees from an ivy-covered school in the Northeast, and lots of travel.

If Megan and I hadn't had Brendan to balance us out I think we may have actually hurt each other in middle or high school.  He was often a little shit, but he was our little shit, and we loved him more than anything, and that was often the one thing we knew we had in common.  The morning that Brendan died, and I called my sister after hanging up with my parents, knowing she already knew and dreading what we had to do, I remember holding on to the phone and listening to her sob and telling her I loved her over and over.  We knew from that moment that the only way to survive was together.  It still is, and we are, and we do.

Last Friday at 5 a.m. my parents and I put Megan on a bus to Chicago to get on a plane headed to Indonesia.  She'll be there a few months certainly, most likely a year or two, or more. She's in Jakarta now, I've gotten a text and a couple emails, and all is well.  I miss her terribly. 

01 December 2010

Old Friends Are Gold

To the ones I can sit for two hours with or twelve and we never quite get to the end of the conversation:
You Are Awesome. 

When did we grow up enough to be married, to have children, to have careers, and aging parents?  Hell, when did we ever get old enough to drive, or vote, or drink, or rent a car? 

And yet here we are, sitting at the bar (the fancy one with tablecloths and candles over bottomless margaritas and buckets of salsa) talking about our few grandparents that are left, our parents that love you like you're their own and me like I'm the daughter that got away (that's a longer story isn't it?), and checking the time in case one of us needs to get home to nurse. 

I love you old friends.  I am so blessed, or lucky, or smart, or however one decides is most appropriate to describe someone who gets to have friends that knew them in their awkward stages, who knew them at their highest and loved them through their lowest, and still wants to drink bottles of wine and figure out the problems of the world together.

19 November 2010


About a year and a half ago I got to finally meet Lilly in San Francisco, through our mutual friend Tommy.  Lilly's sister Fuzzy used to live with Tommy in Brooklyn, and I met her for the first time when we were first visiting NYC last January.  Now, Lilly is living in an apartment in Loring Park with their cousin Nora, and Fuzzy lives in the Whittier neighborhood.  A few days after I moved in, we figured out we live two short blocks away from each other.

I got to be sister wives with them for Halloween, along with Chelsea.  I also get to hang out with another cousin Lyz a lot.  I met Fuzzy and Lilly's mom, she told me welcome to the clan.  It make my heart smile.

These women are some that make me happy I get to be one, happy that I live here, happy to be tall, happy to be alive.  They are, individually or as a group, incredible.  Along with my loves Katie, Kate, Lauren, Erin, Anna, and Stephanie (and a few members of the male species too) they have made this city feel like home. 

I saw this video today on Fuzzy's blog.  Hard to believe, but she's even more wonderful in real life.

working from home from Fuzzy on Vimeo.

12 November 2010


Today is a good day.  

I am alive.  I am healthy.  I am warm.  I have a beloved family and beloved friends, and I am not alone.

What is difficult today won't be difficult forever.  What is forever difficult makes me stronger.  I will let my strength sustain me when I feel the flickers of self-doubt.  

I will thrive. 

07 November 2010


One day you're going to make coffee for me in the morning and wonder why you never did before.  You'll know already how I like it (with just enough cream to make it caramel colored) and you'll have milk in the fridge for just that.  You'll forget you hurt me, because I will have already.  You'll forget you used to go days without really talking to anybody.  You'll want to wear jewelry for me.  You'll stop nervous-talking around me when we wake up and are still naked, because there won't be anything to be nervous about (there really isn't already).  You'll accept what family can be and appreciate ours both for what they are.  You'll teach me to camp.  You'll be disappointed in me if I smoke cigarettes.  You'll still drink much less than me but not mind how much I do.  You'll be the first person I bake a raspberry pie for, and you'll eat it with vanilla ice cream (lots of it) because I will screw up at least one thing.  But you'll eat it, and you'll pour me another glass of wine because you know that's what I prefer over a piece of pie.  You'll know when I need to hear that it's going to be ok when I'm crying, and you'll know when I just need to be held, and you'll hold on to me.  You'll tell me you love me, and I'll tell you I know.  I love you too. 

28 October 2010

Good Advice

Tommy:  "Why are you dating guys that are shorter than you?"
Me:  "Tommy, it's hard not to, I'm taller than the average male."
Tommy:  "Stop dating average men."

Wise words. 

27 October 2010

Pandora, Sharp and Sweet

I should have listened to the little voice saying "No, silly girl, leave that box there on that shelf."  Alas, I did not, and that box that's been on a shelf in the very back corner of my parents basement came home with me last weekend.

I'd peeked at it before, but always had the sense to just leave it mostly alone.  It had been on that shelf since the fall of 2003 when I left Wisconsin. 

So last night, I opened a bottle of red, settled in on my bed, and I opened that box.  Oh Pandora.

First cuts are indeed the deepest, aren't they?  I still look back at that time with that man and feel deeply appreciative, and deeply sad for how we hurt each other.  We were each others first real loves.  In the box were some photos, a dog tag, some post-it love notes, and the St. Michael necklace his mother gave me. 

Mostly though, there were letters.  So many letters.  Did I have any idea how special it was to get so many letters?  To have a man that wanted to put on paper how he loved me, how he wanted me, how he'd never felt like this, that he'd always love me?  The beauty of it is that I know he meant it, just like I did.  It was the first time, it lacked the scars and cynicism that we all carry into any subsequent relationship.  We weren't afraid to write the most ridiculous, corny, over-the-top bits to each other, because we weren't experienced enough to have the eye-rolling response that would mostly likely result from that now.

There were letters from a few states and a few countries, over a few years.  I had printed out our emails because I remember not being able to have them in my email anymore, but not wanting them to disappear.   Some of the letters had "free" marked where the stamp goes and came from an FPO address.  There is a card that was written on the back of an MRE box and taped together.  His parents got one just the same.  They keep it in a frame on their wall.

What was hard about it is not that it happened, or that it ended, but I never felt real closure.  I still don't.  I don't know if that's because it was real and wonderful (until it was horrible) and he was really wonderful to me, and he really did love me like crazy, and I was the one that first ended it, or maybe it's because you just don't with your first.  Maybe none of that? 

Next time I go home, I will bring this box with me.  There's a spot for it, in the very back shelf in my parents basement.  One day in a few years I will open a bottle of red, open the box, and think "Oh, to be young and in love..." and smile. 

25 October 2010

Coffee, Wine, Home

About a week and a half ago (before coverage of the northeastern portion of the country, which is another story...)  I was working for a few hours in the afternoon with Fuzz at Common Roots and it all sank in a little bit... I walked there, and would walk home.  When I broke the coffee grinder a couple weeks ago, I walked there, bought a couple cups, and walked home.  Walked.  For the last few years I lived in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, with two of my favorite people.  But I couldn't walk to get myself a cup of coffee.  I know this might ring hollow to a lot of folks, but as I was sitting with my friend drinking coffee, then a glass of wine because it seemed like the right thing and we could, I realized I was exactly where I should be.

There is the stress of not being employed and the worry about how long it will take to find something I can love.  There is the settling in with the roommates.  There is the weather getting just cold enough to make me realize how bitter cold it is actually going to get.  There is a lot of Vikings fans.  (There's a lot of Packers fans too though, so I'm not alone.)  But then there's being able to walk to get coffee, wine, pho, ice cream, cheese curds...  There's the walk to the lake that I can run around.  There's the beauty of the electric autumn trees.  There's music, so much music.  I haven't been in a place that's this musically inclined since Viejo San Juan.  (There - reggaeton and salsa.  Here - indie rock and local hip hop.  It's all delicious.)

So I'm going to shop for mittens and sweaters and other winter accessories.  When I see a Vikings Jersey I will smile and so "Go Pack!"  I will find a job, and it will be because I want to be there and I chose it. This apartment will be my home.  I am home.

14 October 2010

Job Search Work Spaces

 So I am working from an eclectic mix of settings...

(Back patio, Madison's east side, 10/10/10)
(Dining room table, Uptown Minneapolis, 10/14/10)

09 October 2010

Be Still My Autumn Heart

I heart the Midwest in the autumn...

(Photo of tree in Madison, WI, taken from my aunt and uncles front yard.)

01 October 2010

My Mantra This Summer...

Soak it all in...
The warmth of the sun as the grass tickles your feet through your sandals... The coolness of the shadow... The shadow of your body moving across the grass lit by the early evening light... The gentle haze that is the bugs lazy above the pond... The beauty that is so much it seems unreal... Soak it all in.
Soak in the joy of the bounding puppy as you head towards the pool... The hesitation of the old dog that would rather rest... The call for a "bartender!!!" when everyone's ready for a cocktail... The laziness of nowhere to be on a Saturday night...

28 September 2010


I'm in Minneapolis.

I arrived 9 days ago, but then left for three days, so it's just now that I feel like I'm actually here.  Mostly.  I've slept most of the last 2 days on an air mattress that I think might be responsible for a backache and some really strange dreams.

I have to get a bed.  I have to get a job.  I have to start getting out of bed before lunchtime.  I have to stop letting the fact that the movers in charge of my stuff are jerks put me in a bad mood.  I have to write some thank-you for the wonderful, generous, loving things people did to help me leave.  I have a lot to do.

It's cold in the mornings, warm in the afternoons, and other than rain last week sunny and cheerful outside.

So it begins.

12 September 2010

The Day After Tomorrow

Less than 48 hours until I'm no longer a resident of California...

My room/house looks like a hurricane came through it, but its getting better.

I'm writing this from my knees.  My computer's here on the desk that will be picked up by movers tomorrow, and my chair is elsewhere.  I'm surrounded by clothes to take, clothes to pack, and clothes to donate.  CD's to sort through.  A few boxes of journals and letters that will come with us in the car.

"Us" is my sister and me.  We're going to go see the Grand Canyon this week; neither of us ever have.  We'll see a good amount of desert too, then we'll see lovelies in KC, then we'll pull into Minneapolis about a week from today.

I keep thinking about what's the same and what's different from when I did this the last time.  Almost everything is different, but yet here I am, surrounded by items, a car still to clean and route to plan, drinking coffee, listening to a mix of sappy country and angry rap music, thinking it's a beautiful day - just like I was three years and three months ago.

I'm not alone this time.  When I left Fayetteville I was gloriously alone and all was right.  As I leave Healdsburg I have Megan, and all is right. 

I've said goodbye slowly and quietly here.  One at a time.  I won't get to see everybody I'd like to say goodbye to before I leave this time.  Last time there were parties.  A few of them.  This time, I want a conversations, a glass of wine if there's time, and hugs.  I still cry a little but I know all is well.

It is indeed a beautiful day.

01 September 2010

Hug It Out

Him:  Why do we hug?  What does the action represent?  Are we trying to become one with each other?  Why do some hugs mean nothing yet others transfer warmth and love and lust and passion and love?  Why do we hug?!*

Me:  Hugs are good.  It's human touch, it's knowing we're not alone, it's the warmth of two bodies, it can be comforting or comfortable or it can be tense with passion.  We hug so we can physically know what we cerebrally understand, that we're one part of a whole.  We hug to feel connected.**

*Sent via text too late at night from someone who's getting over someone to someone he never got over.
**Sent via text so early in the morning it seemed like a dream when it was remembered, from someone who doesn't want to get over someone to someone she never wanted to get over.

20 August 2010

Love Story

My cousin sent this link to me today with the label "a dose of mushiness for you".  I told him I've been a little emotional lately and that I didn't know if I could handle mushy and he wrote "it's pretty mushy".
So I waited til now, not that it was a less emotional moment, but I don't have to function so mushiness is more easily handled.  I'm glad I did.

Danny & Annie from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

Ultimately this is what we're all looking for.  Maybe not actively searching and working at it like a project or a mission, but this is what we all want, to love wholly and be loved in return.  At least I do.  I want a love that was more easy than it was hard, more bright than dark, more smiles than tears.

03 August 2010

Ring Ring Glug Glug

Today was one of those days when I wanted to call all of my ex's that never totally got over me.

I'm aware this seems pretty self-indulgent, at best, cocky and narcissistic more likely.  I forgive myself for that today.

I've had a difficult couple of weeks.  Lots of things in upheaval, lots of stress, lots of loneliness. 
Today I wanted to hear that I'm lovable, I'm a catch, that I inspire him to be a better man, that I'm sexy and desirable and unforgettable.  Instead I found myself waiting for a call from a man who, while he may very well think those things, has his head caught elsewhere right now.  (Without getting too far into it, it's somewhere his head should be, not something sketchy and questionable.)  
Waiting for a call, no matter how much I end up accomplishing in the meantime, is quite possible my least favorite thing in the entire world. 

I feel a little proud of myself that I did restrain myself from calling any of my ex's.  Even the one that is totally over me and legitimately my friend.  The one I did talk to (he called me!) was just for a minute, and I didn't indulge in any ego-masturbation at all, even though he was practically begging for it.  (He said he called just to tell me I would have beautiful babies one day.  We're trying to be friends.)

Instead of any of these phone calls I worked out and am about to have a nice big mostly liquid dinner.  I think this is a healthy trade-off, at least on my mental health scale.  Cheers.

31 July 2010

Tick Tock

Who knew?  The maternal clock is not a myth.  I always thought it sounded a little far-fetched, maybe an excuse for women who wanted to settle (sell-out?).  This may sound uncharitable, but it was so foreign.  Until very recently I was not sure I ever wanted kids of my own.

I just spent five minutes crying over photos of my dear friend (and ex-boyfriend) and his girlfriend and their newborn baby.  The way they looked at each other and they way they look at their baby was overwhelming.  It's not that he once loved me, and it's not that I want a baby now, but something inside me twinged...   I want that one day, and I want one day to be not so far away.

I spent last week in a house on a beach in North Carolina on vacation with a family that I've known for a long time.  We adopted each other when I was a girl and the neighbor girl decided we would be friends, and now that we're grown I'm getting to know the neighbor brother I grew up with in a whole new way.  He has two kids with whom I spent days playing on the beach and nights reading books to these beautiful blondes, and it makes me sad to not know how much they'll remember the next time I see them.  I feel drawn to their father in part because I see him as that, a father, a loving and devoted father.  I see in him how I want the father to my children to be.  Until now, this is not a quality that I ever would have looked for or particularly valued in a man.  But now it seems so inherent to the quality of the person as a whole I can't imagine not taking this into consideration.

So what now?  I guess for now I make sure to be really careful about birth control and start thinking more than a year out, so one day soon I can not be careful about birth control.

07 July 2010

June Was a Big Month...

Which should explain why I only published three blogs over the month.

I was my best friends maid of honor and shared a magical weekend with her family, mine, and a group of some of the most wonderful people on the planet.  I loved taking charge and knowing what needed to be done without her having to tell me, I loved feeling like I was really helping her marry this man, whom I love too; I loved being around all the people, I loved the ceremony of it all, I loved the kids, I loved staying up until sunrise every night with her brother who became a man and a father in the eight years since I had last seen him, I loved all the music and drinking and food, all the quotations that only those of us who were around all weekend really get ("that's what she said"), I loved my sister being such a help to me and everyone and my parents being able to celebrate with us, I loved being around my oldest and best friends for days straight, and I love being included in everything this family that invited me in 20 years ago did.

I spent about 36 hours in Virginia for a wedding that most of this country would consider invalid.  The 'best-of-times-worst-of-times' year of my life was survived because of a small group of friends, a few of whom have survived in this group we call the Jager Girls.  (Yes, that Jager.)  That year in Fayetteville we drank a lot, we fought a little, we never got arrested, and together we survived what was for most of us the most difficult year of our lives.  They are the ones that didn't ask but just showed up after Brendan died; they cooked and brought liquor (Jager, duh) and cigarettes, distraction, tissues, hugs, and so much love.
Around that time two years ago Mel was about to leave the job she had held and excelled at for most of her adult life because they said she couldn't love Dawn and still do her job.  (They are proof, by the way, that that rule is bullshit.)  Dawn and Mel live together in Virginia now and as of early June are happily (and legally, thanks to the District of Columbia) married.  I got to be there to celebrate, help with a garter, drink a lot, cry a little, laugh more than anything, and love some of my favorite women (and some of their children) in the world.

My sister spent the last three years, arguably the most difficult of her life, working on a masters degree from a very important and very expensive school.  She'd argue the ivy is bullshit but damn if it doesn't have a nice ring to it.  She finished in May.  In June (the day I came back to Madison from VA) we had a nice little party for her.  Our sister from another mister gave us the theme, my mom and I brainstormed the map as guestbook, I found Dora napkins, and we had enough sparkling goodness that Megan had a full glass the whole night.  It was lovely.

The day after Megan's party was the day before the 2-year mark of our brother dying.  This year it rained, and there were fewer people, but it was just about perfect.  There was printing and drinking and crying and laughing.  Brendan was remembered, and toasted more than once.  This sting is so much less now than it was even a year ago, yet the absence is larger than ever.  It's been that much longer since I heard him laugh, since I heard him say "HI sister...".  I have some new shirts, and Solve has many more fans.  He'll never be gone, but my life will never be whole.

A few days later, I came back to California.  I wasn't as happy as I should have been to come home, but seeing Aunt and Uncle and the dogs (who helped Uncle pick me up from the bus stop, along with a cold beer hidden under an ice pack) made it warm and loving. 

Now I am moving forward.  Spending lots of time on things that feel good and spending enough time on things that I have to.  I am making decisions and sticking to them.  I am practicing trusting myself.  I am feeling loved.  I am feeling hope.  I am so excited for what's to come.  I am 10 days in to being 29, and it's going to be a great year.

05 July 2010

Blowing In The Wind

On July 4th weekend two years ago I arrived back in California with my boyfriend Greg, who had packed me into his truck to carry me home after spending three weeks in Madison following my brother's death.

Today I had lunch on the porch at the farm, with my aunt and uncle and two friends, and I was staring absentmindedly at some laundry I had hanging to dry when I focused on a shirt that was just screen printed on the day we commemorated the two year mark of Brendan's death.  It's a print of his face from a photo where he had aviator shades and a cigar in his mouth that was shaped into a cocky smile.  He would have been laughing when the photo was taken.

The shirt was inside out blowing in the breeze.  Two years ago I was in the cab of a Toyota Tacoma curled up on the passenger seat wearing my brother's sweatshirt that still smelled so much like him.  I remember being hot and crying into it a lot and wanting to sleep and erase reality.  Today was a gloriously beautiful day, hot and sunny but breezy; we drank some tumblers of cold dry rose with lunch, and I watched a shirt with my brothers face on it blow in the wind. 

Today my brothers sweatshirt hangs from the back of a chair in my room and smells mostly like dust, but if you bury your face deep enough there's still a faint whiff of Brendan.  I guess I should wash it when I pack to leave here in a few months, as it's hard to justify not washing it for even this long.  I'll probably hang it on the porch to dry, as clothes dry so quickly in the dry heat we get here in the summer. 

25 June 2010


Me: "I think it's good to a certain extent to question... well, maybe not Question like you question everything and doubt and stuff, but to have questions... to question what you feel and maybe think about why it might be a bad idea or to just really... I don't know."
Him: "Why?"
Me: -silence, trying to answer that-
Him: "Why do you have to question it if it feels good? Why not just let it feel good? We're taking our time, we're not making any big decisions, so why not just enjoy it?"
Me: "That is a really good question."

18 June 2010

Across The Park and Two Decades

Two weeks ago I was celebrating the last single days of my best friend.
We helped her marry her best friend, a man I wouldn't have imagined her with and cannot now imagine her without.
I grew up a half a block away from her family, I've been scolded and celebrated by her mom as I have my own, we've cried and laughed together more times than can be counted, and now she's with the man she is going to make a family with.
Her brother and sisters have children now, beautiful blonde, funny, smart little kids that I couldn't help but stare at. These kids that shared the park with me are now adults, beautiful and handsome, raising kids that I actually want to be around.
I spent these weeks thinking about what is really important. This life is short, and this life is now. If I am always waiting for it to start, I'm not really living am I? What's really important is not what grand imaginations I entertained since I was a teenager, but rather what makes me feel good, what calms me, what brings me safety and celebration now.
I want to leave my imprint on the world in a way that will carry love forward past when I am gone. I want to be a mother. I want to raise children to be better and smarter and happier than have ever been.
It is said that friends are the family you choose, and I'd choose her and the whole clan from across the park over and over again.

03 June 2010

Wonderful Day

I'm in Minneapolis for my best friend's wedding.
Tonight is the bachelorette party, tomorrow is the bridal shower lunch, then nails/rehearsal/meat raffle/rehearsal dinner on Saturday, then the big shebang on Sunday.
I arrived last night and the bride, groom, best man (who happens to be the bride's brother, who I grew up with too but haven't seen since before he had babies), and me (maid of honor!) went to a bar, drank lots, ate a little, and made friends with everybody.
I woke up to coffee and sticky buns retrieved by the boys. Katie and I talked about our families, and how mine gets to be here for the wedding; we talked about our crazy kitty that belongs to Katie but I helped raise and is currently entertaining herself by flitting about the room manically; we've talked about poems and music and love and crying. We are still nursing our hangovers.

I couldn't be more happy right now. It is a beautiful wonderful day.

22 May 2010

Secret V

I wish your mysterious poetic Facebook status updates were written for me.

17 May 2010

The Things Left Unsaid

I miss you.  I miss your calming presence, I miss your quiet.  I miss your comfortable shape, I miss you holding my hand.  I miss your soft voice and the way you curve your r's.  I miss the way you kiss me.  I miss your hands.  I miss your beard and I miss your clean-shaven.  I miss loving each other but not daring to say it.

How About Not.

I probably don't owe you.  If I tolerate you putting your emotions on me, it's because I am a kind and generous person.  And, you probably just created an awkward situation that I would rather walk away from than make you feel bad about, because I generally don't like to be the cause of other people feeling bad.
Please don't confuse you saying something to make yourself feel better with saying something just to to put it out in the open.  Because most times, if you're not sure how I was "going to take it", it's probably something I didn't really need to hear.  Especially if we have for the most part a casual relationship.  Just because I'm nice and you've imagined there may be more happening doesn't mean I want to know any more about you than I already know.  You may have thought you needed to tell me, but really, and let's be honest with ourselves here, you really just wanted me to know.  Please don't act like you're acting from a selfless place. 

I know that I don't need to respond any which way, and actually I don't need to respond at all.  I know that.  I may or may not when I get my head sorted out, but you may not want to hear what I have to say to you.  If your therapist, or friend, or inner voice, or whatever, told you that maybe you should just be open with me, maybe think twice about whether or not I'm really going to want to hear what you have to say.  Maybe, just maybe, you may be turning an otherwise nice day in the opposite direction for me.  So maybe keep your mouth shut.

12 May 2010


Do not tell me "I can't get you out of my head" if you want to be out of mine.
Especially when it's based on little more than a few hours and a healthy dose of chemistry.  Especially when preceded with the words "I don't know what you did to me but..."  Especially when certain specifics seem to align themselves just right, yet others seem so impossible.  Especially when I believe you actually have the will and the way to make it more than just potential, more then a far-off fantasy of maybe-one-more-night-together.

11 May 2010

What It Is

Just so you know, it's not the thing that you always talk about, or that's become a little bit of a joke, the number one thing on our list.  Nor is it the number two thing on the list.
It's the way you talk to me about things I know nothing about and not once have you ever made me feel even a little bit less than smart and worthy of the explanation.  And you explain things over and over and over and I really like that.  It's the way you are genuinely interested in what I have to say about everything from food and farming to puppies and hyperlinks.
It's the way you've changed your body a good amount over the years but you are still so powerfully familiar to me.  The way all of you feels really soft all the time.  It's the way you show me that you think I am beautiful and sexy in a way that would be ridiculous to doubt.  The way you can move me where you want me but are perfectly ok with me moving exactly where I want to be.  It's also the way you are really confused and funny and annoying yet endearing in the early morning when neither of us want to be awake.
It's the way your face changes when you talk about someone you love, or when you talk about something that might make me cry, or when you talk about something that you're just figuring out is happening inside of you.  It's seeing how much it matters to you that you don't do anything with us that will make me not want to be friends with you anymore.

08 May 2010

C&R left early this morning for Mexico...

In the car on the way to the airport I told them about something that happened last night that was horrible and terrifying.  It was resolved, but such a scare left me in a bit of a haze. 
A few hours later I wrote them this email:


I have the most anxious dreams last night that consist of being late to a choir concert, to my best friends wedding, not having the dress altered, not having make up on, being locked out of the hotel room and when I finally get in finding they have taped over everything in the shower to fix something.
As I'm standing in the kitchen this morning looking at the oil and vinegar next to the stove (irl) I remember that part of the dream was also that you had turned around and come home from the airport because they wouldn't let you check everything that you wanted to.  (In the dream Colleen you were defiantly telling Ridge I'll make that same stuff without all this, you won't even know the difference.)
I'm so glad you weren't actually back home.  Not because I (and the pups of course) don't want you here but because you two of all the folks in the world deserve some sun on your bods and smiles on your faces - 2 things I think you'll be able to find on that Mexican beach.

So.  After one of the weirdest (horrible) nights, feeling such darkness and desperation, albeit briefly, last night, then with those dreams, then when I finally decide to pay attention to things around me and can handle whatever might be in the roll on the coffee table, then I read your note on it Colleen, and then I cry because I don't know what else to do.  Then I unroll Brendan's painting, and it is, and it's different then I remember, but more beautiful then I could ever imagine.

I don't know what planets are shifting or passing or setting, but in a completely weird moment I am so grateful for these dogs, so grateful to be here at this place, and so grateful for you.  (In no particular order.)

I love you,

04 May 2010

Bad Boys, Bartenders, Boozers, Bruisers, and Bad Decisions

With those simple words my friends I basically summed up my love life over the last three years.  
Actually, more like five or six.

Those labels are by no means mutually exclusive.  And bruisers doesn't mean they beat me.  Just to be clear.

25 April 2010



Hi EndOfApril!  I so did not expect to see you here so soon!

If I would have known you were coming, I would have finished so much more shit on my to-do list/cleaned my winter weary cobweb riddled windows/shaved my legs.  (That last one's a stretch but I try to go all out for guests, even if they're unexpected and temporary.)

Since you really surprised me this time (no, really, it is ok, really, seriously... seriously it's fine...  It will be fine...) I didn't get groceries/meet deadlines/practice choir/call anyone back that I was supposed to.  But you know I can pull a party out of nowhere so let's get shakin'.  Would saltines and cheap vodka and ginger ale be ok?  What's that?  You're on a no-carb diet?  Is that a crack on my gaining weight instead of losing it before my best friends' wedding in a month and a half that I haven't finished planning the bachelorette party for yet?  (Ok.  You're going to have to lay off, I told you this is a surprise visit.)  No?  Well my apologies, it's just that's what I have leftover from my little nausea episode last week.

No, no, no chance it was morning sickness.  Thanks for asking I guess, you're the 3rd person so I guess I still seem like I might be having fun/getting some action/being irresponsible.

Seriously, you don't have to go.  What's that?  May is on his way?!?!?!?  Well f#*@.  You can't just stay a little longer instead, make him wait a little?  Fine.  No, it's fine.  Have a nice year I guess.  I'll see you again in threehundredwhatever days.  (What now?  If I knew the exact amount of days maybe you wouldn't be a surprise?  You know what, no need to get snarky.  Here, have a saltine for the road.)

20 April 2010


Take a walk with me...

I go to clean out my inbox every once in a while but there are emails that I cannot archive much less delete - emails from my brother Brendan.  They remain in my inbox, the most recent one almost two years old.

I notice tags and stickers, graffiti, street art, on public property everywhere now, some ugly and poorly thought out, others well planned and well executed, real works of art.  I know that the former are probably gang tags, and the latter most likely have nothing to do with turf.  I know this because since Brendan died his friends, many of whom put art on the streets, have done what they can to educate me about the difference.

Sometimes in the morning I eat oatmeal.  Brendan went through a phase when he was small where he would eat instant oatmeal for breakfast everyday, and after one St. Patrick's Day when Dad added green food dye to his bowl, I don't think he ever ate an oatmeal colored bowl again.

Brendan was born on the 20th day of a month.  He died on the 14th day of a different month.  Every month has a 20th and a 14th.  Every so often, a Friday falls on the 13th day of a month.  The last full day Brendan was alive was a Friday the 13th.

I spend a couple days a week standing behind a table at a farmers market and I get to see lots of people, lots of families walk by.  There are some boys that have very blonde curly hair.  That's what Brendan looked like when he was a child.

Sometimes in a conversation it is relevant for someone to bring up their siblings.  Many other women have younger brothers.  Brendan was my younger brother. 

Most of us every day will deal with font and typeface.  Most of us don't know the difference.  I found out from his graphic design colleagues that people using those terms interchangeably was a huge pet peeve for Brendan.  I also found out that he "didn't do bullet points" in presentations.  I use bullet points.  Since he died, I question whether I really need to.

Do not hesitate in conversation with me out of fear of reminding me of Brendan or that he died - I would rather you say something that could sound insensitive and have it in front of us than see your pause and the flicker of worry behind your eyes. I need no reminder; my brother, and his absence, are always present.  Better you share in it with me than keep yourself at arms length from my honesty - it is much warmer here walking closer to me.

15 April 2010

Great Advice

"No ONE, I repeat, No ONE ever gives you the message that your 20s are going to be hard, do they? It's a vital message that I missed or was too cheeky to hear until suddenly I found myself in the throes of it and was, like, "shit this is really hard." 20s = tough times. Just climb your way, tool and nail, up to 30 and then have a drink."

I really hope she doesn't mind me quoting her again.  After a rough patch and a brief exchange of messages, I found this in my inbox, and it was like a warm blanket on a cold day.

12 April 2010

Tired Heart

We say goodnight and he catches me off guard when he says, "Think about what you said about your heart...  That doesn't sound like you."
I was so tired but thought I had enough bravado in me when I slipped earlier in the conversation and said something about the state of my heart.  "I've given too much of my heart.  Now my heart's tired."  I said thinking we could casually move past that as it wasn't something I considered much before I said it out loud and now that it was out loud I realized I didn't want to dwell.
It doesn't sound like me, he's right.  But I am tired.  My heart is tired, a little hopeful, a little sad, confused, and pulled in many a direction.
Spring is here.  Change, and new hope, will be her gifts. 

09 April 2010


I have got such a girl crush...

"Of all your work, you are the most beautiful.  The most beautiful work of all."

-Patti Smith in her last letter to Robert Mapplethorpe.

06 April 2010


Some thoughts on Neruda.

This should be a verb.  To Neruda is to be swept away in moment of blissful beauty, of romance, of love and warmth.

I cannot say whether I'd feel this way if he wrote his poems first in English but if for him along I am so fortunate to know Spanish.

I know little of his work, mostly I've read the Veinte poemas de amor (20 Love Poems) and the Cancion desesperada (Desperate Song, but usually with very little focus, always wanting to return to the 20 poems), and the Cien sonetos de amor (100 Love Sonnets). 

While some lines, so lyrical and seducing in spanish, seem almost spooky in english (I like when you are silent because it's like you're absent sounds so tender when it's Me gustas cuando callas porque estas como ausente...)* some seem to have a love in them that transcends literal reading in any language.  Se que existes no solo porque tus ojos vuelan / y dan luz a las cosas como ventana abierta  he writes - I know that you exist not only because your eyes fly / and give light to things like an open window.** 

Read more poetry.  Learn another language.  Love bigger, love more, and love with beauty. 

Please excuse the lack of spanish punctiation as I can't figure out how to do that on here.
*Poema 15 de Veinte poemas de amor
**Soneto XV de Cien sonetos de amor
Poems by Pablo Neruda, with [loose and probably mistaken, but who cares it's poetry] translations by me.

01 April 2010

Country Song

We did burn brightly didn't we?

We were a beautiful story, a true romance you only read about. 
I changed my curvy wandering path to nest where you had to be.  I played a roll because I wanted to be the most you could love.  You wrote me love songs because you wanted me to be enough, but really you hadn't yet found the bottom of the hole that you needed to fix before somebody else could fill it.

We knew we were going to love each other the second time we ever met.  I knew my children would have your humor, your eyes, your fingers.  I hoped they would have my humor, my honesty, my politics. 
I felt what I never knew I could feel, a faith in the unknown, an exhilarating fear; awash in my new-found adulthood I said I would follow wherever you needed to be - I was willing to make my life fit the shape of yours, and I almost completely convinced myself I wouldn't be giving up too much.

I heard the rose song tonight and I feel a heaviness in my chest.  When it was good, it was so good, wasn't it?

Even at the end there were moments when delusion outweighed sadness, and I could envision us making music and love and babies, and living the fantasy that had shined so brightly not but 18 months earlier.  You would sing a song you had written for me, or the everything song, or the rose song, and for that moment love softened misery and I didn't want to run away.

I learned to take care of the rose bushes at our house together.  When we moved in they were neglected and ugly.  When we moved out, at different times and each with our own scars, they were gorgeous.  That's another country song right there, isn't it?