Monday, September 7, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pulled down by the undertoe

Engaged. He's Engaged.

At first, I wasn't sure what my response was... I felt immediately split in two, as if one half of me was on the other end of a phone line unable to speak, jaw dropped, and the other half of me was calling into the phone "hello? hello? are you there? what's happening?" Now, on day two, it is devistation coming through. Devistation, though? Shouldn't I just not care? Why does it hurt? I don't understand why it hurts. Not even a passionate hurt, either. It's just a 'stopped dead in your tracks' kind of hurt. Nothing is moving.

The funny thing is, I knew it would happen. I knew it would happen with her and in this exact way. I knew that after me, it would happen fast. When I first heard her name, I knew it would be her. And not more than a month ago we met at a cafe for lunch for a kind hello, my brother was there, and I could see the love still there in his eyes, and I could see the way he bitterly fought it and chose to hate me instead, because it made his love easier to despise me. I remember seeing that twisted look in his face, I remember taking it all in, and responding in my heart that 'yes, I have seen you for all that you are, and my love requires more.'

I remember him telling me he didn't, couldn't, love her the way he knows he is capable of loving, but that he liked the relationship because it was easy. I told him there was something to that ease, and that if he looked more closely, he'd see that love has the capacity for growth much more in the ease than in the tension, which is where our love existed. Love gets stuck in tension. Love grows slow and gentle with ease, but never ceases. It is a constant unwrapping. Perhaps he found that. I hope he found that.

So many thoughts went through my head yesterday. I want to write him to congratulate him. I want to say only good things. When I peer beyond the sea of my own emotions, there is happiness for him, and compassionate joy. I want to express these things. At the same time, I want to express my own terrible emotions... the more self-centered ones. And I don't even want to express them for the purposes of recognition, or spite -- nothing along those lines at all. I'd simply want to know how, how to understand the pain I feel, and what to do with it. An instantaneous death and birth. How can one feel such incredibly mixed feelings?

Anyway, wouldn't it ultimately just be selfish of me to write him any kind of letter right now? This is his time, this is his happiness. But wasn't he my best friend? Yes. Yes he was. But if I were to write him now, even if it were genuinely from the heart, congratulatory, and embracing, it would bring up the past for him and take away from this precious moment for them. I can't do it.

So I must leap out of my skin? I want to run, run so badly... for miles and miles. But I am sick. I've got to work this out of me. Before it begins to show. How can I get it up to the surface and out, without it showing? There is no where for me to go, no way for me to work it out. Cleaning projects, I suppose. Or painting. Meditation. I certainly can't mope about listening to depressive music, as I have been doing. And what about love-making with my lover? My heart is on the floor right now. God, and even that doesn't make any sense. I have the most amazing, incredible man. I love him so very, very much. He's beautiful. And this ache is every bit natural, I know. But I don't want it here. I don't want this interference.

Let go, let go, let go.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When I fall into a hole

The bedroom window, I am convinced, is a small slice of morning heaven. The windows open out, do not bear screens, and always carry a gentle breeze through the mesh curtains. When I wake, the very first thing I do (before coffee, even) is to push these windows open. Hours later, when I'm lying down for a nice afternoon nap, the easy breeze rocks me right to sleep.
Heaven isn't with me all the time, though. Beneath the shades of happiness that color my life, there are still inner struggles to be dealt with. For instance, the battle over lethargy continues. This lethargy stems from some sort of reversed inertia, a vacuum if you will, that was turned on when school ended. It has continued to pull my motivation away, until I feel somewhat stuck, empty, tired. I say each day that I will begin a new project. Today, I will begin writing a story! Today, I will write a poem! Today, I will.... and then I end up lying in bed, reading a book. Or sitting on the porch, reading a book. Of course, this is obviously reconcilable. I mean, reading a book is terrific, and progressive in its own right. But is it an escape? Perhaps. Perhaps not. What I'm really pointing at I guess is this unwanted guest in the corner, that part of me that feels she isn't fully living. What does fully living mean, though? Are there distorted expectations of myself here?
There isn't much I can do for the next two years but wait. Naturally, there is a sense of drifting that makes me nervous and uncomfortable. For a capricorn woman, there must always be a mountain to climb, a new goal to achieve, some sort of upward and onward movement. I know that right now, this mountain and those goals don't exist. Logically, I know there isn't anything wrong with that, and that most likely, I've been filling my time beautifully. Baking bread. Painting pottery for friends. Reading Russian novels.
I have a hunch that my spirit's been needing the attention lately. The thought popped up on my radar this morning in the form of a question: where is the energy of spirit? I've built my new nest, put all things in their right places, but I didn't make a new nest for the Spirit. I have a funny little relationship with that "God" thing. It's like an imaginary friend that I use to keep around me all the time. I'd invite it over to play when I did tarot readings, when I painted or did anything creative, even when I bathed. I haven't looked about for it in a long time, since moving; I haven't invited it to visit with me. I think I've found the thirst.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I saw sparks

The dramatic details of Vronsky and Anna, of Levin and Kitty, and all the others, continue. I am somewhere around the 600th page by now, praying for the safe delivery of Levin and Kitty's first child, full of anxiety over the precarious nature of Vronsky and Anna's relationship, and appreciating/respecting the character of Mr.Karenin more and more. How does Tolstoy write so well? Each character's predicament is so vividly clear to me, it's as if I were inside of them all, as if I were them all. I want to begin from page one again as soon as I complete this book. Does that sound absurd?? It probably is, but I have to study this man's craft. I need to find out what makes it work, and work so well. I know already that there is no way, simply no way at all, that I'll ever be within spitting distance of his calibre of talent, but that wont keep me from learning as much as I can from his writing. I envy writers like these, because I can sense in them the ability of letting go that I have only my achieved in my poetry, but cannot jump the hurdle of the mind in my story writing. They call this force flow.

Laughable moment of the day: moonpie attempting to squeeze her fat ass into a tiny box.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Passing Afternoon

It's been a while since I updated. Where has the summer gone? Smells of autumn are already subtly sifting through the air... my favorite time of the year.

Visiting friends. Spontaneous trips. Russian novels. Bread Baking. Moving house. Cats! Plants. New friendships. Breaking one's own records. Researching graduate schools. "These are just a few of my favorite things..."

It has been a busy summer thusfar. School began today and I find myself nostalgic, restless even. I so deeply miss the excitement of new classes, buying notebooks and pens, flipping through syllabi and "new" used textbooks. Not being in school anymore has that feeling of being in one place when you know you're missing out on another... some party somewhere, something exciting going on that you aren't a part of, but could be, or should be attending. Oh graduate school! Where art thou?!

If only the decision could come to me, but it hasn't yet. Where, or what, to study next... In the meantime, I've already begun cracking the books on GRE preparation. This, coupled with some unfounded feeling of doom and insecurity over actually getting into a graduate program (with cum laude and research honors, one would hope I shouldn't have a problem getting in). Nonetheless, the fear inherent in the possibility of not getting accepted into a program of choice sets in an inordinate amount of anxiety.

Here are a few of the highlights I mentioned above: Currently reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. This author's depth and breadth of human understanding and piercingly precise depiction of the human heart and human mind is astounding. I began the novel identifying the most with the character of Constantine Levin, and immidiately picked-up on the notion that this character's moralistic viewpoints and subtlties of personality might actually reflect those of the author himself. (Jessica later verified this to be true). Now, at nearly half-way through, I find myself actually identifying the most with Anna. Caught between a man she doesn't love but is in a relationship with, and in-love with a man she can't be with, is an all too familiar situation. The expression of her inner struggles with the helplessness of her predicament, the inevitability and uncontrollable needs of the heart, are spoken of here by Tolstoy with such clarity that he has enlightened moments of my own past for me... shown me exactly what I felt but was so painfully unable to articulate. Can you tell I am in-love with this writer?? And there is so much, so much, poured into these pages (all 800 of them)! I am enjoying the time it is taking me to finish this novel. I am grateful that it's so goddamn long... so many books I enjoy end too quickly, and I miss them sorely when they're over. This one is like three books in one. I get to enjoy it, and enjoy it, and enjoy it some more.

And what better way to enjoy Anna Karenina then on the front porch of my new apartment? It's spectacular! All four of the cats... yes, four.... love it here. With plenty of porch and plenty of yard to play in, it's like they've discovered one giant litter box outside, which makes mama (me) very happy. The new place is positioned right between Little Five and Candler Park, so that the running path I so often enjoy is just a block away, work is less than a mile down the street (biking to and from is pure bliss), the coffee shops, the clothing stores, the healthfood grocery is all within walking distance. The apartment itself has 12ft ceilings, hardwood floors, built-in bookshelves.... it's like a fairytale. I wake in the morning, have coffee at the table on the porch, and do morning yoga there on the wrap-around.

I've also been working at the art of baking bread. After a few early mishaps (not kneeding correctly, forgetting to add salt), I've finally reached a place where I can now play around with my recipes. Last week I added roasted garlic, thyme and basil oil to the mix for a delicious loaf that was eaten in three days flat!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Multiply life by the power of two

Sitting in an airport for six hours on standby gives a woman plenty of time to indulge the wandering and thoughtful mind. Literally, thoughtfull.

How about the incredible success of technology? Without a computer or lap-top, still I have the world wide web at my fingertips. The Blackberry was perhaps a dangerously efficient invention. It allows me to be "plugged-in" and "connected" at all times. What happens to one's love of books when the newer more interactive FACEbook is around? I look around me and see phones even greater than mine... A seven year old child across from me is watching the movie "Up" on her mother's remarkable iPhone.

I find myself straying from topic...

I wanted really to talk about growth, and the creation of families. I had the wonderful blessing of spending the last few days in the lovely Columbia Missouri visiting my childhood friend. Married three years ago a month from today, she and her husband have a new 9 month old baby. Having known Jessica for 10 years, half of which were explosive adolescent years, much history has been logged in and between us. At 25 going on 26 now, the changes do not seem to have slowed. If anything, they've excellerated, but with much greater meaning and more expensive implications.

Children, for one, are at the forefront of such changes. I long for a child myself, but having not yet gone through this particular change do not often grasp the magnitude of the change behind my procreative desires.

What has made my relationship with Jessica such a deep and profound one is the propensity for empathy with one another that allows us to understand eachother - usually without words - to such a degree that my own feelings can sometimes be indistinguishable from hers. This remarkable gift allows me to feel, or empathically grasp, an experience she is having that I have not yet had; in this case, a child.

Of course, there remains some basic level of separation in that I cannot fully and completely know her situation. However, there are definitely moments of enlightenment, moments when the separateness of my experience from hers fades enough for me to become aware of the experience as she is encountering it. The result is such that, in short, I've been blown away.

What does it mean to have a child? Starting your day at 6am, regardless of your own needs. Strict routines, constant watching-out, and countless personal sacrifices. Among these challenges though, there is a joy I've never seen before, except perhaps for rare moments with my own mother. The joy is untouchable, and for the most part unexplainable as well.

The first night there Jess's husband was finishing his nursing precept, which meant he wouldn't be home until early the next morning. To keep one another company, Jess and I slept in the bed together. Like children again, we stayed up long after the lights had been put out, tucked in the covers chatting about boys - old loves, new loves, our mothers, thoughts, lessons. In the morning, like an alarm clock, the baby woke right on queue at 6am. Obediently, Jess went to the baby's crib and brought him into the bed with us. This was the rare moment for me that I wouldn't have ordinarily been able to have... Experiencing what her life is like as a young mother, - the more intimate hours of dawn when her and her husband would be the two lying with the baby. Like a true 9-month old who has first learned to use his arms and legs, Finn climbed on our bodies like they were new mountains to uncover. Baby hands grabbed at my nose, pressed into my stomach and chest. The sounds of his cooing, not unlike a bird's, were the fresh morning sounds I had the pleasure of waking to.

I don't think these experiences have pushed me in one direction or another as far as my desires for motherhood are concerned. I've been more moved by the transformations I see in my best friend and the love that exists between her and her young family - husband, wife, and baby. On a more personal note, I've turned inward and given more acceptance to where I am now in my own life. A single woman in a new relationship. Unmarried. No children. Fresh out of college. I'm still figuring a lot of things out. Simple things, even, like what I prefer to wear to the grocery store: jeans or a skirt? Am I more casual or concerned? How can I meditate more? These kinds of questions are happily at the forefront of my mind.

I always thought the saying "be where you are" was somewhat cliche. But I think I've actually begun to really understand the importance and the gift behind that neo-phrase. Whether I am me or her, embracing where we are right now means opening ourselves to the gifts life has for us each as individuals. I enjoyed this trip immensley, and I am looking so forward to being home with the many awaiting projects. Even sitting in this airport, now in the fifth hour of what will prove to be an eight hour delay, I'm embracing the gift of time - the gift of the present.
(Me and Finn with Mr. Blue Elephant)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Head Over Feet

I found a place! It's beautiful. Well... it will be beautiful after a little TLC. One block from Little Five Points proper. The location just can't get any better than that! The running path is down the street. Not to mention the great shopping... my wardrobe is going to see an improvement for sure. The photograph above is of the bedroom. It is probably 15ft x 15ft. It is enormous. And yellow. Very yellow. (the color of creativity and imagination).

These two photographs are of the amazing kitchen and dining room/office. The kitchen is honestly what sold me on the place. Just look at all those shelves (doubled on each side). mmmm

Interestingly, this is the oldest inhabited house in Atlanta. It served as a hospital during the Civil War, and was burned to the ground by Sherman's troops. A few years after the war ended they rebuilt the house on the same old brick foundation. This place has more than a few stories! And hopefully whatever ghosts are hanging around are kind ones. I'm praying for no "Beloved" type ghosts.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Remember when you were only a child

Dreams. Last night was jam-packed with dreams. I kept waking, slightly annoyed, thinking all my dreams were a little ridiculous. After pondering them this morning however, they're actually pretty telling. In the first series of dreaming I was in a prison with a lot of other inmates. One of the prison walls in my cell had a large opening in it, where we could climb out onto tree limbs that were high above a body of water. This small space of freedom from the prison was all I had. Surprisingly, I did not necessarily feel inhibited, though technically I was. This dream I believe symbolizes the way I feel right now about my brother living at my apartment in Decatur and being confined to Jay's house for this next month, without most of my things. It is a physical limitation of sorts, though I have a small slice of freedom to move about (I can go home if I need to, it's just far less excessible to me).

The second series was more disturbing. I was wandering around an ancient European city where I had just found a beautiful apartment. I was on my way through the streets to go move a friend out of their apartment. To get to this friend's place I had to walk through a dilapidated part of town, where there were many large, very old building but in severe decay. It almost looked war-torn. When I arrived at the friend's apartment I climbed to the top floor and became fearful. I moved my weight from side-to-side to show her that the building could collapse at any moment, for the entire building moved with my shifting weight. I had an image in my mind that the place was made out of plyboards, like a house of cards, and could truly fall at any second. This dream symbolizes the Self, as most buildings or homes do, and because the thing was about to fall means, perhaps, my old Self is in utter disrepair or is near to collapse.

Finally, the third series was like a completion of sorts for the previous two dreams. I was in a car with my entire family, and Josh was in the car with us at first. We were traveling to the "other" side of Georgia, a place we'd never been before. Driving out on a high cliff I could see beautiful mountains, with the most incredible cascading waterfalls that went all the way down the mountains, as far as the eye could see. Everything was lush and green. My heart was exhuberant! When I began to realize the sadness that, although Josh was there, he would not enjoy it with me in the way we would have if we were still together, I grew very depressed. I wanted to move there with him, I wanted to begin dreaming out loud together about ways we could spend more time there. When I turned to speak to him about this sadness, he was no longer there... instead, Jay was at my side, smiling. A feeling of calmness swept over me. I felt both protected and sedated -- warm in my heart. I understood that things had changed, I acknowledged the sadness over the situation, but I also felt at peace with who I had at my side now. Waterfalls in dreams symbolize letting go. How appropriate.

This is the first morning I've awoken with a feeling of renewal, and good/healthy energy to get out and begin the day. For months I've been waking up with a feeling of lethargy, bordering on depression, that didn't offer me any sort of refreshing feelings or even motivation. Today, I feel good. I feel a little closer to healed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Darling, do not fear what you don't really know

Well, I itched the scratch afterall. He's beautiful.... or, as Jason said, "breath-taking!" It took around 2.5 hours, and didn't hurt too terribly bad. Where the tail crosses over the inside of my elbow is the place that proved most sensitive. Still, it was a bearable pain, and short-lived.

Background on the quetzal: The quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala. Originally thought to possess divine powers, the Mayans sacrificed offerings to Quetzacoatl, a feathered serpent God. The first records of Quetzacoatl's worship appear in writings from Teotihuacan, an ancient Mayan city (circa 500 BCE). Quetzacoatl's archetypal image stood for many things, but was specifically associated with the wind Gods, holding a connection with Venus, known as the "star of the dawn," lording over the arts, crafts, knowledge and wisdom.
When I was traveling through Guatemala I had the great fortune of seeing a Quetzal in real-life. They really are breath-taking, especially the male birds... with their showy display of tail feathers. The lady birds are somewhat less dramatic in their appearance, with a lot more blue in their coloring. Male Quetzals have a vibrant red chest and longer tails.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Tulips by A.E. Stallings

The Tulips make me want to paint,
Something about the way they drop
Their petals on the tabletop
And do not wilt so much as faint,

Something about their burnt-out hearts,
Something about their pallid stems
Wearing decay like diadems,
Parading finishes like starts,

Something about they way they twist
As if to catch the last applause,
And drink the moment through long straws,
And how, tomorrow, they'll be missed.

The way they're somehow getting clearer,
The tulips make me want to see --
The tulips make the other me
(The backwards one who's in the mirror,

The one who can't tell left from right),
Glance now over the wrong shoulder
To watch them get a little older
And give themselves up to the light.

.... Oh, what a delicious poem!!! A.E. Stallings, you have my heart. (("Wearing decay like diadems"... how perfect is that line!))

The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs

First thing's first: the tattoo itch. I'm not so sure I'll scratch it, but, if I do, I'd like a Quetzal on my other arm. The Quetzal is the official bird of Guatemala. Here is an image I pulled up from the internet, tell me what you think:

Pardon the poor resolution... this was a camera phone upload. Chicken bruscetta -- a fantastic summer substitution for the classic Chicken Parmesan dish.

Christopher and Laura came over for dinner last night. She is a doll! Sweet and down-to-earth, she's a third-year med student at Emory. She has a very warm and inviting presence. Naturally, I'm thrilled that she's dating my brother. He really needs someone to love, as he himself is a very loving and kind spirit.

The personal research has begun: I bought Border's out on their poetry and writer's magazines yesterday. I've already found one new poet to fall in-love with -- Ange Mlinko. There's a clarity that just reaches out through the pages towards you, a certain vividness, palpableness... its texture is so very alive. These qualities make her poetry stand out among all the others. Also, since I feel particularly inarticulate today, I decided to share a poem by Mlinko that I enjoy:

Win-Win by Ange Mlinko

If an orchidophage's tastebud magnified
resembles an orchid
so my buds indubitably mimic pricking ice cream cones.
Love, little by little it dawned on us the artisanal
ice cream, especially the prizewinning caramel,
would be out of our reach,
like the previous Friday of a Sunday leaving the beach,
in the meltdown.
When you grasp at the soundfile of cymbals
-- "that knitting needle sound" -- through your headphones it kindles
an inkling that in the bongo-playing
you can hear the wedding ring,
ting ting in the liquescence.
When you hear the sound you may smile
to think of the ones and zeros that soundfile
resembling sticks and drumheads,
or knitting needles and drumheads
as the beat gets molten.
When things get molten you may think of fire
made up of a million little matchfires
rendering a house on the Sound
-- belonging to ex-employers -- a bit of char on the ground
as the regrettable outcome of a meltdown.
A thousand hotheads make a Sarkozy:
at the sight of their BMW in a car cozy
a thousand swans make a Sigolene
purring win-win.
The sound is statistical, like the meltdown.
The holes in your socks and the follicles in your leg
are pixelated as a JPEG.
My tastebuds resemble microscopic glasses of gin now, now's
the time to shake and shiver like a maraca in this house.
The many kinds of dissolution.
Well, birds happen forth from feeders like swinging pagodas
against snow, as
the meltdown goes on, a dump of rock salt.
We'll soon be signatories by default.
Crystals of sodium chloride
are made of smaller crystals of sodium chloride.
Let me know their House
is made up of many other people's houses, magnified.

I enjoy the continual reference to the interconnectedness of things, the way life can be broken down and broken down into smaller particles, all resembling one another... like a rock of salt, like a prism, like a hall of mirrors. Then, there is this sort of resolution within the poet/narrator herself, that seems to suggest she has given up some sense of ego, knowing that her life is nothing more than the mirrored crystals of sodium chloride. Anyway, these are the things I've taken away from the first few readings of this poem. I'm sure the more I read it, the more I will uncover... that's the gift of good poetry.

In other updates: I did some remodeling to the blog... obviously. What do you think? It seems unfinished to me... I'm not quite sold on it...

Also! The diploma finally arrived in the mail today!! It's magnificent.

Monday, June 15, 2009

You belong to no one

Current summer reading list: "Write Away" by Elizabeth George; "Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami; "The Myth of Freedom" by Trungpa Rinpoche.

It's hot again, and I reminisce through old writings... most of them half finished. "Dirty Seashells," a short story of love gone wrong. "Fruit and All Things Nice," a short story about breaking free, and the naive female. Poems. Scribbled notes of other story ideas. Where to begin? All of this sifting and sifting, snatching up little nuggets of gold here and there... but a part of me knows I will stop half way through, when the going gets good -- paralyzed by self-doubts. Every story I write picks up pace, becomes better and better, and as soon as I catch a glimps of its shine I become terrified that I will fuck it all up. The anxiety is great enough to stop the flow of words, every single time. Somehow, I need to overcome this. I need to get out of my own way.

Elizabeth George is encouraging in her book on writing. Each chapter she begins with a quote from her personal diary. These quotes reflect her own struggle with self-doubts in the writing process. Yet she pushes forward, every time. She keeps going.

Florida Atlantic University... this is where I'm setting my sights for graduate school. I want to study poetry with Susan Mitchell. Every time I visit the MFA website for FAU, a wave of intense longing flushes through me. I'm not ready yet, though. Almost, but not quite. I'm not ready to leave this town. I need to stay just a little longer.

The process of looking for a new home has begun. I found one in Cabbabe Town that was adorable, but slightly too small. One closet?? I'm a woman, come on. There were a few places in Grant Park I went to look at yesterday. To put it bluntly, they were all shit-holes. Dark and damp inside. Ratty carpet. Peeling paint. Holes in the screens. The kind of places you can imagine will never really feel clean, no matter how hard you might scrub. And then there are a few places in Little Five... what catches my breath on that one? Oh, that. That's what catches my breath on that one. Cabbage Town might be my best bet.

(The moon in Jamaica)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You are the stars that I follow endlessly

What a beautiful morning! Though summer is slowly making its way in, there is still the fresh floral scent of springtime in the early hours. Every morning I wake with the window open, cherishing this brief and passing time.

There is a genuine sense of pleasure in being true to one's self, in following through with what the heart truly desires. Yesterday I had an invitation to attend the Virginia Highland's Summerfest with friends, but my heart resisted the idea. I knew it would be a day-long drink-fest, hanging out by the poolside, watching the crowds of drunken thirty year olds stumble around the Highlands without any real purpose other than to find another drink. What I really wanted was time to myself around the house, a gentle, domestic evening. I chose to honor these feelings, and instead kindly declined the invitation.

I had a wonderful afternoon nap. I spent the evening working on our mosaic benches with neighbor Jenn and friend Helen. We talked about God and the universe. Jenn has had a fascinating childhood. When she tells me stories about how her parents raised her and her sister, I often think to myself that this is how I'd like to raise my children. Jenn is an atheist and was raised this way. I really enjoy listening to her talk about what it means for her. It's something that one really has to open themselves up to hear, otherwise, our preconcieved notions about what "atheism" is will inevitably get in the way of understanding. It is a tricky thing, she explains, to show others how she derives an incredible depth of meaning from her religious position because such terms like "atheism" and even "spirituality" don't quite suffice. She does not believe in a "higher power," but this does not necessarily disclude the sense of awe and wonder that the concept of a higher power bestows upon believers in the big "God." She is aware of a pulse, a unique undercurrent in life that allows for the transparency of the physical world, of spirits and even premonitionary dreams. She wants to call the universe "magical," but at the same time she doesn't believe it requires any sort of magic. She believes in the beauty and majesty of physics, and this was how she was raised... to see the complexity in the physical world and to have a humbled, awed respect for the world.

If I were asked to articulate my own religious position it would be very much the same. I was not raised to be religious, yet as far back as I can remember, I've had a child-like thirst, an unquenchable desire to envelope myself in this spirit all around me... I have always and only ever found it it nature. I enjoy the concepts in Buddhism, but cannot really be Buddhist, because it will never fully encompass my view. It is inevitably a limitation of sorts for me, all religions are... this is why, I feel freest and most fulfilled in the home of my own religion. It's not New Age, it's not eclectic, because I don't really borrow from other religions. Yes, I meditate from time to time (and would like to meditate more), but other than that I don't have a set of practices. I strive for continual growth, to engage with others in the healthiest, kindest way possible. I hunger to be near beauty, to sit with it and appreciate it and feel the nearness of beauty. God is not really a concept to me, though I find myself speaking in my heart to some sort of unidentified source of spirits, for I do feel there is a consciousness or consciousnesses surrounding me that can respond energetically to my own energy, and interact. I don't think of salvation, I don't think much of those "spiritual leaders" that have come before me, I can really only understand the here and now, and when I look around, what I see is a fantastic universe, a complicated, mathematically intricate and wonderously balanced interaction of energy... this image, I fall in-love with on a daily basis.

A garden tool, well used:

The flowers are beginning to really spread out and go their own wild way!! Jenn and I have agreed that the white ones are really the prettiest.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Everlasting joy

Productivity is the name of the game. First, the closets were attacked. There were nine loads of laundry hiding in there!! Who knew I even had that much clothing? Wow.

While I was waiting to rotate loads I decided I'd bake a cake with the cherries I had left from yesterday. Pitting them wasn't that difficult, actually. It was fun! The red juice is so deep and vivid in color. I pulled up a basic cake recipe from the internet and just played around with it to suit my liking. I added vanilla, fresh ground cloves, and fresh ground anise seed. For the icing, I made a lemon yogurt sauce which I drizzled over the top when it was done cooling. Oh - my - goodness! I have never in my life made anything so delicious as this sucker.... I'm going to bring it into work this evening to share with everyone. It simply must be shared!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Saved by a woman

The carrots have come in!! They are beautiful and delicious, and suprisingly yellow. I wasn't aware that one could grow yellow carrots... apparently, it can be done!

I turned these yummy friends into a tomato salad with pine nuts, blue cheese and balsamic vinegar. It made a terrific summer snack, especially given the particular sweetness of the yellow carrots against the salty blue cheese. Yum!

For dessert... Wild cherries! I feel really good eating raw foods like these. It's as if they cool the body down like an air conditioner. My insides chill out. It's very soothing, not to mention refreshing.
So, here's a little project that Jenn and I have been working on lately. We discovered these large cement blocks amongst the back yard kudzo one day and decided they'd make great benches. Over the last year we've managed to collect broken dishes and tiles. Now we're turning these blocks into mosaic benches! They're turning out beautifully:

I'm also beginning to make prepartions to move, but to be perfectly honest, I'm feeling somewhat torn. I'm excited about finding a new place in Grant park; I think it'll be wonderful. And of course, it will be much more affordable as well. At the same time, I'm saddened to be leaving my neighbor whom I've grown to love spending time with in our little creative pursuits. I'm also nervous about the prospect of living with someone again... it's been so long. Will he clean to my standards? What unknown things am I going to get frustrated over? What if this doesn't work out?? I know these are all just natural anxieties, and I will work through them one by one over the next two months. Chris is going to sublet my place for the summer, which will help me out on bills since Dad got laid off this week. Incredible.... over twenty years and you're let go just like that; no pension, no retirement. Times are tough indeed.

Oh!! I almost forgot to mention the latest literary discovery! Anais Nin. How she has my heart! I picked up her collection of short stories "Little Birds," which is an exploration into desire and the erotic. She crafts thirteen different tales of men and women, vividly capturing the idiosyncrasies of each character's emotions, longings, fetishes and desires. It's riveting and poetically tasteful. At times it was even hot... I found myself having to put the book down and take a walk to cool myself down! I'm really interested in checking out her others works as well, particularly her diaries. I want to know this woman. I want to study her skill.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sunlight Multiplying

The garden is now in phase two. I purchased more plants this morning, selecting more or less at random those that appealed to me. I came upon a beautiful vine of Jasmine, which, after much deliberation, I decided to pot instead of plant. This way, I can take it with me when I move. The smell is delicious. It reminds me of a cross between Lilac (which I miss terribly -- they grew all over upstate New York) and Wisteria, yet Jasmine is much easier to contain than Wisteria.

There's still a significant bald spot, as you can see in the photograph below, that needs to be filled. I am thinking of getting two more plants like the one I have in the smaller plot that attracts the butterflies. It makes a terrific sprawling ground cover, with vivid orange and red blossoms. I also bought Creeping Jenny, which remind me of a girl's thin curly locks for some reason. These I planted in the lower portion of the flower bed, and added a tier-like boarder out of rocks to help with irrigation.

I've also got a healthy list of books waiting to be read. There are three books of poetry that Jenn gave me as a graduation gift: Hopkins, Auden, and Hardy. These are her favorite, and they are all important authors I haven't read yet, so I'm really looking forward to exploring their work. I also bought a new Alice Munro collection of short stories yesterday while I was waiting for Jay to get out of his massage. "Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You."

I also have to admit -- I'm rather tempted to just buy the entire collection of Alice Munro's work... it would be a very good investment!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The waiting is the hardest part

It's officially over. I graduated yesterday -- cum laude, research honors. The day was overwhelming, really. I hadn't had more than three hours of sleep the two nights before graduation. The ceremony itself was surprisingly short -- an hour and a half at most. The set-up was elegant and very well put together. Already I've been finding myself wandering around my house anxious and restless. It's like I don't know what to do with myself now that I don't have the stress and pressure of school, or the ongoing projects... or even the direction it gave me.

The morning began with a small ceremony for the honors department graduates, where I recieved a framed award for having completed research honors. Dad, Linda, and Grandma attended with me, and refreshments were served. We had coffee and lunch at the Landmark diner afterwards, just to kill time before the actual graduation. I told Grandma she was my guest of honor. She flew in from Long Island just to see me graduate. She is the most adorable little woman... so tiny! Maybe 90 pounds at 5'6. And just as sweet as pie.

My friend Ashley graduated with me, and we were so glad to be able to sit together and go through this experience with one another. It has brought us very close, which is a blessing to me. After the ceremony we had a house party with family and friends that lasted well into the morning hours! Champagne, wine, bbq, laughter, amazing people, guitars and singing... I couldn't have asked for a better day. It truly was one of the very best days of my life, and I write this with tears in my eyes.

My father also wrote me a card. In it, were the things a daughter always hopes and strives for her father to see in her, and in rare moments like these, she actually gets the opportunity to hear them. Here is what he wrote:

"My dear Jamie,
I've always been so proud of you. You're beauty and charm on the inside and on the outside. Now add to that wisdom and knowledge. I don't know how any one person can come so close to perfection. I love you always. Dad."

I will hold on to this note for the rest of my life, keeping it always near... and times in the future when I might lack faith or belief in myself, I will take this out and read it, to remind myself of my worth... to know that I am loved.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Little red wagon, Little red bike

Springtime is magical. The sudden afternoon storms that open up the skies, the hail, the salty-pavement smell bouncing off the heat-released streets... it's gorgeous, and I love its constant changes. The roses in my neighbor's side yard are in bloom. When the wind blows just right, I catch a huge wiff of their elegant scent wafting in my kitchen and bedroom. This is my favorite time to run. Honeysuckle and Wisteria blend together in the air, showers of petals fall on my head, and the breeze still has that hint of cool in it. It's magnificent; it's magical.

My ever-so wonderful neighbor Jenn was sitting alone on the porch last night when I came home. It is always such a delight to relax with her. She gave me a bean and jiicima salad she'd made, as well home-made smoked shrimp grits with bacon (soooooo good). She's been having an unfortunately difficult time lately. She'd been dating someone that she felt was perhaps finally the one. It didn't turn out to be so, and realizing this has proven to be a heavy blow. Of course, at thrity one years old, it is no wonder she is taking it hard. I can't really understand how someone hasn't swept her up yet... she is such an incredible catch. Brilliant. Insightful. Creative. Interesting. Beautiful. Thoughtful. Deep... the list goes on and on. I strive to be the woman she is, and always count myself blessed to be in her company.

To change course, today is the first day I have not felt the severe ache of loss. This isn't to say that I'm necessarily anymore put-together deep down in my emotional being, but it does say something about the healing process and about my overall outlook in general. I'm still not totally sure what the next step is in my life, but I'm feeling more at ease and less anxiety-striken over the uncertainties.

Next weekend is graduation. Holy cow. Is this really happening? It is... it is indeed. Today also marked a moment for me when I truly got in-touch with a sense of personal accomplishment and pride for all of the hard work, trials and tribulations, I've endured to get to this place today. I am proud of myself. It's been a long, often difficult journey.... a journey that has spanned three states, three different schools, three lost loves, and countless skin-sheadings. It is a remarkable milestone, and truly a moment to step back and really examine all of the changes, all of the history, wrapped up in these last six years. Questions about where I am going from here fade into the background when I think about how much I've done, been through, and accomplished. Sure, there have been many failings along the way as well, but can they really be counted as failings if I have endured them, pushed through, and continued the path of growth and learning? I really don't think so.

I pray for good things in the days to come. I'm looking forward to a summer of travel, writing, learning to sew, moving house, planting flowers, experimenting in the kitchen, investigating graduate programs in journalism, and watching the vegetables sprout.

Music selection: Josh Ritter

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Come on, Step inside

FLOWERS!!! Finally! At last!

I sunk my knees into the soil late afternoon yesterday. Playing in the dirt... it's the only thing that will keep me sane after studying math all day long.

So here's what I have so far. This is just the first bed. There's a slightly larger one still empty and waiting for me. Apparently, I over-purchased for this little plot, so I have a good bit of Silva left over (the red blooms). My plan so far, is for these guys to all get big and lush, and hopefully, they wont look quiet as prim and proper as they do at the moment. In the back corner is a large ground-cover type plant that gets thick and bushy, and attracts the attention of butterflies. The little white babies are called White Diamonds, and they wont grow as high as the bushy thing behind them, but will branch out and grow to a height similar to the purple flowers and the red silva around them. I think the White Diamonds are my favorite. I seem to have a preference for tiny, delicate blooms. Baby's breath has always been a dear love of mine, if that tells you anything.

And finally, I gave the monkey grass border a serious haircut, as they were growing all kinds of wild and crazy. Hopefully I trimmed them correctly... I sort of guessed from memory, as we use to have this same monkey grass at my house when I was a child.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pull me out from inside, I am ready

Sometimes these moods sneak up on me, and I can't shake them.
Like today. Today has been an odd day. Slippery in a way. It began well enough, but slowly, oh so slowly, it turned sour and distasteful. I feel needy. Or, to put it better, I feel in need of something... I know not what. Love. Care. Security? I keep trying to get a grip on what exactly it is that's bothering me, but I'm truly at a loss. It could be the ache in my legs from running yesterday, or the ache in my deformed foot. It could be the lock on my bike that is now broken, thanks to Mike "Cushman" (ugh), whom I let borrow it for far too long and who probably broke it in some drunken stupor he is known for indulging. I cannot now get my bike off of the rail at work. It is stuck there, tied to the metal with a thickly wrapped combination cable. Thank god for my neighbor Jenn who came in as I was leaving with her date and saved me from having to walk home. Needless to say, it would have been a long, long walk.
I will try instead to focus on positive things tonight. I had a wonderful talk with Jess on the phone this afternoon. It is a saving grace that our lives always seem to parallel one another. If there is anyone I can count on understanding me and my (our) life, it is this woman. It's been this way since we were little girls... once remarking with wonder on the silly fact that we both ate a brown sugar pop tart for breakfast with iced tea, and were both January girls. *Twins*.
(photo taken last fall)

And I had a homegrown, bib lettuce salad for lunch today! It was fantastic. A little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It needed nothing more. The salad was perfect.

Maybe what I am beginning to realize, is that I can make the kind of life I always idealized for myself, by myself. I don't need a man who will "bring" it to me, who will "inspire" it in me. It's all here, every last bit of it -- is all inside of me. God. The earth. These dreams. Maybe I still struggle with loneliness; that is to be expected. It's a human condition. Memories weasle their way in and crack more places in the broken heart, but you know, most of the time, it's really all okay. I find the beauty in the world. I can; I do. Let me not forget that. Let me not forget that there are always moments when I can dream, and live, when I wake in the morning and take a deep, healthy breath of fresh air and smile with all the gladness of my soul. Life is what you make of it. Sometimes I sculpt the clay poorly... but the wheel is still spinning. So sculpt some more, I say. Sculpt some more.
I was thinking tonight, also, about something my poetry professor (the poet laureate of GA) said to me two semesters ago.... music, is much like poetry. "Take Bob Dylan, for instance. Much of his music is real poetry. The difference between him and us, is that he gets the good fortune of singing the beauty, whereas we still have to work it out on paper and trust that, that paper, will convey the depths of our spirits."
Tonight's music: Girl in the War, by Josh Ritter; and the Counting Crows ((both are so, so goddamn good))

Show me a garden bursting into life

The morning is gorgeous. I slept with the windows open and awoke today with a sweet smelling spring breeze drifting in! I enjoyed the very first moments of being awake, just lying there, watching Moonpie watching the baby finches scuttle around the bush outside. If there wasn't so much work to be done before May 1st, I'd already be knee-deep in dirty in the front yard garden. I actually laid in bed last night, unable to sleep, thinking about what types of flowers or plants would go where. I've been looking at magazines like Homes and Gardens (it's true!) to get ideas. The gardens I like the most are the ones that appear slightly less planned, but more spontaneous, more natural. Last year I just selected three types of flowers and row-planted them. This year I don't want pattern, I want plant-freedom! I'd like to go in to Lowes and just select a huge array of different things... one of these, two of those, etc. And then plant them in the garden like carefully laid ingredients, asking each one where they'd like best to be.

The weekend has been pleasant thus far. Had my bike fixed yesterday morning. Studied all day. Went for a nice long run (6ish miles). Had a glass of wine on the porch with Jenn. The Inman Park festival is in town, and though I wont have the opportunity to wander around down there, I will be riding my bike through on my way to work. The Inman Park festival holds special and unique memories for me. Specifically, the first year I moved here. J and I went, and I was pregnant. A random woman came up to us as we were walking down the street and exclaimed with excitement that we looked like the perfect couple, that something just told her to come and tell us how beautiful we were together. I remember being stunned, because there was no way she could have known I was pregnant. I think, at the time, it was a sign... a sign I couldn't see clearly enough, or didn't listen to as I should have. Things would have been so different. Sometimes I wish I'd made different choices.

Moving into a new house has been discussed recently. It wouldn't be until September, but I think it'd be a good idea. I'd split the rent with two other people, which would reduce my monthly bills significantly. The house is owned by a friend of mine, over in East Atlanta. She has to relocate to Philly, so I convinced her to rent the place out and I'd take good care of it. There is a large garden plot for a vegetable garden in the fenced back yard. It's on a quiet street, where the cats will be able to do an indoor/outdoor kind of thing. I don't think Nairobi will take to that idea, but I know Moonpie would definitely be happier. We've asked Gary, a wonderful friend, if he'd like to stay there with us, and he's given us a definite "yes!" Gary is amazing. He is West Indian, and one of the kindest, gentlest souls I've ever met. He's like a big ole cuddly bear. I'm really excited to have him in the house... as I said to him yesterday, it'll be like having my own personal live-in Buddha!

The vegetables are blooming!! These are carrots:

Bib lettuce... green and red.

This will joyfully be my lunch today!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where do we go nobody knows

What is this feeling I have tonight? I was flipping through old photographs from Guatemala... from the very first trip three years ago with Joshua. I looked so different. The innocence strikes me the most. In the revelation of a youth now departing, the magnitude to which my life and my self have undergone changes is what apprehends me the most. It is disconcerting in a painful way. Perhaps it is only painful because most of the time these days, I silently remark to myself on how I'm actually growing up. It's in the sudden contrast now, that the void becomes most obvious.

What makes me believe that I'm "growing up?" Is it a new-found sense of confidence, of comfort in one's own skin? Is it the badge of loss? Or is it something deeper... something inherently more painful... true loss of innocence. I relate it most to the point at which a child looses their belief in the make-believe world, when the child can no longer imagine universes to which they don't immediately know are not really real, but created by themselves. In these photographs of the twenty year old Jamie, she still believes in the magic of love. She still believes that love-making is soul-mergingly sacred and not just sometimes sex or "fucking," that her life is bound by fate, that perhaps there are spirits guiding her along, that her tarot cards really might hint of something true for the future, that the lover who just showed up on her doorstep was divinely guided there, to that spot, in that exact moment.

My life has changed. With it, my sense of wonder seems to have been likewise altered -- shifted, grounded by the harsh realities of, well, reality I suppose. But there is a profound sadness, a heart-breaking realization that goes along with this notion of "growing up" -- one that I'm really rather uncomfortable with.

The women in my family have been amazing mentors. Every step along the way I have looked to them as guiding lights, as role models for the way I should consider the world. Becoming an adult has been one great initiation right into this special club of women in my family. It has always been something I strived for, to be one of the "big girls," but now that I'm officially a big, grown up girl, I actually miss what I was before... the innocence of my childhood, that strain which carried over into my earliest twenties but which I fear has been lost to the necessity of being a "grown up."

There's tension here, and internal conflict. I've always personally prized my ability and continual quest for not only growth, but change... knowing how necessary and spiritually healthy it is. But with the changes, comes uncertainly, loss, and pain. Change, that thing I once held on such a magnificent pedistle, now seems more daunting to me than exciting, or even healthy. I don't want so much change anymore. And maybe this is just another piece of "growing up"... we slow down, settle. I suppose, if this is the natural course of things, I hope with all my heart that I do not lose or forget the things that are most important to me: a sense of personal freedom, belief in magic, faith in the spirit, and enchantment with the pure things in life like soft skin, basic loves, and sweet dreams.

I think if we put too much focus on society, all the beauty alive in the world of youth will escape our sights. Keep the eyes wide open, and the heart even wider.

(Photograph taken at age 21)

Your signal's found again

Because I need humor more than anything, I decided to include this cute little comic. It's a little belated, seeing as though Easter has just passed... but still with the general season nonetheless!! haha

This afternoon, I thought briefly about responding to an article on Religion Dispatches, but then thought better of it and decided to go ahead and ramble off on here instead. The blogsite tends to suck me into its vortex, usually by an interesting or provocative post title, and then before I know it I've read seven or eight articles by other authors and am running late to my next class or appointment.

This particular article caught my attention because it was about some of the very same issues I'd thought about the previous evening. It has to do with the Pulitzer Prize and the journalistic topics which were rewarded this prestigious award recently -- namely, the peices which exposed high-profile sex scandals. The author took his piece in the same direction that my own mind immediately went... (not to the sex itself, haha), but to the strange way in which a person's private sexual life can be used to impeach (as in the Clinton situation) someone from their political position or otherwise be cause for firing. I remember thinking when the Clinton "scandal" went down... or rather, I recall being perplexed by the fact that he was put on trial for... cheating on his wife?? Getting a "secret" blow job?? What perplexed me then, and perplexes me now, is how the public feels justified in making what really isn't our business, our business. It's their business. What in the hell does Clinton's getting a blow job, for instance, by his secretary have anything to do with the job he was doing as president? Granted, I understand the implications it sets forth about his personal morals or lack of sexual control, but by God, it wasn't rape. It was concensual. Sure, shame on them, but isn't that their business... not ours?

I can't help but wonder if there is a piece of the puzzle I'm missing... but I really don't think I am missing anything at all. I agree with the author of the RD blog -- Sex sells. We are a culture obsessed with sex. It reminds me of an interesting piece I heard on NPR yesterday about the way in which media has moved from sex now to violence, as a way to keep that "excitement" element alive, to keep our all-too-short attention spans fixed. I can't believe such "news stories" can actually be prized with the Pulitzer... are they really even "news," or are the just "gossip?"

Maybe I will post a comment on the article after all.

Anyway, last day of classes today. Now I have one week to pull it all off and get the heck out of dodge. I'm a big huge ball of pressurized stress. For the next eight days I'm not allowed to come out of my house. The only thing I will be doing is writing and studying.

Today's music selection: Beck; The Information album

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Everybody steals somebody's heart away

This morning, I set him free. I did the one thing I haven't been able to do and never imagined I would or could do, as long as I have known him. I said goodbye.

I think it was just time. Time to turn the page. Time to go a different road. The memories, what I choose to hold, are beautiful beyond comparison. My life has been blessed to have shared a piece of him, his heart, his world, his love. I'm going to miss him, more than I can articulate really. But it is time. Time to set us both free.

Last night, after I had finished fine-tuning the outline for the final chapter of my thesis project, sipping a glass of wine on the porch, the thoughts came together with grace and finality. I considered these things: it has been nearly a year since we were truly together, over six months since sharing the same bed. I don't feel anymore like I know who he is, and this isn't to say I don't know who he is in the deepest parts of him... this, I will always know. But for his daily life, for this moment of his living, we are like strangers to one another. His friends are not my friends. We would get together maybe once a week, but usually once a month, for a cup of tea or to sit at the bench in the Decatur dog park. I had to ask myself yesterday, what kind of a friendship, even, was this? The flame of it lay so low the light barely pierced the darkness.

I'm sure the pain of severing ties is going to come barreling at me soon enough, but for now, I am going to try and enjoy the peace, the calm, and the serenity of having been honest, and thorough, and of having made a necessary change in my life. Knowing what one needs and wants is perhaps the most important part of daily living. I know what I want, and also what I need. I suspect, in this situation, knowing these two things will only help him have the same... what he wants, and what he needs.

I am also expecting a year-full, at least, of dreams saturated in his memory, as the emotions and the deeply embedded love works itself out. It's amazing sometimes, to realize just how profoundly our reality can shift. This was the person I was sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I would marry and spend the rest of my life with. We weaved our way through hell and back, we surmounted the highest obstacles, swam the most trecherous depths of rocky sea, and best of all we grew together. We learned so much from one another. And I only hope for him the very best of things in his life. Happiness. Love. Closeness with God. And prosperity, both for this world and the world to come.

In the words of my best friend, "And now, begin again."

Tonight's music selection: "Rihannon" by Stevie Nicks

Friday, April 17, 2009

Elevator Love Letter

Why is it that when I am at my most broke, I buy more things!? Well, I'm certainly doing my part to support this struggling economy. Here are two of the six new things I purchased this week. Not shown here: A terrific pencil a-line waste skirt with light gold pin stripes, a gold wrap belt, playful strappy black sandals, and a blue and pink striped cowgirl blouse.

Speaking of supporing the economy....
Wednesday we had a protest at the Capitol against the new taxes. T-party, I think they're calling it. I had a few friends attending and they came into the Krog for drinks afterwards. I've given a sort of half-assed attempt to understand what the issues are, and for the most part think I've got a mild grip on it all. Those who are invovled with the T-party seem to be against the bail-out. They don't want their own hard-earned money used to bail out other people and the struggling banks and businesses. I suppose I can understand this position, but on a deeper level, I don't necessarily agree with the position. I mean, we're living in a society of people, a national community. We are all connected to one another in an intricate way that we don't always realize. We depend on the wellfare of eachother in order for this community we've created -- America -- to survive, grow and prosper. I think people tend to forget that we can't each do it each on our own. We need one another, we need these big companies and big banks to do well. No one stands alone in this community. No one can be financially autonomous. Not really.

I think if we were to not bail these companies out, if we were to not help people struggling with loans they can't afford, a significant part of our economic infrastructure would collapse. The domino-effect of such a collapse would effect everyone. There's no way around this fact. It would be an ignorant and ill-begotten decision not to link hands beneath the financially struggling right now. So yes, maybe this is coming too close to socialism for comfort, for some. But there is certainly aspects of socialism which reign better than capitolism for the prosperity of a nation.

It all reminds me of a comment one of my customers said to me once, that totally took me off gaurd. I was dusting lamps one day at work, causually talking to a gentleman who had come in. I can't remember how the conversation came up, but I found myself telling the man that I really hoped with a new president we might see government provided healthcare for all. I explained to him that I felt this way because it was very difficult, being a student such as myself, to afford health insurance. In fact, I never could afford it, and remain uncovered. He didn't take kindly to this, but instead retorted, "why should I have to pay for you to have health insurance?"

I was shocked and dumbfounded that he had the gaul and lack of care or empathy to say such a thing. Why should he chip in to provide healthcare for college students like myself?? Because it would ensure the safety of our nation's youth!! Because it would secure the growth and propserity of the youth who do seek to educate themselves, who have the intelligence and drive to become contributing citizens to this nation! I pay taxes too. Afterall, what are taxes for?! What is the government for?! It was such a cold, capitolist, individualist remark. Let him then, go live on his own island, and ask of me nothing -- no help, no service. My own taxes contribute to his life too, including his children if they attend public school... how quick he was to forget that fact.

That's all I have for that little soapbox.

The symposium was fantastic yesterday. I enjoyed all of the panelists!! Although, it did run a little too long, as always... I was starving by the end of the program. Mom and David came along, and I felt somewhat bad that they didn't really understand what anyone was talking about... so much religious studies jargon! They enjoyed the ceremony though, and meeting the significant people who have helped shaped my educational experience -- namely Dr. Khan (on a much more personal level) and Dr. Herman (for guiding me through the trenches of thesis writing). I was severely disappointed in realizing that I could have submitted my paper to the panel, given a certain "unattended." I'm actually grateful for this, as I can well imagine it would have been difficult and uncomfortable for the both of us, especailly with my parents there. Two more weeks and I'm free from Georgia State, free from those all-too-present memories, free from the gut-rentching possibilities of running into one another in uncomfortable circumstances.

Anyway... it's a bangly bangle kind of day today!! The sun is gorgeous, the air is crisp, and the thesis is flowing smoothly and briskly. And best of all, I don't have to work this evening.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Time like your cheek has turned for me

Today was actually pleasurable, which came as a real respite given the high anxiety and inevitable disappointments revolving around math for the last week.

I studied until my eyes hurt, until the world spun... I had it down by Sunday night. Or so I thought. A total of about 30 hours spent studying before the exam became a blank stare with a blank mind when the test was put in front of me. I simply forgot everything, every formula I had worked on, every definition I'd hammered down. All of it went clear out of my mind. I was so upset when I left the exam. It was one of those days that could really only be rectified by a hearty glass of wine (or two).

I learned a new word today: Inimical. It means: adverse in tendency or affect; unfavorable; harmful; unfriendly; hostile; cold.

Math is inimical to my emotional well-being.

Tomorrow is the religious studies student symposium. I'm either getting or not getting an honors cord (the emails have been so confusing as to what day they're being given), but what I will have is a strong supporter by my side! I went shopping today to find a nice summery-springy dress to wear, but came back with only a bunch of cute tops. I reconciled that I was doing my part to welcome the economy back with open arms (by abusing my poor, aching credit card). Rag-o-rama really came through for me on summer tops. But no dresses. Alas!

Jessica has a sewing nook!! I must, must, must have one too!! Not just because she has one, but because it's awesome and I've always wanted to make my own clothes. She is a great source of inspiration to actually make me do it... and what a terrific summer project!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finally find out what it means to be living

I absolutely adore this photograph of me and the Finnster. Just look at that smile!! I want to gobble him up (and it looks like I'm just about to)! He is such a beautiful little boy, with two beautiful, happy parents.

It was such a pleasure (and oh so needed!) to spend time with everyone. I think I have the "baby bug" now, stronger than ever. Surprisingly, I found that I have a great deal of patience with children, including the high-pitched squealer Kate (5yrs) and her rambunctious, stubborn little brother Eli (1.5yrs). Children are a joy!

It's also really interesting to see Jessica again, after such a long period of time apart. The first moment I set eyes on her, I was flooded with the impression of her deep and gorgeous changes. It's almost hard to explain, seeing someone this way -- but I became instantly aware of the magnitude to which she has grown, and the strong light of motherhood shinning from her was one of the most lovely things I have ever seen. She is simply glowing. Her husband, Scott, has undergone a lot of changes too... changes which manifest in him physically. He seems older, more mature, his hair (that wild Jew-fro!!) is amazing, and looks different than before. It reflects an aging of sorts; again, hard to explain.

In other updates of loved ones, I recieved an email recently from Clint in Florida. The letter was difficult to read, to be honest. It was a very long one, talking about his daily life, his work as a tutor for young children, etc. What bothered me about the letter, though, was the way in which he views himself in relation to the world. He has this elevated sense of himself, somewhat illusory, really, of being a "higher" being, of having "mystical" powers -- unique "spiritual" powers that he thrusts upon others, as if he were a prophet. It seems to me, the truly spiritual don't talk about their being spiritual. At least, this is how Buddhism has most often described the "spiritually mature" souls, and I believe this as well. To have the qualities of a saint, or even a prophet, really ought to require an incredible amount of super-human humbleness. Clint seems to become more and more eccentric as the years go by, a little more "out there." I don't know how someone can see themselves as such a deeply spiritual person, and then have sex willingly with a crack-addict the next day. Something is deeply wrong there. The main thing, however, is this: it truly is a miraculous moment when one realizes they are "tapped in" to the undercurrent of their life, like when one is able to know something is coming or about to happen, and it does... but the difference between someone who is spiritually mature and someone who is not, seems to be in the recognition that the premonition, if you wish to call it such, comes not from themselves but from a source larger than themselves. This is the beauty of being human, and really... the beauty of getting to know God. Clint sees these occurances in himself as his own, he takes ownership of them, and this concerns me a great deal because it reveals an ego-driven desire for spiritual power. Yet the illusion is that there is no "person" with these special powers, or abilities. It is a fine line that not many can understand -- a delicate veil that stands between ego and true spirit.

Front yard news: When more money comes in, I've decided on a Dogwood tree for the front corner. I'd like daisies in the flower bed, and some sort of ground-cover flower for the main bed. I should have planted Tulips last fall... I'm yearning for those right now after seeing the house down the street with a walkway lined in them!

This is little Miss Kate, after Jess and I braided her hair. (photo on the right)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

In a minute I'll be strong

"Driven" - First Draft

We were children, once,
in the middle of a suburban street,
breaking into the forbidden night
with a dream raging in our minds, soldiering us
to the beat of its eager drum. You pointed up
into the dark starlit sky, at the trapeze of telephone wires
above our heads and said you could feel the buzzing
like a tattoo needle beneath your skin.
We hopped a fence, talked of a midnight swim,
dangled virgin feet by the poolside and peered
into the mirrored center
of our universe.

It’s a young spring morning
and the birds are sounding their wake-up call,
never missing a note.
When the chirping stops, scared off by the loud
hiss of a bus in transit,
we are all up from our nests,
driven by the rush, that massive push --
Hurry, chafes the voice.

I think of Kunitz in his end days,
scuffling the garden path in his house slippers,
counting new bulbs, carefully
plucking the dried ends of old ones,
slowly and quietly repeating the lines in his head,
driven by a rush, a massive push,
of something more sacred,
stronger and deeper, and yet he moved
among the bush bottoms like a humpbacked turtle,
stretching a wrinkled paper neck
to peer into the mirrored center
of the universe.

I feel like this poem wants to say more in the middle. It's been hard to squeeze out words today, like trying to wring water from a dry towel.

I woke up this morning starving for the depth of spirit that use to pervade my life. Of course, I know it's always there, but more a matter of whether or not we're paying attention to it - giving it room to reveal itself. I miss long quiet mornings. I miss having someone to talk nature with -- Nature, is my religion. I worship nature the way a Christian bows in front of a holy cross. I burn to spend every moment submerged in a forest, in the dirt, tending to God's intricate dress. Nature is where I can touch God, where I can feel God, smell God... SEE God. Even in the city, I've been able to keep this love, this relationship alive. I made time for it. Sometimes, I stray from the table where it and I meet. I get more absorbed in other things, drifting farther and farther away until I wake up one morning, aching with need.

I remember when we use to make love, and everything felt so fresh... on mornings like these. The need wasn't there. My cups were full and brimming.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Whatever you want, You're so fucking special

Oh Radiohead, Radiohead, Radiohead... how you remind me of Bret Lanier, and his long-lost but never once forgotten "Raptor" impression.

"Oh, I have made myself a tribe out of my true affections, and my tribe is scattered! How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses?" -From The Layers, by Stanley Kunitz

There are things in life we don't expect. That one special person we think we'll end up with, do we really? Or is the secret of life really hiding in the unexpected? Friends we think we'll have forever, perhaps we take them for granted, like we do our lovers on occasion. And then one night, they're gone... stolen from their own front door step. True death or "felt" death -- I'm not so sure there is a difference when the loss amounts to the same level of being without.

Two gut-renching movies, with two very different endings: Children of Men; Slumdog Millionaire. I watched them both today, and I feel emotionally exhausted. Some days we don't really get to decide what we truly want to do. If I'd had it my way today, I would have stayed at home all day, cleaned out my closets... studied. Some invisible force still drives us onward, and we deal with the changes as they come, as best we can.

I had prepared a list of "rants" today, mainly against the ridiculousness of pop-culture and the strange society I constantly find myself not understanding. Actually, I think it's not that I don't understand it... I think I just choose not to. I've been called naive for being so "out of touch." Is it really naivete?? Or just conscious aloofness? Still, I know I am as much a product of this society as I am human. The two are imbedded in one another. Unless I were enlightened. But that would be a bird of another color!

There's really no point to this post. I hope my one intended reader, Misses Sapoznick, wont be expecting one from me. But I hope she knows I'm thinking of her (and praying we both have cameras soon to keep taking our pictures!), that I love her and miss her tenderly... and I hope, that I never once take her presence in my life for granted. Sometimes, I think it's really all I've got to hold on to.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stand on honest ground

So I made lentil hummus today. Yes, Lentil hummus. It's fantastic. To be completely honest, I was out of garbanzos beans but due to my constant craving for hummus (it's unexplainable) I decided the dusty can of lentils in the back of the pantry would have to do. And boy, did it ever!!

I would post a picture for you here, but hummus really isn't a pretty dish. Here's what I put in this little number (and I totally whipped this one out of thin air): marinated artichoke hearts, pimientos, seasame tahini (only a tablespoon), lots of lemon juice, fresh ground cumin, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and olive oil. The flavors just rock. The artichokes make a great contribution to the flavor, and are probably the most showcased ingredient on the palate. The cumin adds a touch of smokiness. The lemon and pimientos give a nice tang.

Among other things...
Spring is here, and it's beautiful. I need to get out and snap some photos soon, if I ever get a day with sunshine! On my run this afternoon I was really enjoying the fresh air so full of newly born wisteria blooms. The dogwoods are bursting clusters like popcorn! I think the Dogwood is what makes me love Georgia, and always reminds me of my home. This is where I come from. The land of Dogwoods. The street I grew up on as a kid was lined in dogwood trees on both sides.

School = stress right now. Two math exams, a math project, a ten page paper, and this thesis to complete... all in three weeks. My magic-erase board is full of appointments and deadlines. Wednesday I have an interview for a tutoring position. It would be a terrific gig if I land it. Teaching a child one-on-one Monday through Friday from 8am to 1pm. I'd have a normal life with normal working hours. And it would provide me the time to work on writing and trying to get some things published. I need to investigate more poetry outlets, and try to find good places to submit. I've also been jotting down a list of ideas for short stories that I'd like to put together this summer.

Aaaand... I need to drive out to Missouri soon. I miss that sweet little family!!! I want to see Finn's baby teeth sprouting up, eat some of Jess's yummy desserts, and laugh at Scott's antics. I miss my best friend.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Devour" - Draft 1

One crumpled-up pack of Marlboro reds,
two cats curled at the base of the bed,
they crack their bones and stretch
in the wrinkle of morning.
He stirs her coffee with a silver spoon.

It is a broad back,
that sits at the edge of the bed
examining rough-skinned feet
that have never been pumiced.

They are wide-palmed hands
that still shake at the thought
of a drink, and lift the weight
without need, or question.

In the pale grey of early day
they are quiet together, she and him,
and the birds that have already had
the pleasure of a morning worm.

She, studying his scars,
biting the lip of the lover,
gaurding against the ghost
of his hungry mother...

sees the boy in the man,
and the man in the boy,
holds them both tight
to her chest
and says,
"drink the sweet milk...
go on, devour."


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Til the sun turns black


I awoke this morning with the sunrise, gently, as if the outstretched fingertips of the first early rays had placed a hand on my shoulder. A slight opening of the eyes, a sleepy yet curious turn of the head and there he is -- that magnificent sun -- peeking up through my window.

It's really nice to wake up early this way, and with a sweet sense of peace in the heart. After a long, tedious weekend at work, the calm of early morning is most welcome.

Sometimes work feels like a whirlwind, spinning me just a little too fast through a carnival night of loud drunken laughter, shrieks, wild voices and people disappearing as fast as they appear. It can be dizzying in the way a dream-ride on a carousel would be, with a fiddle screaming in the backgroung. I'm not really a participator, I'm an unfortunately child being ushered through the monster's funhouse.

For as long as I can remember, I've kept the saying "You can do anything" fastened tightly to the strong back of my will. I can do anything! Anything! Except math, maybe? If I were an ant and math were the thumb of a giant man -- then I'm being smashed beneath it!! ((for some reason, my thoughts are thick with metaphor today)) It's so, so hard. When I sit down to study a single section, I can get stuck on one question for two hours. It makes me cry. Cry! It's terrible. This, this is suffering! Truly.

So, as I should be studying for an exam on Tuesday, instead I'm going to drive to Kennesaw, take the doodlebug out to lunch, and maybe climb the mountain. It's been ages since I've been back there... since our wild, beautiful teen years, when we so often chose sitting atop that great mountain over being held up in a stuffy classroom.

Here is a wonderful little poem I've been reading and re-reading for the last few weeks. It is by one of my very favorite writers, Stanley Kunitz, at the end of his life. It is touching, and tenderly sentimental.

Today's music selection: Ray Lamontange and Clare Fader

Touch Me -- by Stanley Kunits:
Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the enginge go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

Photographs for today:
Investigating the incredible growth of hair... how did this happen overnight??

From Amsterdam, last summer: I like to look at these as if they were someone else, some girl I don't know... she seems like someone I'd like. Very inward, probably quiet, introspective.