March 30, 2010

there is no reason in the world why we two canteloupe

Ciss: "I can't finish my envelope, mom."
Jill: "Your what? What are these called?"
Ciss (bewildered by our laughter): "Envelopes?!"

photo source

March 27, 2010

March 25, 2010

front row center

Papa Tom said it's like I've been playing third row strings all this time -- and me a veritable prodigy! -- and it's time for everyone to step aside, because I'm First Violin, now.

It's about time for me to be the star of my own life.

March 24, 2010

"I wasn't crying about mothers. I was crying because I can't get this shadow to stick. And I wasn't crying." --Peter Pan, JM Barrie


I used to say things like: This is what I want to do. I think I'll try for this. Just to see how it felt to say it, and to gauge the reactions -- which were half-hearted at best. I liked the sound of the words, knew what I wanted, hoped it was good. I liked the idea that it was possible to say what you wanted to do, and then do it. But no one in my life reflected that back to me, stood by me, or really wanted me to succeed.

So I was a ghost, and I could not leave. I knew something wasn't right, not yet. I needed closure, and closure was not forthcoming. No one was going to offer it to me -- especially while I was invisible, a seething shadow; deceived into following in other people's footsteps, separated from my own Self, my own heart. It hurt. And I was angry. I'm still angry.

Because my Self and I hardly know each other, now. I need Wendy, with her needle and thread, to stitch us back together so that we move in sync again. Shadows are slippery things; it's difficult to convince them to stay. And I've been a Shadow for so long.


March 17, 2010

a grimm tale

I've been working on a rewrite of a story called "The Old Woman In The Wood" from the Brothers Grimm -- and I finally finished the first draft! It's really exciting. I have a long history of starting stories and never finishing them. I get scared. I want it to be perfect. I worry that it never will be. But I decided to write this story anyway. It was too delicious not to. It needs a little more polish, still... but then I will let you read it.

Illustration by Arthur Rackham.
See a synopsis of the original story here, or the full version here.

March 15, 2010

the river

This song puts me in mind of the way I felt this time last year...

Like I was wading out into a swift current -- and I didn't care. I made choices I never imagined I'd make. I don't regret any of them; I think I did what I needed to do, to stay sane. But it changed the way a lot of people looked at me, and the way they treated me. I had a reputation, you know. The good girl. The responsible, reliable one.

I was tired of it.

I felt like everyone thought they knew who I was, just by looking. As if I were easy to peg, easy to label -- but no one knew me at all, not really. I was so angry, so trapped inside myself. So used to going through the motions, behaving the way everyone expected me to, day by day by day. Performing. Don't make any sudden moves. Don't startle anyone. The resentment broke me, eventually.

My life looked pretty good from the outside. I had an amazing job that I loved, an attractive boyfriend who was still treating me well, a big room in a house with really fun, authentic people. I had a wide network of friends and acquaintances. I had so many of the things I thought I wanted... And I was horribly depressed, though I didn't even know it. I thought I just wasn't trying hard enough.

March 14, 2010

in memorium

What words are these have fall'n from me?
Can calm despair and wild unrest
Be tenants of a single breast,
Or sorrow such a changeling be?

This year I slept and woke with pain,
I almost wish’d no more to wake,
And that my hold on life would break
Before I heard those bells again:

That loss is common would not make
My own less bitter, rather more:
Too common! Never morning wore
To evening, but some heart did break.

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

from In Memorium, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Ciss has a new dolly. It makes real baby sounds -- and my heart hurts every time I hear it.

March 13, 2010


I finished Ailis' blanket today! I was afraid I would feel sad, but instead I feel content -- and accomplished. I will fold it up and put it in my trunk with other hope-filled things, and take it out again one day when the time is just right. I think her someday-sister will like it just as much as she would have.

March 12, 2010

for ever and ever and ever

I got the the tattoo on my hip completed yesterday. My two baby birds! I am really glad to have them both there now, I feel so much better. It's healing super fast, too... I am impressed.

At the tattoo parlor, we moved the stencil a couple of times, making minor adjustments until the placement was just right.
"It looks great!" I said finally, studying my reflection one last time.
"For ever and ever?" asked Paul, just to be sure.
I turned around and smiled. "Yes. For ever and ever."

the results are in

Here is a brief summary of what I am allergic to (the *stars
mean death):
whey, eggs, coffee, yeast, banana, cranberry, strawberry*, guava*, seafood*, fish (white)*, corn, pecans, sesame, asparagus, garlic, lettuce, mushrooms (common), wool, pet dander, weeds, grass, hay, pollen, dust, mold, mildew, cheap metals... life?

Ugh. I did ask to be tested. And it explains so much. And if I avoid these things, I will feel alot better. But it's kind of distressing.

UPDATE: Wow, I must have been in denial for a little bit, because I see now that I forgot to add: cane sugar. Noooooooooo!!

March 10, 2010

it's my birthday, hooray!

I am 26 years old today!!

I had such a nice, relaxed day of shopping and just hanging out, and everyone was so nice to me. I got some really sweet gifts, but the best by far was... a cordless drill! FINALLY!! I was so surprised, and so excited. You have no idea how long I have waited for that. Thanks everyone, for the birthday love, and for making my day great. <3

March 9, 2010

this song my absolute favorite right now.

March 8, 2010

when I go cycling

A spiteful wind catches sight of me rounding the bend, rushes down through the snow-covered hills and slaps my face with icy violence, doing its best to discourage progress, pushing backward with what force it can muster and shrieking obscenities
in my ears, till my cheeks are pink with shock and the tears come to my eyes, but I have to stay strong and keep going, because I am still a mile and a half from home.

March 7, 2010

an early present

I just bought this super cute print for myself, for my birthday, which is coming up in just a few days. So exciting!!

to build and enjoy a fort of exceptional quality

Step One: sheets & pillows & blankets

Step Two: solid architecture & ambient lighting

Step Three: make a roaring campfire (collaborate!)

Step Four: add sunshine & stories

Just because I don't have my own kids... doesn't mean I'm not an awesome mom. :)

March 6, 2010

real writers know

There's a secret real writers know that wanna-be writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing that's the hard part. What's hard is sitting down to write.

--Stephen Pressfield


I've been thinking alot lately about when I was pregnant with Noah. I knew it so early! And I felt so nervous-excited inside.

One day I was shopping at Target, and I let myself walk all slow and nonchalant down one of the baby aisles--like I just happened to be passing through that part of the store, for no particular reason--and then I laughed at myself, and thought, Seriously, who am I kidding?! What do I care? and turned around and walked up and down all the rest of those aisles too. I looked at playpens and highchairs and carseats and bouncers, pacifiers and blankets and diaper bags and bibs. I touched things with reverence, if at all; tracing the different patterns of owls and stripes and flowers with my fingertip, and dreaming. I smiled at the sweet and clever things written on some of them, and decided what I would choose if I could. I was drawn already toward the things meant for boys.

Later I went to the book section. I picked up a pregnancy magazine, and I remember I just stared at the cover for the longest time. Like, Do I dare? And, But what if I'm not? What will I say to the cashier? Or, What will J say if she sees it? Then an associate came and asked me if I needed any help, and scared me half to death.

I ended up putting the magazine back. I didn't trust myself, yet. Now I wish I had bought it. I wish I had trusted the depth of those feelings, wish I'd been able to show myself that kind of support. It seems kind of sad that I didn't.

I remember though, regardless. I remember how those days felt, and it makes me happy--because I believe now that my instincts are accurate, and good. I know that I'll recognize it when I feel it again; and I am so much stronger now. I will be able to trust myself. And hopefully, when it's time to walk those aisles again, I won't be alone.

March 4, 2010

for Sophia, because she asks so sweetly

This is part of a story that I wrote yesterday, upon request. It needed to be about 'a mean queen, and a nice princess, and a magic tree.'

Sarina felt her heart breaking.

The ash tree reached out its branches to her as if they were arms. It could not speak, but the princess knew the tree well, and she knew too that this was an offer of help. She stepped closer, brushing the tears from her eyes, and took a deep breath. She wrapped her arms around the tree, pressing herself closer and closer still, and the trunk shifted at her touch, opening itself up and making space for her inside. The king and queen arrived just in time to see her slippered foot vanish, and the bark heal smoothly over the place the princess had stood just moments before.

“NO!” shouted the king. He sat down where he was, and began to cry. “No, no, no. My little Sarina. My princess.” He cried and cried and cried, because he knew he had been wrong, and because he was so sorry, and because he knew that now he would never see his little girl again.

While the king was crying and everyone else who had just arrived was still wondering what had happened, the queen slipped away. Out the gates she ran, as lightly and quickly as she could. Far into the forest, away from the guards and the laws and the dungeon, and the eyes of the heartbroken king.

Every day for a week, the king went out to the courtyard, to stand under the princess’ favorite tree and weep for her some more, and also to feel sorry for himself. But on the last morning, as he approached, he noticed that the leafy branches were covered with tiny new flower buds, where no flower buds had ever been before. When he got closer, and looked up, he forgot all about his tears—for the buds all burst suddenly open, as if on cue, into beautiful soft pink flowers with bright white centers at their heart.

The king knew then that the princess was not really gone. The sweet little petals, floating down, showed him that Sarina was safe now, and happy, and that he was forgiven, and that she loved him still.

And that is all anyone ever needs to know.

March 2, 2010

wishful thinking

"Oh, but you musn't!" said the little girl.
"Why not?" growled the bear. "WHY NOT?"
"Because!" shouted the girl, with all of her might, throwing her arms up in the air. Then she whispered it, dropping her arms again and looking suddenly very, very small. "...because."
And that tiny whisper broke the big bear's heart, broke it neatly in half like the two pieces of a walnut, and he sat down hard with the shocking swiftness of it, and the tears in his eyes.
"Oh," said the bear, "I see." And he did.
He really did.

March 1, 2010

Things that are in the kind of stories
that are interesting and good:

fairies/elvish folk

Hmm. According to this list (which I wrote up myself, but that's not the point), I think my stories could really end up being interesting and good. And also true; with the names changed, of course, to protect the innocent and the guilty alike.

These things are in everyone's story, every day. I know some bears, and kings, and frogs; I know some princesses and fairies, too. And I know that just because not everyone sees things the same way, or calls them the same thing, it doesn't mean they're not real.