December 31, 2010

Goodbye, 2010

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go...

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "In Memoriam (Ring Out, Wild Bells!)"
via First Milk

December 28, 2010


My thoughts move seamlessly from past to present to future and back again like a pendulum's swing. Will I ever be able to just be here? If I'm honest... do I really want to be?

The past is ugly; I shy away. The present is unstable, the future unknowable. Wishing, always wishing. Wishing what has been had never been, wishing now was better (wishing I was better), wishing I could know what is to come. Back and forth. Constant as pulse or breath. Changing as kaleidescope colors.

Shifting, shifting... *Sigh.*

December 27, 2010


I'm sitting at a computer on the opposite side of the world from where I usually sit, in a chair that, ironically enough, just like mine, doesn't fit the desk in front of it. Outside my guest room window are tall trees that swish about like an echo of the sighing of the nearby sea, and there are many different birds, with their sweet chirps and shrill calls, and an army of cicadas with their deafening whir, and even a sleepy koala or two.

My hair is a touseled mess of saltwater curls -- and I like it that way. Now and then I try to run my fingers through but they only get stuck, and I shrug, and leave it be.

It is early yet, and cool outside, the sky shrouded in a veil of low clouds.


I cannot, will not get over the singular sensation of walking straight into the ocean; the push and pull of the tides, altering gravity's power, the sliding sand beneath my feet, bits of seaweed slithering slimy past my skin. The prickling fear of jellyfish and sharks. A quick prayer to whoever is listening, that I might emerge with all limbs intact.

I like to wear my two-piece bathing suit to the beach, so that I will feel sun and water against as much of my skin as possible, without baring all; but the ocean sees no sense in my silly modesty, and the waves attempt to take it off again and again. At times I am tempted to let it; if only there weren't so many people.

The waves slap and tug and push and pull, and resistance only earns you a more deliberate buffeting. For so long as you try to oppose the sea, you can never hope to win. But if you give in, if you let it do with you what it will, then you become a part of it, and all its strength becomes your own.


Bike riding in the afternoon. The warm sweet smell of summer air, hibiscus and frangipani and a dozen other flowers I haven't got names for. The sound of silence and of falling leaves, crack of snapping twigs, husshhh of grit and sand beneath rolling rubber tires. The everpresent sighing of the trees and of the sea. Muscles moving and straining beneath obligingly supple skin. Push, push, push! Nearly there...

Achievement. Ache.

Lovely view, lovely company, lovely air rushing in and out of lungs.

December 25, 2010

no doubt about it

I will definitely be bringing my future family to Australia for Christmas at least once; if only so that I can (in good conscience) have the unique pleasure of throwing my children into the Pacific ocean on Christmas Day.

December 24, 2010

very faint, and far away

Late at night on Christmas Eve, she carried us to our high bedroom, and darkened the room, and opened the window, and held us awed in the freezing stillness, saying--and we could hear the edge of tears in her voice--"Do you hear them? Do you hear the bells, the little bells, on Santa's sleigh?" We marveled and drowsed, smelling the piercingly cold night and the sweetness of Mother's warm neck, hearing in her voice so much pent emotion, feeling the familiar strength in the crook of her arms, and looking out over the silent streetlights and the chilled stars over the rooftops of the town. "Very faint, and far away--can you hear them coming?" And we could hear them coming, very faint and far away, the bells on the flying sleigh.

--Annie Dillard, An American Childhood

These are the kind of memories I want to give my own children, someday.
Merry Christmas, everyone.

December 22, 2010


Well, I'm off to Australia for the holidays...
I hope that moments and hours and days of joy will find you this season, wherever you are.

December 18, 2010

another brother

Dear Benjamin,
How are you, small brother? I've never thought of you so much in my life as I have these last few days, and I'm not sure why.

I was very young -- probably too young -- when I learned about you. I hardly understood what "abortion" even meant, except from the context of the conversation. I remember our mom talked about it like a memory of a dream. A baby who was never born. A baby boy, another brother. He would be younger than Kyle, but older than [Gretchen]. Baby Ben.

Of course, she made it her thing, presented it as her thing, like she always does. As if it was nothing to do with me. As if her choices and her struggles had no effect on my life whatsoever. As if it were
her trauma alone, and her tears to cry, and there was no reason for me to be getting so upset about it. And maybe that's why I shut it down, put my feelings about you away; because she acted as if I were stealing something that wasn't mine. But you are mine, too, aren't you? You are. You're my family.

I could say all kinds of angry, bitter things here about our parents, and I could speculate about what it might have been like, if you'd had a chance to be born; what might have been better, what would have undoubtably been worse. But really all I wanted to say was: Hi, baby brother. I'm your older sister, and I remember you. Maybe you've met my children, your neice and nephew? Maybe the three of you are great friends by now.

You would be about 22 years old, I think, if you were here. But you're not here; and it's sad to say, but I can't help thinking maybe you are the luckiest sibling after all.

Peace be with you, my dear. Happy Christmas.
Love from you sister -- Vera

December 17, 2010



If my girlie had made it to her due date, she would be turning 3 years old today.
I miss you, sweetheart. I miss you so much.
XO -- mama

December 16, 2010

love in a white square envelope

I've received a Christmas card in the mail, all the way from Ireland. Before opening it, I sat and held the envelope in my hands for a few moments, savoring the knowledge of all the miles it had traveled, the many hands it had passed through, the enormous cooperative effort required just to bring it to my door.

Inside was a sweet card, and an ornament for Ailis; a red felt heart with her name on it in tiny, perfect stitches.


Have you ever been crying in a crowded public place, but you're all alone and you have a lot of things to do, so you're trying to hide that you're upset, and you think that possibly you're succeeding, since no one even seems to notice that you're standing there at all? But then, just when you start to feel like you've almost got it under control, somebody in the rushing crowd suddenly stops, and looks right at you, and maybe even wraps you up in a hug; somebody you don't even know, but who is kind, and who sees you, and sees your pain, and decides that it matters, for some reason, to them. And when you realize this -- that your pain matters -- you know you can't hide anymore, and you don't want to anyway, and you find that you're crying harder now than ever...


Opening my envelope from Ireland was like that.

Thank you, Ines. For your kindness, and for remembering my girl.
I kind of love you for it. I would hug you if I could.

every little thing I do, I do for you

December 13, 2010


I am planning on doing a babyloss tribute while I'm away. If you are one of my followers and your baby's name isn't on this list, please leave me a comment and let me know. I don't want to miss anyone.

December 11, 2010


Yesterday was great, last night was less than great, and today I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. WTF?

December 10, 2010

so sew

I am busy busy busy being creative. I'd love to show you what I've been up to, but all of my projects are gifts, so until they are in the proper hands I guess the photos will just have to wait.

I put three lovely packages in the mail this morning, made a final trip to the fabric store, purchased some travel essentials for my trip, and found a few of the Christmas gifts that I still needed while I was out. It's been a productive, no-pressure day, and I feel pretty great.

Now, to put on an episode of Glee, and get back to my sewing machine!

December 7, 2010


I awoke all full of good intentions this morning but suddenly I find that it is 1pm already and I have not done any of the things I was going to do before work... except decorate my blog for Christmas.

Oh well.

December 6, 2010

december so far

I am borrowing a laptop for a few minutes, so that I can write an update. My computer monitor is broken, so screen time this past week has been non-existent. I can do a little bit on my phone, but it's not the same. Writing takes a lot longer on a tiny keypad and my battery drains faster when I use too much 3G. So it's been weird, and I've missed this place. Should have a new monitor by tomorrow though. Fingers crossed!

My sister came to visit over the weekend. We went to see the latest Harry Potter (completely fantastic, by the way), which is one of our personal traditions, and had a comfortable visit. Also I started seeing a nice boy who is very cute and who I like very much. I am still cranking out Christmas gifts, and counting down the days till I leave for Oz.

That's all for now -- V