Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's the Little Things


Regardless of the hustle and bustle I find myself distracted with so often, excuses that inexplicably take me away from things I genuinely love, an age-old expression remains - "Wherever you go, there you are." 

No matter the distractions, no matter the twists and turns, this year has been one of many changes, much chaos, and ultimately a great deal of reflection. This year has been joyous and sad, exciting and mundane, frustrating and hopeful. It's so important for me to remember is that great things come from small beginnings.  It is so important for me to remember to stop, to be present in the moment.  To find the beauty in the everyday moments.  

This little diddy sums up my feelings of the year quite fantastically. There is much change, much motion and disruption - of little and great consequence. Yet, the core remains unchanged. Resilient and strong. It is at once simple and complex, beautiful and commonplace.  I love noticing the little changes, the tiny movements in the background.  How each little change creates a rippling effect on the whole.  And I can't help but wonder, which little moments in my life have created the most impact on the whole of this year?  What small moments are yet to come?  A most exciting time, indeed.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote Baby Vote


If you have not done so already... get out there. Today is the day. Rock the vote. 
It's the least and the most you can do.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Under the Weather


I'm finding myself fending off the plague more often than expected.  I used to think I had a pretty strong constitution... but if these past few days are any indication, my previous thoughts seriously lacked in judgement.  Which is a shame on so many levels.  

I'm longing to emerge... to walk in the woods, to sit on a porch swing, read something that sucks me in and makes me forget about time and deadlines for a while...   But I'll settle for being able to taste my food.  Or breathing without noise.  

Sadly, today is not that day.  
Perhaps tomorrow will bring blessings large and small...  We shall see.  

Quote of the Week


some day we will find what we are looking for...
or maybe we won't. 

maybe we will find something much greater than that...

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Language of His Feelings



"I asked him did he really love New York or was he just wearing the shirt.  
He smiled.  Like he was nervous.  I could tell he didn't understand which made me feel guilty for speaking English, for some reason.  I pointed at his shirt.  'Do? You? Really? Love? New York?' I said,  'Your Shirt.'  He looked at his shirt.  I pointed at the N and said 'new' and the Y and said 'york.'  He looked confused, or embarrassed, or surprised, or maybe even mad.  I couldn't tell what he was feeling, because I couldn't speak the language of his feelings.  
'I not know was New York.  In Chinese, ny mean 'you.' Thought was 'I love you.'" 

Jonathan Safran Foer 
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Since I've Been Away...


Today is a good day.  There is much to be done over this lovely, long weekend.  But for today, I have acquiesced to the pajamas, the couch and the blankets.  A beautiful thing.  It is cold and rainy outside, but inside it is warm and cozy.  And much has happened since I've been away.  The long and the short of it?  Life goes on.  And it's just getting better and better. 


I've spent these past days... 


* sipping wine at an outdoor festival in the middle of downpour. 
* watching Nebraska football from the South Stadium (#26)
* singing in a USO show on the last trip of a historic dinner train. 
* relearning how to crochet. 
* buying a Smash Book.  And staring at it blankly for want of inspiration. 
* singing broadway and Freebird at a funeral.   
* grading 232 essays. 
* posting discussion boards for a most uninspiring online course. 
* discovering, to my serious dismay, that Pumpkin Spice lattes and my tummy are not friends.  
* making homemade pizza. 
* Drinking vodka and noshing suharyki, caviar, black bread and salat olivia with Peace Corps friends and their Russians. 
* Pretending I'm 21 again with college friends.
* remembering just how awesome Amigos' fake mexican food really is.  
* limbering up and feeling awfully feisty after a trip to the chiropractor.  I am a new woman.  
* questioning most things. 
* celebrating National Coming Out Day with word and song. 
* looking a righteous mess in the name of school spirit. 
* celebrating connection, love, and commitment regardless of law, popularity, or gender. 
* re-mastering the art of Victory Rolls.  
* seeing Esperanza Spalding, lusting after her talent, hair, and style. 
* teaching the children. 
* talking my jaw off at parent-teacher conferences. 
* jumping up and down after being invited to my very first bar mitzva. 
* reconnecting with friends. 
* making new ones. 
* connecting with 100 years of sisterhood - for the first time.  
* finding balance - or at least dreaming of it. 

* embracing my irreverence.  
* reading a bit, pondering more, and laughing so much. 


Who knows what the next days will bring...


Yes.

{source}


In the darkness of my lonely days and moments in Ukraine, I found peace and calm in the most unexpected of places.  I would perch indian-style in the chair I always dragged to the little end table that housed my laptop, books and cup of tea, and look through the open window across the courtyard.  Quiet.  Calm.  I often found myself looking up at the building across the courtyard from my bloc at a single window.  It was the balcony and living room window of an apartment much higher up than mine - one room, full of golden light, and the silhouette of a single hanging plant.  I never met the people who lived there.  I never even saw their shadow.  But inexplicably, gazing at that light, that glow in the window gave me comfort.  It made me feel just that much less alone.  I would look up at the light without a thought and it would help me stay calm.  It made me feel like all was right.   A mysterious solace.  

This past weekend, I traveled back to a place that surprised me by how much it felt like home.  As though the place reminded me and woke me up to the person I should be.  The person I am.  I returned to my college town with not a hint of excitement.  Nervous that the worst of my memories would be there to greet me.  That the people I travelled to see, would see the worst in me.  But I was wrong.  In so many ways, I was wrong.  

This place, at once beautiful and unpredictable, full of parts of my life that I didn't think would ever coalesce, was perfect.  Exactly what I needed.  The reminder I needed and the connection I've yearned for.  It was everything I could have remembered and more.  A soothing slap in the face that reminds me that nothing good is done unless you make it so.  

This song is much the same.  Perfect for this moment and this day - as the wind swirls and the leaves dance through the sky, as robins puff their feathers seeking the warmth of a day that will not come to them.  It is the perfect song for this moment, this place in my life.  Reminding me of all the things I thought were once done, that turn out to be forever.  I am calm and content.  With no need to look outside for the light.  It is already here.  

The Best of Days


I've raised a very particular kitten.  She is moody and choosy, and much to my chagrin, she rarely enjoys a snuggle-fest anymore.  These moments, these rare moments when kitten decides to cuddle, these are the moments that make it all worthwhile.  


PS... I know it's lame to use another's kitten photo here... but when kitten decides to snuggle, disturbing her to grab the camera is perhaps the worst idea ever.  But this little lovey is a dead ringer for my Amelie-Melo.  So I don't feel too bad.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Much Ado...


Sometimes we procrastinate.  We allow the essays to build up and soon we realize the quarter's end is upon us and there is no time for anything else but grading said essays.  It is a bleak time in this house.  

Think good thoughts, friends.  Think good thoughts.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When I Grow Up...


"I may still not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that someday I want to live in a house filled with books and travel souvenirs.  And the walls that aren't covered in bookshelves will be covered with photos of my family and friends.  
When I leave the house I will be going to a job I love, and I'll return to a person I love... that's the dream I 'm working on."  
- Amber Morely

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's A Schooner!


"Write it on your heart, that every day is the best day of the year."  
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today I... 

*  Found that certain something I've been looking for.  Only to realize I didn't really need it after all.  
*  Tore a hole in one of my most favorite skirts. 
*  Erased 3 hours worth of work with one foul keystroke. 
*  Made a child cry - loud, blubbering, hands on face, wailing, snot-filled tears.  
*  Felt disappointment at every turn.  Towards everyone.  Including myself. 
*  Was confused more often than I understood. 
*  Identified the funk in my classroom:  stale, used cat litter.  And formaldehyde-flavored frog.  Have not yet found the source of said funk. 
*  Slipped on a rogue pen cap and nearly flew face first down a flight of stairs.  Nearly. 
*  Dropped my lunch on the floor.  
*  Forgot to stock the classroom fridge with Diet Coke.  (!!)
*  Missed three messages from friends I'm dying to talk to.  
*  Stepped on my kitten and nearly cried myself. 
*  Ate a fantastic dinner with family. 
*  Burned off calories, frustration and rage on the treadmill. 
*  Cuddled with the kitten, who has, it seems, forgiven me for my indiscretions.  For now.  
*  Fondly remembered spending evenings at Kinko's helping a high school friend create a "Where's Ralph Waldo" poster, complete with R.W.E. in stripe-y scarf, sweater, and stocking hat. 

*  Realized that maybe that's the point, after all.  Maybe finding Ralph Waldo is just as difficult as finding the truth in his words.  Sometimes it's easy, too.  But never when you need it.  When you need it, you have to squint, get uncomfortable, relax your eyes and realize that it's been right in front of you all along.   After all, life is at it's core one giant Magic Eye poster.  Sometimes the harder you look for it, the more illusive it is.    
Schooner...  Sailboat...  Whatever.  

28. Explore A New City Without A Plan

Weekend adventures in Seattle are for weddings, forgetting cameras, exploring new places, walking huge hills, eating amazing food, drinking fresh coffee, taking beautiful pictures and having not a care in the world.  Ferry rides, listening to favorite podcasts taped just down the street, laughing in the park, locally grown food, world-renowned artistry and quiet rejuvenation.  Solitary but blissful.   The perfect way to explore.   










Saturday, September 8, 2012

When I Rule the World... 11 Things

1.  Doughnuts will be discovered as the miracle of all miracle foods - delightful and delicious, with the added perk of aiding in weight loss and mental clarity.



2.  HBO will be available for purchase without also purchasing the entirety of your cable provider's offerings.  It will cost less than your car payment.  




3.  Bluegrass, jazz, blues and soul will reemerge at the forefront of the popular music scene.



4.  "Make do, mend, or do without" will be the new mantra for the 21st century.



5.  Long-range train travel will become wildly popular, efficient and affordable in America.  Platzkart will force strangers to bond over salted fish, vodka, black bread, and canned tomatoes.  The world will become a better place.

6.  MTV will go back to playing music.  ...what a concept.



7.  Doctors will prescribe appointments with playgrounds and swings before they suggest Prosac and Xanex.  Adults will return to the swings, teeter-totters, and merry-go-rounds of their childhoods with tenacity and joy, unafraid of anything except missing the moment.



8.  There will always be time for a leisurely cup of coffee or tea in the morning, yoga in the afternoon, a good book and easy conversation in the evening.




9.  Savage Love will be required listening.  We will all strive to become a wee bit more GGG.  We will always address new relationships with campsite mentality.




10.  Every man, woman and child will learn the old fashioned art of survival - gardening, sewing, animal husbandry, cooking, cleaning, around-the-house handiness, and self-motivated-non-electronic entertainment.




11.  Every celebration worth its salt will conclude with a colossal showing of ear-shattering, awe-inspiring fireworks.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fired Up & Proud As Hell

I find myself questioning a lot these days.  Wondering what the future will hold.  What the leaders of the past - inspirations to generations long past their passing - would have to say to us.  Our generation.  Our problems.  Our selfishness.  Our greed.  

But tonight, I do not question.  Tonight, I am not only pumped up, inspired and excited about the future - I am proud of who we are.  The things we, as a people,  have worked hard for, come together for, struggled for, fought for.


Say what you will for modern politics.  Say what you will for the huge and ever-growing gaps between the haves and the have-nots.  The believers and the non-believers.  The blacks, the whites, the gays, the straights and every shade, every shape and every facet of humanity that comes in between.  Tonight, I care less about the specific words that have been said or who has uttered them, then I do about the energy and the passion and the ferocity with which they have been said.


Pacification is not the way of inspiration.  It is not the way of change.  It is not the way of motivation or organization or immobilization.  To pacify is to call a cease fire.  These are not times to sit back, get comfortable and enjoy the ride.  It's time to get energized.  It is the time to assemble, stand up for what you believe and make your voice heard.


We are the torches of new generations.  We cannot afford to allow ourselves to go out.








Tonight, I am fired up.  Tonight, I am proud as hell.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Unalienable Truth


 Nothing, and I mean nothing, smells as sweet as a kitten in the sunshine.  

Unlock


What a good weekend to unlock the bad habits that close our hearts and minds.  To rediscover the joys we've walked away from - pretending we were too old to embrace.  To do what makes us happy - even if it is all by ourselves.  To allow ourselves to catch the excitement from the people around us - to snatch it up and hold it close.  To share meals with friends and family.  To catch sunbeams with kittens.  To share in music and art and film.  To open the gates to whatever the future may hold.  

Unlock the doors.  Throw away the keys.  Smile at the stars and start anew.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle


A conversation left unsaid... for better or worse:  

You got my name wrong.  In the hallway.  Above the door to my classroom.  The plaques every teacher has.  It's a little thing.  One letter off.  This is not a serious deal.  
I've spent the past five years trying to get kids to learn the difference between Miss, Ms., and Mrs.  Trying to explain,  to get them to pay attention to those little details.  And my students now know the difference.  They read the signs.  And as a result, they've been calling me by the wrong name.    

And it really bothers me.  It doesn't bother me so much that the mistake was made.  No, that one additional letter is often assumed when a woman of 'a certain age' - ie. my - age enters a room.  People assume I'm married.  And that's ok.  I'd probably assume I was married, too.    
But we had that conversation.  Face to face.  Are you a Miss, a Ms. or a Mrs?  It happened together.  You wrote it down.  I had to sign off on it.  But ok.  The mistake was made.  It's not the end of the world.  

However.  On the worst day yet, when the sign appeared and it was wrong, it did bother me.  It bothered me a lot.  In a place where nothing is familiar, no one knows who I am, my history, my strengths or weaknesses and I find myself clinging to the things I know, the things that make me feel like me, that make me feel like I'm not a stranger in this strange new land.  That was the day you made it worse.  
The situation is not a deal.  It's excusable.  It's correctable.  But your response?  

"Well, maybe if you got a life and could land a man, I wouldn't have to order a new sign."    

Inexcusable.    

I don't care if you meant it as a joke, if you did it with a smile on your face and a glimmer in your eye.  I don't particularly find it funny.  I know you were irritated, that you don't really want to order a new sign. That you lost or forgot or misread your own handwriting and felt the urge to ask someone else who knows nothing about me for clarification.  That clarification was wrong.  

Let's start with a new sign.  I'll continue to correct my students.  To reintroduce myself as the woman I actually am - the woman I'm proud to be.  And perhaps one day you'll look at me and be able to see beyond an empty ring finger.  And maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to share a space where we can both turn around, look each other in the eye, and see each other for who and what we really are.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

What It Represents...

I have a love-hate relationship with my new classroom.  My classroom is my abode.  It is my castle.   But this time around - in this new school, in this new classroom...  I'm not quite sure about it...   I am uncomfortable.  It has so many challenges - forcing me to break grooves that have really worked for me.  It is a constant reminder of what I have left behind and all the challenges that go along with that.  The spaces.  The people.  The spirit.  The work.  It's all different.  It's constantly thrust in my face as I wander the halls alone, bang and bruise my hips into hard corners of platforms and tables that serve an earlier purpose, when I can't see the door or get to the phone on time or have to disappear behind the support beam that holds the 50 year old ceiling above my head during class.  It is, at times, an overwhelming,  powerfully marginalizing, and isolating experience.  

And yet I'm also very proud of what I've created in this silly room.  So full of  contradictions.  It's bright and dank.  It has a wall of windows and is absolutely huge.  It's an old science room with built in platform sinks, gas hook ups and random rough-ins  in the walls.  The floor is cracking and crumbling up toward the ceiling,  the chairs stick to the wax on the floor from the humidity, and every now and again the smell of dissected frog wafts about the room like a thick fog.   It isn't the warm, inviting literary space I wanted to create.   Despite my best efforts, it still feels a bit cave-like to me.  But cave or not... it's mine.  And that's a start.  


So many little moments.   Little spaces that oooze me.  Oooze who I am and where I've come from.   Special items of big and little consequence; from the lava lamp my grandmother gave to me when I was 15 years old, to the lone surviving post-it from an adoring student/teacher prank.   So many memories of so many places and people that, when put together, feel rather special, indeed.   






















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