Apr 30 2010

what I keep forgetting
to remember

Days go by, and despite all the times I’ve reminded myself how important it is to stop and smell the roses, I still forget to do it.

I get busy, distracted, bullied by time.

I start out each morning with the best of intentions. I will be mindful of the moments, savor them, revel in them. I will keep my head up, open to the world around me. I will be a better me. I will make sure to spend time with those I love. I will not waste time with worry, or frustration, or anger. I will live life to the fullest.

And some days, I pull it off. I manage to feel that way, at least part of the time. Others days, it is seven o’clock and I am still working,
I have worked all day without looking up, head down, mind wrapped in my own thoughts, what has to be done, how long I have left to do it, how much more I can accomplish before I go to bed. And then it is bedtime and I am too tired to do anything but stare at the ceiling for a few minutes before I drift off to sleep. Too tired to read, even. And I realize that another day has passed in which I forgot to remember…

To literally stop and smell the roses, or lilacs, or lilies, or any other flower that I happen to pass by.

To tell my husband that I love him, and that I appreciate the things he does, like buying groceries.

To take care of myself. To stop and listen to nothing but my own breathing. Even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.

To look up. Outward, outside of myself and the tunnel my brain lives in to see what is going on in the rest of the world.

To be thankful to be alive, grateful for everything I have, happy to be here, in this day, this hour, this moment.

To enjoy the simple things, like washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, meditating on life as I go through the motions.

To eat food that I love, food that is good for me, even if it takes a little longer to prepare.

To sing when my favorite song comes on the radio. To actually turn the radio on.

To connect with my children, even if it is only a text message that says “hello.” To let them know that I love them.

To check in with my parents and my friend who is 84, for no reason.

To find something beautiful, or the beauty in anything.

To forgive: life, myself, those I love, and those I don’t even know.

To focus more on living and less on doing.

To just be.

That’s it.

I just needed a little reminder.

Apr 28 2010

when it snows in april

Because yesterday I woke up and it was snowing, and because it is still (just barely) National Poetry Month, and because I read through some of my old poems last night—really, really old, as in over 20-years-ago old, and because some of them made me smile and some of them made me cringe and some of them made me sing and some of them brought tears to my eyes, here is one, from the me who was me, twenty years ago.

Because I’ve spent a lot of time wondering lately, if I’m that me, or this me, or some other me that falls somewhere in between…


forecast (leavings).

in the needle i used
to repair your cast off laundry
i caught this brief flash
of remembrance:

you were standing
at the counter with your head
tipped back in laughter
(or what passed for laughter at the time)
and i was leaning close
to the side of you
i cherish still,
though it gets farther
away each morning.
we were young,
and vibrant,
ideal in our love and
virtuous, framed against
a backdrop of black
storm clouds.

and then i shuddered, and
moved the memory back a stitch,
and then another, and another,
until you were just a speck
on the hurricane horizon
and i was the wind
that carried you.

Apr 26 2010

getting there

Years ago I planted a little patch of fritillaria beside my back door, because I love the flowers with their checkerboard pattern, and I love the name with its checkerboard sound, and because I am a sucker for words–I fall in love with them. And so this patch of flowers, that only last for a week or two in spring and aren’t stunningly beautiful but rather, interesting, was there for years,
but now there is just this one.

Because my dog, the one we have had for two years, not the one we had before that who knew how to use the paths in my garden, but this one, the one we have now, always, always chooses the path of least resistance, always takes the shortest distance between two points, and this means that the straight line he runs from the back field to our back door goes right through my patch of fritillaria.

And now it is no longer a patch but a path
and there is only just this one,

but how I love its checkerboard pattern

how I love its subtle posture

and how I love, love, love that word.

Apr 24 2010

at what cost, love?

Poor George. The past few days have been a trial. Apparently George was feeling a little bit, well, lovey dovey, shall we say? And went out looking for a little amour… (And lest you think I am irresponsible, I already had the “cure” for what ails him scheduled…but they couldn’t get him in for a few weeks yet.

So two days ago he was gone all day. All day. I usually see him back at home base every couple of hours, so I was starting to get worried. But I also knew he was feeling a little affectionate, so I figured he was out cruising chicks. Which he probably was, but hours went by and I was getting more worried. Finally, at 10 o’clock in the evening he showed up, a little blood on one of his legs but he seemed okay, he didn’t look seriously injured. I figured he had found himself a girl and she wasn’t very happy with his advances.

But. The next morning he wouldn’t get out of his bed. So I picked him up and felt him over and there was a bubble on his stomach. I took him to the vet right away.

I turned out that he has several puncture wounds, one pretty large and deep, right in his “armpit,” several other scrapes and scratches, a muscle injury to his right shoulder, and worst of all, three hernias. Yikes. So all of that is bad enough, and surgery is necessary to fix the hernias, but he also has seriously elevated liver numbers and his potassium level is through the roof. And they can’t figure out why. And surgery under these conditions could result in a heart attack.

So now we must wait, until Monday, to hope that his potassium level goes down. If it doesn’t, we may have to risk the surgery and hope for the best. Usually a potassium level this high indicates heart problems, but he shows no other symptoms of that. They are saying it could just be the result of the muscle trauma, and it may go down as he heals.

Meanwhile, he is confined to a crate in the hopes that his hernias won’t worsen before Monday. And he is not happy about it.

Meanwhile I am worried about him, about what could happen. And, as much as I hate to say it, about how much all of this is going to cost. The vet has already been very generous, and we are so grateful. My sister works there, and they know that George was a stray that just happened to show up, so they are being very kind and giving us reduced prices on everything, but still, it is adding up. All the extra tests, the unknowns.

Which made me start to think about the cost of health care, how hard it is to make these decisions and he is a cat, a cat I’ve only know for a couple of weeks. (But have already grown to love.) What if it were my child, my husband, my parents, and there was no insurance? How do people make these decisions, deal with the cost? How do you say that is too much, when do you say that is too much? You can’t really, can you?

And what happened to George? His injuries don’t add up. If he was shaken or slammed by a dog, his puncture wounds shouldn’t be as clean as they are, they should be jagged. But to have the muscle damage and hernias that he has, it would have taken blunt trauma. And nothing really explains the liver and potassium numbers.

George, your density (destiny) brought you to us. (In case you never saw Back to the Future, that is a reference to George McFly, his namesake.) And we love you, George. And you went looking for love…

And now, as so often happens, you are paying the price.

Get well, George.

Apr 22 2010

dirty hands,
warm heart

I pulled a million dandelions out of my garden yesterday.

Okay, I exaggerate. A tad. But you know what? I enjoyed every minute of it. Not the dandelions themselves, but the work. The labor. The being outside in the sun listening to the birds sing
while breathing in the wonderfully fresh spring air kind of labor.
A labor of love.

My favorite way to spend a day, when I have a whole day to spend, is in my garden. No rushing, no agenda, just me, the earth, the plants, the birds, and perhaps a worm or two thrown in for good measure.

The hours pass silently, the way they will when you are doing something you love. I don’t think about them, clock them, care about them. I don’t spend them worrying about how fast they are flying by, the way I do most days.

I am suspended in garden time like a lazy bumblebee drifting from flower to flower. The sun on my back, a little Joni Mitchell or Ben Webster in the background. And the good, hard work. Simple work. The kind that lets your mind wander where it will, and somehow nudges those wanderings in just the right direction.

Sweating, but not the small stuff. Folding life down into a tiny microcosm, a world that exists just outside my vision most of the time. An ant struggling with a piece of food three times his size. Tree swallows taking turns bringing food to their babies. The sudden hush when a hawk flies over… so quiet that you stop what you are doing without knowing why.

You have to be there to notice these things. In the present. In the moment. This one moment that you only have while you are in it. The young swallows will fly away, soon. The ant will finish his journey and live, or die. The hawk will take something precious to another, but the birds will sing again, continue on.

I am glad I stole those hours. They were worth the extra work that will have to be made up later. They were hours of peace. And quiet. The kind of quiet that lets you listen to yourself, the world around you, the birds in the trees, the rustle of the wind.

The kind of quiet that lets you take it all in and keep it with you.

Until it soars back out as a smile.

Apr 20 2010

on splitting things
down the middle

At times these days, I feel a little bit like I have a split personality. One day I am mrs. mediocrity, the next day I am the blue muse. We are both the same, yet, somehow, we are different.

When I jumped/fell into the land of blog, my plan was to start a blog that would focus on art, my jewelry business, design, etc. And that would be the blue muse. But since I had no clue what I was doing, I decided to first start mrs. mediocrity as a way to figure this whole thing out, my “guinea pig” blog if you will. I also had a feeling I might want a place where I could “ramble” about any topic I felt like. (And obviously, I needed that outlet…)

So I flip and flop between my two voices, both mine, both a little bit someone else’s. Both me, both her. Which her, which day, when do they merge, when do they separate, when do they become their own person?

Do you see what I mean?

No wonder I’m confused…

But I’m not, really. It’s like the difference between your work personality and your home personality. Slightly different, always. How many personalities do we have? How many roles do we play? I am graphic artist, jewelry artist, writer, digital artist, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, female, runner, reader, gardener, knitter, housekeeper, decorator. Not necessarily in that order.

I am all these things. I am me.

Multi-faceted, insanely busy and always looking for more, me.

But there’s also this: I had no clue when I entered this world how many wonderful people I would meet. The friendships I would form. The awe and admiration I would feel for the multitude of talent I would discover. The sense of community, support, and caring. The encouragement. The connection. The camaraderie.

The expansion of my teeny tiny world, the expansion of me.

I also had no clue how much I would fall in love with writing again, and photography. How this would cause me to circle back to my teenage years, when I wanted to be a poet, or a photographer, and wonder why I chose the paths I did. Not that I regret most of them. But the writing and photography part, I do, a little bit. It is weird to come face to face with my teenage self again at age 47. And to recognize that same zit, still on my chin.

Or maybe that’s perfectly normal.

Either way, I am here, home. Inside my 47-year-old body home. Inside my head home. Inside my heart home.

I wonder where I was for all those years?

Yes, I am me.

The same me I was at thirteen.

A vastly different me at 47.

And in so many ways…

I am just like you.

Thank you, for that.


A sincere thank you to everyone who reads and listens and comments and supports. From my heart.

Apr 18 2010

a tiny little slice
of insomnia

You offered, I accepted.

Just a tiny piece, I said, and as is so often the case when you mutter that phrase, you get much more than you actually wanted.

So here I am, dark room, eyes wide open. No that’s not true, eyes closed, mind wide open.

Mindful, no, mind full, off to the races, thoughts circling around the perimeter of my brain, intermingled with worry, frustration, fatigue. Thoughts of sleep you only have when you cannot.

The clock is ticking, no not ticking, it is digital, but the numbers, they keep changing one minute at a time, and that is much, much slower than my thoughts.

The moon peeks through the cracks in the blinds, at this hour brighter than the sun, in my eyes, in my face, and the blinds may be closed, but still, she finds her way in.

I am awake, so very awake, digesting this slice, much larger than what I requested, staring by turns at the ceiling and the inside of my eyelids. Eyes open, I see black. Eyes closed, I see plaid, blue daisies, a bokeh of red and blue dots.

Yes, I am awake and everyone else in the world, my world, is asleep, animals at rest, birds quiet, there may be crickets but the windows are closed, it is silent. I accepted this slice not knowing how it would grow throughout the night. It is 3:30, then 4:00.

And still, I am awake and dawn is tap tap tapping at the corner of my eye and it is no longer night, the moon has run past my window, laughing, and there is the sun who I am not ready for and should be welcoming, entertaining. I hide my head beneath the covers and pretend I can’t hear that knock upon my door.

And then perhaps, one hour, maybe two, of sleep that is not sleep, but eyes closed with mind running, and then eyes open with mind foggy, and day is here, bellyaching, asking why I didn’t let it in. And sitting up, too quickly, I conk my head on the edge of morning because it is here whether I like it or not.

Ready or not.

Here I come.

Apr 16 2010

zen and the art of
ordinary maintenance

I went running yesterday. It’s been a while, my allergies are really kicking my breathing butt these days, so I’ve been laying low in
that department.

But it was great to be out there, the leaves are finally visible, blossoms on the pear trees, apple trees, magnolia. The spring that I’ve been hearing about, from all of you out there in slightly warmer climes, is finally showing its lovely, pretty face.

I started thinking about how this happens to me every year, in early spring I can barely run at all, three miles is a struggle, but by August I will be back up to eight. And then I started thinking about the seasons, the cycles my life runs through…the cycles my run lives through.

And then, because I was trying to distract myself from the fact that
I couldn’t breathe, I thought about it a little more… and somehow
it became about laundry.

The way sometimes we are spinning, out of control, can’t stop, can’t get off, can’t see any of the details, just the frenzy.

The way sometimes we are agitated, back and forth, back and forth, not really going anywhere, just swishing around in the same old dirty days.

The way sometimes we let the water wash over us, rinse away the soil and sediment, the dirt and detritus, the very evidence of our humanity.

The way sometimes we are forgotten and sit there growing musty and forlorn, until we pick ourselves up and iron out the wrinkles.

And the way sometimes we are clean and tidy, neat and fresh, calm and fragrant. All stacked up in nicely ordered piles.

Sometimes I am all of the above in a single day.

Sometimes I am one of the above for days on end.

Sometimes it takes months to move on to the next cycle.

But it always happens. One cycle ends. Another begins. It isn’t always the best one, but it is always the next one. And you just have to let it run its course.

Spin through the angst. Wash off the funk. Rinse out the stress.

Fold it all up into neat little packages.

And gently, carefully,

put it away.

Apr 13 2010

the muse at midnight

sits by my door, rapping, whispering, calling

if i step outside i will run i will tarry i will flounder

if i sit here, silent, there will be no song

if i invite her in

she will open my windows

sweep my floor

paint birds on all my mirrors




April is National Poetry Month

Poetry was the first creative love of my life, so I am celebrating by
participating in a Poetry Book Giveaway over at my other blog,
the blue muse.

Stop over and say hello to enter the giveaway.

Apr 12 2010

lessons I’ve learned from
{men} about life

When you’re not at work, have fun. Relax. Stop worrying.

It’s okay to cry about loss, death, or children.

Life is a contest. Every single part of it.

Taking naps is essential to the quality of life.

Dogs are better than people a lot of the time.

Sometimes, being selfish is entirely acceptable.

Even when it hurts, get up and keep running.
Stay in the game. Don’t give up.

Most of the time, it’s okay to be silent.

Good enough is pretty much always good enough.

In the end, it all comes down to bodily functions.

Strength isn’t a muscle, it’s a state of mind.

Having hairy legs keeps you warmer in winter.

Love isn’t wine and roses, it’s whiskey and dandelion.

A fight should only last for five minutes.
After that, it’s time to be friends again.

Work hard, play hard, snore loudly.