Dec 30 2011

dear me…
{reverb11 – day 30}


Write a letter to yourself about how you would like your life to be
different at this time next year.


savor every first sip.


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Dec 28 2011

five things…
{reverb11 – day 28}


Take today to jot down five memories that
you would like to never forget about 2011



two days after george died, i walked outside looking for his naughty kitten brother, late, in the dark. i picked a pink flower from the cosmo plant standing tall in the night and made my way down the driveway to the spot where we found him. i found it easily, although i could see nothing. the stone we placed as his marker somehow reflected just enough light to guide me to it. i stood there, crying in the black warmth that is a july night and bent down to place a single bloom on the darkest spot, the stain of his blood. i stood there and let the breeze play over my bare legs, listening.  holding my breath. hoping. of course, he was not there, and i do not believe in ghosts. when i turned to go back inside, there were fireflies everywhere, dancing in the darkness like stars.


i ran the uphill half of my path and it was a good run, i felt strong and sated, alive and oh so happy to be running again. it was a warm day, warmer than it should have been in autumn, but those have always been my favorite running conditions, and this day was almost perfect. no one else was on the path, it was me and the trees and the sun and the rhythmic sound of my own breath filled my head with a meditative calm. dappled shade, bright light, dappled shade, the pattern of my steps, the counting off of miles, the sweat that glistened as it washed away the stress. when i stopped to cool down and walk the last half mile, i heard a bird call that i recognized somewhere in the recesses of my mind, but at first, could not exactly place. And then i saw one, and then another, and then a flock. cedar waxwings, perched on branches like so many leaves. i kept walking quietly, smiling loudly.


an august afternoon in which i played hooky, sneaking out to sit in the sun with a book and a glass of wine, a journal and a pencil, words flying off my fingers like sparks. then sitting quietly, the sun on my face, birds chirping in the background, red-winged blackbirds especially, complaining of my presence. hot, hot sun, flowers everywhere, bugs and beetles and dragonflies buzzing all around, bare feet and the trickle of sweat. time hung in the air with nowhere to go, no place to be but there, in that moment, absorbing light and sound and heat and just a tiny bit of memory from carefree childhood summers.


a winter that would not end, hibernation becoming stir-crazy, cabin fever becoming nothing but the desire to feel the sun upon my skin. darkness that became too dark, all promises of light, broken. snow that piled on top of snow, no longer pretty and glittery and wondrous, just heavy and grey. grey on grey on grey. endless days of grey. days that turned to weeks and then months. the lack of contrast is what drives you mad.


an almost invisible shift in the night. hours spent with eyes wide open, the moon rap-tapping on dirty panes, a signal to the loneliness that is driven by insomnia. sighs and repositioning, sighs and thoughts of getting out of bed to do something, anything, at least write. imaginary whispers that say nothing, but keep me straining to hear. words that walk their way down empty hallways, peeking through keyholes, checking for just the right fit. this room is filled with sounds of love. this room is filled with heartbeats and the echoes of sobs. this room has stories of its own to tell. this room is more awake than i am.



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Dec 22 2011

{reverb11 – day 22}


If you could quit your day job and your quality of life
wouldn’t change, what would you do?







{reverb11} check it out here

Dec 21 2011

{reverb11 – day 21}



What did you believe in this year?


i believe

in smiles and broken hearts

in dancing in the moon circus

in hope

in today

in walking the path less traveled

in forgiveness

that i know nothing

in love

in summer and tomatoes

in silence

that mountains make me whole

in death

that my garden feeds my soul

that writing feeds my soul

that not all empty spaces are meant to be filled

in looking to the sky

that someday i will soar

there is never enough, there is always too much

normal is just a notion

kindness is the cornerstone of love

you have to pay attention

i prefer questions to answers

in pushing the limits

hemingway is still my favorite writer

hugs are free and also invaluable

life is not supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be lived

i need to stand up and be counted

i occasionally suffer from wiggly spirit

i am surrounded by heroes

that i will always miss george

i will never love mirrors

love doesn’t have to be perfect to survive

my parents are the best

there is both more and less time than you think

i’m a romantic at heart, an idealist by nature
and a purist by design
except sometimes i’m not any of those things
and sometimes i am their opposites

some days are red, some days are blue


i believe that being alive is a gift

i believe that being grateful for every breath you take
is the only way to say thank you

i believe in so much and so little, all at once.


these are all ideas or lines from my posts this year



{reverb11} check it out here

Dec 20 2011

{reverb11 – day 20}


What kind of a friend do you want to be in 2012?


i could be

a better friend

to almost


i know.



i’m going to

sit by this fire

and be a better


to myself.


{reverb11} check it out here

Dec 19 2011

being moved
{reverb11 – day 19}


Being moved.
Tell us about a time this year that you were moved by the generosity of another.



This is a story I wrote earlier this year over at Vision & Verb.
When I read this prompt, this immediately came to mind:

hand me downs

Last week, I went to make pickles with my mom and my 85-year-old friend, Katie. It was a good day, we prepared the cucumbers and after we had put them on ice, we had three hours to spend together chatting and eating pie and catching up.

We talked of things that need fixing, people who are ill, people Katie’s age who are getting remarried, neighbors and neighborhoods that have changed, children and grandchildren and times that no one can keep up with. We talked of life.

At one point, Katie brought up the fact that she is trying to clear things out of her house, to prepare for the future that none of us wants to think or talk about.

Gradually, she has begun to give things away, clean up, hoe out, pare down. She is 85 and still lives on her own in the house she and her husband lived in, despite the fact that she is on crutches and, if her doctor could get his way, she would be in a wheelchair. But she’s a fighter, and refuses to give in to that, refuses to move into any sort of senior living facility, refuses to give up her independence.

From what I can tell, she lives in constant pain, one of her hips is basically deteriorating, bit by bit. And so, with the help of family and friends that love her, she gets by on her own. I have to say, I admire her tenacity.

As we sat there, chatting, she told us the story of how she wanted to pass her “good” china on to her daughter-in-law, and how this offer was promptly refused because the dishes, being antique porcelain rimmed with gold, have to be washed by hand. Imagine that! She had then tried to offer them to her granddaughters with the same reply.

We continued on with our conversation, catching up on all the news as the afternoon rolled by.

When it came time to move onto the next step, the mixing of the brine, we got up to gather the ingredients. While we were standing at the counter Katie opened a cupboard door and said, “See, there they are. What am I going to do with all these dishes?”

I looked at her and I said, “Well, I don’t have a dishwasher…”

And she started to cry, saying that she had wanted to offer them to me, but she didn’t know if I would want them, either.

After assuring her that I would love them, would in fact, cherish them, we gathered up boxes and newspaper and began packing them up, a twelve-piece place setting of antique gold-rimmed dishes that I have no idea where to store, but will most definitely love with all my heart.

I have a feeling that each time I use them and have to stand at the sink carefully washing each one by hand, I will have fond memories of a feisty little five-foot-tall woman to put a giant smile on my face.

And that washing these beautiful dishes will always remind me to take very special care of the ones I love.



{reverb11} check it out here

Dec 18 2011

let’s do lunch
{reverb11 – day 18}


If you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be?


well, that’s easy.






{reverb11} check it out here

Dec 17 2011

fear and loathing in perspective
{reverb11 – day 17}


Who or what do you loathe and how have you expressed that in 2011?


There is very little that I actually loathe in this life,
but I will do my best with this one.

Wasting time.
Going to the doctor (see: wasting time)

Terrified of:
Worms. On a phobic level.
Wasting time.

Strongly dislike:
Hearing, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”
(see: going to the doctor)

Bitterness, not in food, in people.
Intolerance. (see: wasting time)

Losing the people that I love.
Losing the ability to run.

Getting up too early.
Getting up too late.
Insomnia. (see: getting up too late)
Mean people.

Pet peeves:
Snoring. (see: insomnia)
Bad grammar, especially my own.
Lukewarm tea water in a restaurant.
The phrase “authentic living.”
(see: if i’m breathing, i’m authentic.)

Violent movies.
Spaghetti. (see: worms)
Anything that looks like worms. (see: spaghetti)

Banes of my existence:
Middle-age spread. (see: losing the ability to run)
To Do Lists.
Reply All.
Paperwork. (see: to do lists)
Loathing. (see: wasting time)



{reverb11} check it out here

Dec 16 2011

he is the hunter
{reverb11 – day 16}


A Community I Love
Online & in real life we’re all part of a multitude of communities.
Tell us about one that moves you.


We also have the crazy one, the old lady, the little girl (who is actually 3x little), and my handsome man.

Yes, I am talking about cats. And yes, I am a crazy cat lady.

This one, the one in the picture, has become king of the castle, just by the fact that he gets to go outside. He rules the roost, or, at the very least, he tries.

He brings me gifts I cannot look at, carnage that makes me cringe, and an indifference that leaves me chasing after his affection. (If you have cats, you know what I mean.)

He’s a vicious killer, a well-trophied hunter, and a sweet doodle bug all at once. I know, I know, I am crazy.

He guards the yard while I work inside, spending my days with the other four kitties as they amble in and out of my attention zone, all unique, all funny, all loved and well-fed and spoiled and snuggled.

He stops in for visits and snacks, and goes right back outside for more hunting. More chasing. More napping. When he doesn’t check in, I get nervous. I check the road, I call his name, I pace.

I know, I know, I am crazy.

There are so many communities I love that I could have written about, my family, my real-life friends, my online friends, so many people that add richness to my life.

But this is how I spend my days, here, alone, with these five cats. (And one crazy dog.) And I almost didn’t write this post about my cats, because I didn’t want to seem like too much of a crazy cat lady.

But I AM a crazy cat lady.

And I’m crazy in love with this cat.




{reverb11} check it out here

Dec 15 2011

teaching moment
{reverb11 – day 15}


Sometimes we find teachers in the most unexpected places.
Who surprised you as a teacher this year,
and what did you learn?


Funny because just yesterday, my 18-years-young niece
taught me a valuable lesson.


I mentioned that someone had upset me by being
bitter and acting in a very un-holidayish manner.

And she said “eh, forget ’em! tis Christmas!
those that anger you, conquer you.”


She’s a very cute wise old soul,
don’t you think?



{reverb11} check it out here