Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Come and Gone

Another entire year passed with only two blog posts.  I wonder if I should even continue to have this blog when it obviously gets neglected.  The busyness of my work and my family certainly contributes to the infrequency of posting, but I also wonder if there is still purpose here.

Upon returning tonight, I see there is. If for no one else but myself. I read posts from years ago and marvel that so little has changed or, the very opposite, I read and question, was that really me? And something tells me that whenever we are brave enough to share our story, the world is better for it.

So, as 2013 comes to a close, I have been searching for my new One Little Word. Over the past few years I have selected discover, reach, and courage. Each of those words came to play a significant role in my thinking and feeling for that year, so I wanted to be careful and sincere as I chose the OLW for 2014.  I have decided on cultivate and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about it.  Already it has given me a fresh perspective and made me take some bold steps in new directions.

I love that cultivate combines the optimism of creation with the reality of discipline.  To cultivate requires a plan, a vision for what could be.  It also requires work, the action to move that vision from dream to reality.  There is an earthiness to the word as it connotes nature, gardening, farming, growing something of use and beauty.  And there is also a sense of industry, tools and science being utilized to achieve the best results.

It is also the opposite of neglect.

As I take on this word, I am eager to decide exactly what I want to cultivate in my life, what it will take to make that happen and what it will produce in my life and the lives of others.

Anyone else choosing a One Little Word this year?



Friday, July 19, 2013

Common Core

I watched this YouTube video
all about math and how it weaves
its way into every inch of our lives.
Each moment, turn of a wheel,
turn of a combination 
lock, turn of a head
has a mathematical equation attached, some x to solve for, 
some function.

And my first thought
was whether or not
math could capture the speed
of my veins or the temperature 
of my blush as I think about you.
Could it quantify the cloudiness 
that blurs my logic and leaves
my tongue numb, twisted into quiet?

Could math find a way to make
You next to Me,
like 1 is next to 2?
Adam and Eve.
In the beginning. Maybe
math can make life whole again,
could find a way to fill
the gaps of too many days
between hello 
and too many reasons not to be
1 and 2.

Maybe it's just math that 
keeps us from adding up, 
a theorem of what cannot be.

But even numbers can be imaginary 
and still they find their way to the paper,
find their way to be real, to be seen.

That's not us. We are real,
but no one can see
and we can't say
and words and numbers fail.

But the math of you and me,
of 1 and 2,
takes me back to the start,
counting minutes til
we equal something 
more than the sum
of our parts.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Courage

2013 is going to be my year.  I can feel it.  In my heart, in my breathing, in everything I do, I know this is it.  I have been building toward this year my entire life.  Of course, that's true for every year, right?  every moment?  Each one is the result of all that came before it.  Maybe now I am just incredibly aware of that. And it is terrifying.

So, my One Little Word for 2013 is courage.

Courage reminds me of The Wizard of Oz. The Cowardly Lion seeking courage was always the character who resonated with me.  I had brains, I had heart, and I had home, but courage??  It has eluded me.  And the Lion is me.  I am not a believer in astrology, but for some reason, my Leo sign always felt like a perfect fit. I always thought it was the lion's mane, since I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with my hair.  But I think it is also that the lion is the King.  My name actually means, "crowned one." I want to be a leader, I want to be the one in charge.  I want others to be safe and strong in my care. But deep inside, I am a coward.

I fear consequences.  I fear losing. I fear hurting people I love and even more, I fear being disliked because I have hurt them. I fear making mistakes and giving someone ammunition to tear me down and expose me for the fraud I am.  For all my big talk, I feel any bravery others might see in me is a facade.

But no more.  This year, the fear will be quieted and the courage will guide me.  I know the Wizard can't give it to me, but just like the Cowardly Lion, I will find it in my relationships with the people I love, the people who inspire me and probably, the people who oppose me.  My courage will come from my conscious daily choice to live my life informed by wisdom and hope rather than fear and inauthenticity.

In 2013, I am going to live with the courage it takes to be exactly who I am.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Shapeshifting

Lots going on lately; sometimes too much for words to contain. But I do have a poem to share. Hope you all are well.

Shapeshifting

My sons pretend they are
shapeshifters, bodies morphing
for purposes of good or evil.
Boy becomes dragon becomes
bird of prey -- fire-breathing
becomes feathered danger.

And I wonder
what shape I would choose,
how my heart might grow
stronger, my arms to wings.

And I wonder
what shape might move me
closer to being yours.

But make-believe only
makes my featherless arms
more heavy and my heart
weaker by its wanting.

And the fire burns my insides,
because I cannot breathe
a word of this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some Poems to Share

So, I fell off the Slice of Life Train, and thought I would get back into gear with National Poetry Month.  Last year, I completed the Slice of Life Challenge in March AND NaPoWriMo in April.  Consistency has not been my strength, in terms of writing, this year.  But sincerity has.  I am worrying less about response and more about speaking my truth.  So, even though I have not written a poem every day this month, I do have a few to share.

List
It would take a list
to tell you what I love
a list of names
of landmarks
of lost and found
It would take a list
to tell you what i love about
moments that melted time
like when your hand and mine
rested on a common countertop
and we laughed at an inside joke
and just for that half-second I saw
your eyes stop and and soften
and i knew that you
had a list, too.

Annotation
Sometimes I want to mark you
like a book,
drag my hot pink highlighter
right across your mouth
and in your margins,
scrawl a world like
"remember" or ask
"why?"
I would underline your eyes,
comment on your fingers
and before I was done,
I would certainly circle
your heart over and over
until my pen wore away
your skin (just a bit)
and the scar might make
you remember me.

My Faults

It's all my fault
The leaves falling fast
The moon's final phase
The way the days

Never seem to last
It's all my fault
Because I believed you
Thought I had to

If you were mine
If you and I
Were tied like twine
Knotted into one mess

That would always hold
But you never were
Mine or even yours
Earthquakes have no warning

Fault lines are pretend
Until they part ways
So I blame myself
Name myself the creator

Of the day’s end
The fall into forever
Crack in the earth
Birth of our demise

Before we were we
I am the red line
Thin on the map
Miles wide across landscape

I swallowed your lies
The fault is mine. 


When I Am Supposed to be Listening to You Speak

I think about your hands,
what they hold :
the remote control,
cold bottle of beer,
the doorknob for a moment too long,
the steering wheel when all you want to do
is drive,
the ballpoint pen when all you want to do
is write. 

I think about your hands,
what they hold:
a family together
you back
up your promises
down a job
everything in your fist
but not too tight
you let it breathe until it lights 
from your palm
free, but without 
the home of you, I think.

About your hands, 
They hold. 


Word Lover

I love the language
like you
the language you lean on
to let me know something I
shouldn't, the language you
let me lick from the space between us
I love the language you leave
inside your mouth
for as long as you can
until it becomes too much
for your tongue
and the only relief is writing it down
whispering it into text, tiny letters
that tell me tell me tell me,
"I love the language. Like you."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

'Cause I'm Sick SOLSC Day 13

"Can I have some water, Momma?" my five-year-old croaked from his bed.  He had just woken up and I assumed the water request was really just a plea for my attention.  About fifteen minutes later, I heard vomiting in the boys' bathroom.  When I hurried in there, the little guy said, "Told you my belly hurt, Momma." 

"No, sweetie, you asked for water."
 
"Oh yeah, I forgot to say I wanted water 'cause my belly hurt and I was sick."

And so began the day.  I have to give it to Lucas, though.  He isn't a whiner.  He simply tries to make sense of it all.

Can I have cereal, Momma?
No, no milk when you are sick.
Oh, when I am sick, I can't have drinks?
You can drink, but let's stick to water.
Oh, can I have dry cereal then?
Sure.

Five minutes later:

Can I have cereal, Momma?
More cereal?  Maybe you should wait.
Oh, I have to only eat one time when I am sick.
No, but let's give that time to settle.

Thirty minutes later:

Can I have a popsicle, Momma? And cereal?
Just the popsicle, dear.
Oh when I am sick I can only eat one food at a time?

Followed by more questions all day long:

When I am sick, I have to eat slow, Momma?
When I am sick, I can't have jelly, Momma?
When I am sick, I have to only hug, but not kiss, Momma?
Can I dance when I am sick, Momma?
When I am sick, I can't eat all of the popsicles, Momma?
Can I have some more cereal, then, Momma, 'cause I'm sick?

Maybe by the time he is better, he will have this sick thing all figured out. I'm pretty sure that I won't, though.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Cupcakes and the Courthouse (SOLSC Day 9)

We teased Michael today.  We were in the car, discussing the Elliott curse -- surely bestowed upon my husband's Irish ancestors by a peeved leprechaun -- and lamenting light-heartedly about the bad luck we often seem to have.  Michael agreed with our curse conspiracy theory and added that he too had felt the harsh blow of the Elliott bad luck.  Just the other day, he had dropped his cupcake at school and then proceeded to smash it accidentally with the leg of his chair.  We teased him and said that it wasn't bad luck, it was God's way of telling him he didn't need the cupcake.  The five of us laughed and ribbed each other a bit more, making the most of our unplanned drive.

And tonight I realized that my husband and I had made the same mistake as our son.  You see, the drive today was necessitated by a traffic citation that had been oddly processed by a courthouse 90 minutes from us.  The courthouse only gives information through pre-recorded message, so the only way to resolve the traffic citation's mix up was to appear in person. The line at the courthouse ribboned out of the office doors; my husband waited in the line, 25 people ahead of him.  And after the hour long wait, we were back in the car and on our way back home, but with the LA traffic, the return trip took twice as long. 

Hence, our discussion of the Elliott curse.

But we had it all wrong.  This inconvenient, somewhat frustrating, definitely stressful citation situation was not a punishment, but a blessing.  An entire afternoon with all of us together -- the boys brought books to read and for the most part, bickering was absent.  Sunshine spilled over the Spring-worthy blue skies and the
warmth of the afternoon lulled us into a sleepy state.  We teased, but we also laughed and listened and learned.  It was exactly what we needed -- an afternoon of togetherness and a bit of peace.  Today was our smashed cupcake and I thought it was wonderful.