Thursday, January 21, 2010


Why is it you never have a heavy heart or
better yet why is it that you hide it so well?
Do you live in your head full of facts and figures
or are there secrets there just waiting under the surface
for an afternoon in the pool floating
when floating there, your mouth will be close to my ear
and you'll be the merman I drag from the water
and hold in my arms and you'll tell me the secrets of the sea
and I'll tell I'm afraid to be bold in a world that never
appreciates anything bold in a woman

Maybe we'll just to go the sea and you can take me
to the bottom of the ocean and there
we will be this mercouple swimming happily
We'll leave a note, something cryptic about love
and desire and adventure
We'll mention we'll be back when we're done
when we are done having deep sea picnics listening
to the symphony on a coral reef
when we are done dancing under the bright moon
when you finally get around to singing me that song

Can you fill a lifetime of kisses in an afternoon floating?
Love is never forever
someone always dies or leaves or falls right out
I've never read a happy ending to a love story
Imagine finding a man who can hold his breath for days
in very wet conditions only to have him eaten by a shark
Even in the time of cholera in the love of it
he waited and waited and waited and we all waited
we all waited for him, Marquez's broken-hearted warrior
to hold her in his arms
I can't wait 50 years, I'm not sure I can wait 50 days
especially in very damp conditions

When we are floating and you are holding me
I know I'd give up my legs and live in the sea
and yes I know that in this life there is no promise
there is no love guarantee
Would you want someone to stay if all they were doing
was planning their escape?
The definition of love is freedom and in that free fall
they cling to you, dragging you below the surface
take one last breath and give your heart freely
say it first, don't hesitate you may not get another chance
the sharks are circling today you see
and I can hear the man say
"We need a bigger boat."
and the worst you will hear is nothing
say it, whisper it, take his hand in your hand
and draw the letters in his palm
I Love You, say it quickly, say it slowly, say you'll
do it just a little even when he knows you are a girl
who can't love anything just a little

Listen to the rules, nod and know he'll break them first
if you are clever and if you hold back just a little
and give him the space, he'll find you
under the conk shell, your heart leaving a stain on the sand
leaving a hole in your chest
because I have to tell you this, lean on me and listen closely
there is only one you
there is no reason for you to worry
there is no pain that could replace the moment he pushes
and you push back and he owns you for a few brief moments
dance at the prom, say yes just this one time,
smile and know that if you jump, the parachute will open
as it always does
you will land on the ground
and the fall won't kill you
in fact it may just save you

Today I am a fool for love
love's devotee
The vessel of hope, the ever fragile glass
vessel of living thing
is beating in my chest and I can feel it
down to my little toe
coursing with thoughts of only you
This is not a surprise to the you of my heart
the ever constant you
this is to you, the gentle reader
the one who wonders of love's desperate call
will it knock on your door and drag you to the sea?
I can tell you that when i was sure that was impossible
when there was no tiny bottle on my beach
there was a mighty wind and suddenly I was pulled under the toe
and I was a cynic and just as I was sure this heart of stone
would pull me under for good
I finally found a boy who could swim


Write someone you love a poem today or paint a fish or sing a song on the lawn in the ice. Tell someone you are out there in the world just wandering and wondering and swimming. It works. I am full of hope for all of us today.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Post Cards

How could anyone throw away a post card? Seriously? I have a box of them and I have another few boxes of very old post cards I find at antique shops or festivals. Some of them date back to the late 1800's when people didn't need an address to write to someone, they wrote the name of someone they loved, someone they missed and the city. Reading these old post cards is like being voyeur into someone's life, tiny glimpses and getting to wonder about the rest and oh how I love to wonder.

You never just know when you will find an old post card that says something that touches you. Years ago I found a post card that was written to an Ida from a Tilly, written so long ago in very shaky writing the front of the card seeming to be an affectionate greeting, more like a Valentine and it caught my eye. Were these two women lovers at one time? Yes even women were lovers in the 1800's, keep in mind men were far bigger assholes then than they even are now. Were they sisters? Best Friends? I have the world's Best Friend so if they were best friends hers was just average at best. Why were they separated and was this a casual note of some thought or was missing her too much for this day and she had to run out and get a card and do the only thing you could do in the 1800's, write a post card. The mailman could have read it, her husband maybe as it sat in the mail box. There was little privacy with a post card so if you were sending a secret message it would have to be between the lines. I miss you, could have been I want you. I miss you could have been, when are you book the ticket to get here. One never knows. Friends have a secret language. I could tell my best friend anything and she knows there are five or six ways to read it. "Oh sure" is seldom good and all is good here, may not be.

I found a set of postcards once a husband building a railroad across the country, all the cards sent to his wife, his family telling them how he was. Never in the hundreds of cards did I find one back from her. He didnt' save them, couldn't, no room but she held hers as women hold anything. I tell men all the time its not that you send flowers, its what you have them put on the card. When you are peeling back the pretty plastic and untie the ribbon, when you've admired the flowers, all the colors and the smell you look for the card. Why did he send them? What did he want to tell you? Make it profound. "I want my tulips to touch your tulips." was a favorite. I've kept them all and the really wonderful cards I keep close to me, close to my heart because those represented time spent being loved, being thought of and all that.

The saddest card I found in Wilmington near the lake house at a little antique store. It was an old old valentine post card. The Victorians made these wonderful in colors of red and blue so vibrant you loved the card maybe even more than the person you were sending them to and it read "I wish you still loved me." From Michel to an Ada Mae. I thought of her, how she would be either irritated or saddened to get this card. I wondered why she kept it and what others thought when she died and they went through her things and found it there. Did she really stop loving Michael or did Michael just need to hear that so he could get on with his life? Did someone else love Michael? Oh the wonder of it all. Did they meet every spring and make love for a few days in some motel overlooking the river? Wonder, more wonder. Finally, did she just have enough and say, "I don't love you anymore." Women say these things to avoid heartache. Women say many things to keep their heart from breaking. He still missed her, maybe he always did.

I knew a man once, I know a man who had an affair with a woman he worked with. His wife a lovely, kind, sweet woman was beautiful but a little demanding and a smidge sarcastic, not always so kind. He met his lover at the office and although she wasn't his ideal woman in a few ways they started this torrid affair meeting at her apartment not far from his office a few days a week. He found love there, high in the sky over looking the city gridlock. He lived for those afternoons of bliss, pure bliss. Years into this she asked quietly over one of these lunches if he'd leave her, his wife, if they would ever imagine, wonder even about being this happy all the time. She did make him happy. He didn't give her an answer. Now this is difficult. Do you give someone the answer they want to hear, to shut them up for a few more afternoons like this? Or do you spit out the truth and its over, just over. He let her wonder. A few weeks later he gets to work, looks for her, no answer. He goes to find her at her desk, its empty. He wanders over to human resources and she's gone turned in a resignation weeks ago and ask that the situation be very quiet, very quiet indeed. In a panic he goes to her apartment and the staff there is cleaning the carpet, not a piece of furniture to be found and of course no forwarding address. Such is life. Such is love. He looked for her, he did, I believe that he did by the way he tells the story, the shaky noise in his voice when he spits out the sounds it takes to say her name. She was gone though, she wanted to be gone, nowhere to send a valentine saying "I wish you still loved me."

I love heart shaped boxes and we are approaching the season of love. Anything can happen at Valentine's day, anything. The bossy republican tells me that this is the mega holiday for me, more important than birthdays (which I hate), christmas (which I'm not fond of), easter (cake anyone?) and even the fourth of july (the south side of chicago sounds like beirut for 3 weeks during this season of kaboom) all together. He's right. I have high expectations for a lover, for a the possibility of it all and dont we all? It's those little special romantic things we cling to, us romantics when we are looking for "just" the right pair of earrings and you know you left them in the gold heart shaped boxes on the bookshelf in my room, the one I have saved because I love chocolates in those little boxes and because when he told me the story about the girl who disappeared he seemed so sad.

Find some way, some how to tell someone you love them or think of them fondly. Write an email, write a poem, find a poem that says just what you want to say and send it off. Read a love letter you haven't read in awhile to inspire you and if you dont have one to read KNOW that it's because you haven't sent one. Love too hard, let's make this the season of trying.


A Best Friend Poem


So while talking to The Best Friend
she's always THE not a and she's always mine
I asked her for a word, something
that's been floating through that oh so serious
sometimes and never serious about anything
other times head of hers

Through the gray matter that I often
describe as a tiny mouse on a rollercoaster
in the dark, space mountain, just the screaming
just the thrill of the ride and then
"Hey Buster, get out, you're done, get your shoes
the ride's over."

She thinks of this word because thinking is what she does
she ponders, turns it around, tries it on over and over
if you buy a pair of shoes and you haven't walked down
the shoe aisle a few times turning this way and that
those shoes will never work
they will be the shoes you didn't think about just enough

So she's thinking in my ear and finally
"Ok, I've chosen my word, ya ready?"
Levity, because of the ity
and because of the lightness and wonder

So this is a poem about Sunday mornings
and about Best Friends and about sipping tea
and talking of nothing ordinary
Make a new friend, let me show you how
Don't be mad when he doesn't call
I think I'll make chicken soup today
and let's have more levity

Let's not make the world's problems ours
"Do you think the chicken will just march here
and offer up it's tender life on the altar of my stove?"
Let's not create any monsters today
I don't have a broom long enough to kill them
Let's not carry any burden we don't have to carry
because tomorrow is a holiday
and on holidays we don't need the baggage

MLK had a dream
he stood there, talked about it
he took them from Martin Luther she reminds me now
repackaged them
and sold them to us over again
and we believed cause sometimes
you just want to believe and if you believe hard enough
they turn it into a holiday
and you get the day off
to goof off, look for shoes, dance around in your panties
listen to madonna

His dream turns into ours
a few stolen hours of time
when time is kicking your ass over and over again
and when it does
when you are sure your boobs will be even flatter tomorrow
when you're looking for a gray hair somewhere
and you dont have to look too far
when it's raining and she opens the patio doors
so you can hear it rain there
so you can hear a piece of his life
here in your house
where the little white kitten
has taken up residence in my robe
and I'm not sure I am ready to move him
or myself
just yet

Call your best friend. If you dont have one, make one. Call someone you love, find them, touch them, have lunch with them and I will be envious of you for a few moments because I miss my best friend today enough to write a poem, call her 10 times, send her a box of tea bags, tell her I love her a few times. Take care of you.


Saturday, January 16, 2010


When I want to feel 10 again I drink Orange Crush
because it makes my tongue orange and it
tickles my throat
like laughing with my Best Friend
still tickles my heart

The itsy bitsy spider crawled up
the water spout
a crush came to kiss him
and washed that spider out
Spiders live their life hungry
and so do I
Where is the more
where is the why
I hit the mark today
but there has to be more
If I rewrote the calendar
and added more time would that time be mine?

I know exactly how many heart beats
there are between noon and 5 every day
I know because I count them
as my bruised heart crushes the blood
this way and that

Then there's not a noise
not a movement that changes what it is
the crush
the grapes under our feet turn from fruit to wine
and it's easy to get drunk with a stranger
and for a brief of time he is mine
because a crush is not sober
by definition you have to be drunk
you have to wear the straight jacket
or you have to be very sleepy
Say anything you want right now
the stars will keep the secret
it's late late late
and I won't remind you what you've said

A crush is not a romance it's Emily's thing
with feathers that sits perched on your soul
knowing, with little bird eyes
that it will never be enough
until he says just the right thing
at just the right moment
and you hear it with a tender ear
and a less than cynical soul

Love is time tested, a crush is momentary
you take it minute by minute while
God crushes time in your head and the
in between times pass slower
than the watched teapot
and sometimes all that's left is the
residue at the bottom of your tea cup

Witches can read those leaves, those oils
and tell you your future
just as daisies do when you pull those petals loose
does he?
does he not?
will he?
is he brave?
and if he is, am I?

Did he linger to think of me today
as I wondered of him?
Do I dare ask the question or just let it sit
on my sugary lips
Yes, I've eaten cake
and today I'd trade a bucket of butter cream icing
for one smoke signal of desire

Hell, Emily died crushing
Oh sure he was coming in the fall
"Kiss him quickly!" I wanted to shout
into my book of collected Emilyisms
kiss him and let that kiss tell you
if his beating instrument of pain
whispers your name
then take him home and make him
a pot of goulash
and tell him in tiny tiny whispers
that you love him just a little

And even when you know three minutes
before he's gone that you'll miss him
don't mention it
don't leave any evidence
of any kind
rip up the notes
burn them
be brave
be one of D H Lawrence's Wild Things
choke back the tears
ask for no pity
be the bird fallen from it's perch
be cold because men love cold

And when you are out there alone wondering
and he's off doing what "off" people do
believing you are the one off
you, the girl full of love and hope
and nature and paints and flowers
You're the silly waiting girl
the last check mark on the list
the "oh yeah, her"

Then one day when the storm has passed
when the sky is so blue
you can't think of anything but blue sky
and the sparkle in a stranger's eye
as he smiles slowly at you
somewhere, somewhere far away
the last crush is wondering what about that girl
the blond girl with butterflies in her hair
and that oh so pleasing smile
where did the wind carry her affections?

Oh that affection? It's carrying kites
red kites with whispered agnst
Oh my sweet friend whisper into this thing
that will fly into the air
all your meanderings
all the things you wish he'd heard
those moments when you pushed the world away
and patted the seat next to you
in a knowing manner and there simply was no reply
we'll fill this kite with such thoughts
and send it airborne and when it is a red spot
in the blue blue sky
the bluest sky on a Spring Day
we'll cut the string and laugh a little
on a rocky shore near Edinboro


Best Friend and I seldom crush at the same time. Well lately we have been. It's kinda funny, we hurriedly tell the other what the day was like wondering and then we complain a little and then wax poetic. She helped me write the poem, her inspiration in my ear. I worked it for a few hours, leaving to do some other musings, to start a painting to figure out my life. Then while we are talking the phone rings a few times and finally I answer it, "WHAT WHAT WHAT?" It's Richie from school just checking in and I put him on speaker phone with the two of us for awhile. He sounds fine, I have to go I am being a poet and I like nothing more than being a poet.

I was at the market today finding tea and oh the tea I found. If you haven't tried back currant tea you should and I know where to find it so if you dont let me know. I found tangerine tea, apple tea without cinnamon, blueberry tea and some fine looking papaya tea. The phone rang two stores ago when I was buying a new vacuum, (mine blew up seriously a giant cloud of dust) and I carried her with me to the market like having her next to me rather than in my ear. She had been to the eye doctor, off marketing. Had I heard from my crush today? No. Had she heard from hers? Hell no. Terrific. I was thinking a crush is like being crushed by a bug sometimes. You don't have the assurances of love you just have the angst and that ever excited feeling of Nancy Wilson singing "the first time on a ferris wheel." The view from up here is so clear and real and all I have is the sense of falling fast. And then the part where she sings "did you do this just to please me?" I am working on not being so pleasing, not so nice. I am working on it.

I read in National Geographic once that spiders spend their whole life hungry, really hungry, starving. I'd rather live loveless, lost in books and paints than to be hungry. I'm just not going to do it, ok maybe for a little longer. When do you know when love is real? When do any of us know? Are you a coward when you don't say it first? A fool when you do?

I am never jealous, it's not an emotion I understand. I don't have green eyes, they are blue blue blue. If someone has something I want, I simply work to get it. I am territorial though and I know I like what is mine close to me but what if something is yours because it's just a part of it? Can you have someone's hand and know you won't have the shoulder? I'm not sure. I'm a work in progress, a flawed child of God, an unfinished painting.

Come away with me in the night
come away with me and I will write you a song
Come away with me on a bus
Come away where they can't touch us with their lies
and I want to walk with you on a cloudy day
in fields where the yellow grass grows knee high
so won't you try to come
come away with me and we'll kiss on a mountain high
come away with me and I'll never stop loving you

That's the element of a crush when it changes isn't it? When it's the decision to come away with me and change it all. A crush can last a week, it can last 20 years and all that keeps its alive is the water and the sugar and late night whispers that change your soul, how you look at the world and certainly how you measure time.

And I want to wake up with the rain falling on a tin room while I am safe in your arms. And all I ask of you is come away with me in the night, come away with me.

Nora Jones

You can live a whole lifetime in one night but only if you are brave and are you brave? Brave girls die once and their best friend makes them tea and takes them kite flying. Coward girls die over and over again wondering. If you leave he will miss you, this is a promise because every man misses a girl who crushes him.


Friday, January 15, 2010


Et je me demande parfois
et je sais l'm dur
mais jai besoin vous pour se tourner vers
quand je suis si aveugle
jai besoin de vous pour se tourner vers
quand je perds la commande
you au sujet de mon ange de guardien
qui emepehe d'entre le froid.


I made up with a friend last night. We had an argument months ago, bitter words, hurt feelings, the whole deal. I wasn't an innocent in this ordeal, let me assure you. I have a short, quick temper at times and my tongue is a deadly tool of destruction.

Making up is the hard part. Swallowing pride can make us feel so little, another thing I do not do well. We weren't close friends, those friends that know each other and wonder about the rest when there's time and is there ever enough time? No. I need 8 more hours in a day and when the world explodes next year, when the calendar ends, when all is a disaster perhaps they will let me develop the next calendar. No worries there, I will put in time for lingering in bed with the kittens in the morning and long lunches with the Best Friend. I will set aside a whole month off no matter where you work or what you do and in that month you get to spend that time any way you like, even alone. They won't ask me, don't get all excited and I won't either.

So we met in the middle somewhere and he said I'm sorry first. That's important. Men should do that no matter what. I know it's not fair but fishing out the particular circumstances of an argument never work and hell I am always right. It's a chick thing. I was relieved. You can't imagine. To pretend someone hasn't hurt your feelings just to make things run smoothly is horrid. It's the elephant in the room, the arm hanging by a thread when you are saying over and over again, "everything is OK here.", it's a nightmare. So he spit it out first and in that I could soften my heart to the situation. I could find something to salvage.

Friendship isn't like family. Family you just accept and get on with it but with Friendship you have to work to find that comfortable position of trust and like and hell even enthusiasm. I have friends I like and adore even but when the world is beating on the door and all you have time for is the ride home and a chat with best friend at midnight (because the world is beating up on her also) then you forget a little what is important to someone, how they hold their heart and stepping on it is like finding a fake mouse one of the kittens leave in my boot. It's a little sign from someone that they were looking for me and for some attention. Being lonely or needing someone isn't a crime and it's not something to be ashamed of.

Best Friend teases me that I can't let go of a bad relationship with someone that I have to revisit it over and over again to try and fix what is broken and make it right and when she's done she just done. I can't even say goodbye at the end of a phone call. I just can't bring myself to say the words, I hate them. Good bye. It's not good, let's just leave it at find me again, or see ya later, or something but goodbye? If you are strong and you are brave and if you have a heart full of forgiveness there's never a goodbye. If you love carefully and strong and if you are someones shield and they are yours, there's more than three strikes, always. Love isn't baseball and my heart isn't keeping score. It can't.

I don't have knock down arguments with people I love. I don't need to win anything. In fact when my sweet nieces are arguing about some silly game for the 100th time I have stopped them to make them apologize. Then my sweet blond niece, who is always determined to win says to me, "Auntie Carrie it's not our fault you don't mind losing at everything." Yes, sometimes I let them win, sometimes I don't care to win and sometimes I am just going through the motions. She's a wise girl but still had to go to bed early for arguing and for her wise tongue.

When you forgive someone their misgivings it makes your heart lighter and today I feel light-hearted a little, the contributing factor to it I suppose is someone just saying I'm sorry.

What do I gotta do to make you love me
what do I gotta do to make you care
what do i do when lightning strikes me
and I wake to find that you're not there
what do I do to make you want me
what do I do to be heard
What do you say when it's all over
and sorry seems to be the hardest word?

When lightning strikes its good to have no bad feelings out there in the world. Pride never gets stuck in your throat and if it does, drink some champagne and wash it down and laugh a little. There was a reason this person who angered you had value in the first place. Finding that value may help you find a piece of yourself again or a piece of God.

Thanks for spending this time with me.


The Secret Life

Secrets. Best Friend holds mine. I try to hold hers. It's how we work. In my head there is a tree house fort where my secrets live and sometimes I go visit them, play for awhile and then go back to the rigors of life. Leave me in a room with someone for a few hours and I will tell you how many secrets they have, where they live in their head not because I am all that perceptive but because someone who keeps their secrets close to their heart can usually have some commonality of spirit with someone else who does.

Best Friend and I were at a family wedding a few years ago. This was a south side of Chicago wedding so there was a lot of alcohol and chatter you won't find on the North shore (thank goodness, not a lot of pretense here). Well I am sitting on one side of Best Friend's Mom and she's on the other side. The pastor is reading the vows and he mentions changing things up in the bedroom (that caught my attention, this may not be a traditional wedding situation) and then he says something about how they will share all their secrets. As though this was a cue from heaven best friend and i lean back together immediately and she says "you hear that?" "Ayup" I said back. and then I add "We are really screwed." I could hear her whisper "Oh god yeah, we're never getting married." All this handled in due time by her mom saying "That's enough girls in a little giggle." We're screwed for sure. I'm not telling ANY MAN ON THIS EARTH all my secrets. They're mine. I worked for them, lived them, waited to live them, keep them, share them with my Best Friend who will tell me the truth without some strange motivation. I don't need the earthquake in my heart and I like to play with smart boys and smart boys are danger. They can perform surgery on your heart when you aren't looking and they won't need a sharp tool they can use your secrets.

"American men are allotted just as many tears as American women. But because we are forbidden to shed them, we die long before women do, with our hearts exploding or our blood pressure rising or our livers eaten away by alcohol because that lake of grief inside us has no outlet. We, men, die because our faces were not watered enough."
— Pat Conroy (Beach Music)

Conroy is one of my favorite writers. He turns his prose into a story and turns you around and around and around and teaches me things about the soul of a man, who he is, who he wants to be and the bridge between the two. That bridge is long and I have often commented that the world rests on a man's shoulder between his neck and his shoulder, oh that lovely line of strength and pain and how I love it.

I was reminded recently when telling someone of secrets that Conroy spoke to me when he wrote of secrets:

I will speak from my memory- my memory- a memory that is all refracting light slanting through prisms and dreams, a shifting, troubled riot of electrons charged with pain and wonder. My memory often seems like a city of exiled poets afire with the astonishment of language, each believing in the integrity of his own witness, each with a separate version of culture and history, and the divine essential fire that is poetry itself. - from the Lords of Discipline

When secrets are of the memory it's because we've held them for awhile and when you hold a secret desire that desire turns into the holy grail and you are left wanting and wondering and wondering in all it's finery isn't real. You can't hold it, play with it and boy do I love to play with it and keep it for your own. This makes your secret huge, almost a hope diamond of sorts that can cut your heart as it turns around in your belly. Sharing it although something of terror can heal your soul, heal all those cuts, make you whole and make that secret seem real and attainable. Pick wisely though, that's my only advice, pick carefully the vessel of hope and
then don't look back, just jump.

Years ago when trapped in a marriage I hated and a life that wasn't what I had charted I read Conroy and he read to me, as he wrote in the Prince of Tides after this amazing affair that changed his life he returned home, as men do and as women do, but I didn't. He wished "At the top the bridge with the stars shining above the harbor, I look to the north and wish again that there were two lives apportioned to every man and woman." He wanted every man and woman to have the life they were fated to live and the secret life "that sustained him now." Even though he wasn't with this woman he dared to love outside of his life he was still with her because love doesn't change local, it just changes who you are. Someone you love listens to Joni and you hear Joni and she's now part of your gray matter, swimming in there singing about clouds and illusions and love, of course love and curiosity, Love's mistress.

And it is the secret life that sustains me. I wait and when it gets dark I am at ease slipping into the dark water waiting for the words, waiting and letting it wash over me the tide of secrets shared of nothing ordinary, no agenda, no positioning. When I am sure I am running on empty, when the world has had it's hand in my head all day when I am too exhausted to figure one more damned thing. When I am done worrying about the kid and his classes, when I am sure there isn't an idea that hasn't been played over and over in my head, when i have crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's, when it's safe it's the secret life.

When you are in the middle of the secret life it's important to take care of the other, to keep their secrets safe, to take care of them a little more than you are sure they are taking care of you, to leave more than you take, to love more than you are sure you can and let me tell you why. Love creates love. It's always true. What you send out will be returned ten fold and when you hear someone say to you in a whisper, almost a sigh, almost not mentionable "it's almost too good to be true." You can feel yourself nod, but not really, because it's something you've felt, the known element in it all. Humans are the greatest miracle, our hearts, our souls who we are and sharing that is a high unmentionable. Conroy knew this. I know this and so does someone whispering. They know.

Just now Best Friend calls. She's off fixing things today, far more important than I care to be today. She says "Secrets?" You can't hold water. She does make me laugh, I do tell her things private things, sacred. I am sitting here laughing now knowing that when I told someone recently a very funny story about our insane past she says, "I can't believe you told that story, I am going to kill you." Shared secrets are even more fun. She makes my life fun. I wonder sometimes if all the stiff suits she works with know that under all that calm, cool, very capable exterior is a girl who could twist a man's soul around her little finger in one of her giggles.


by: T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

S she laughed I was aware of becoming involved
in her laughter and being part of it, until her
teeth were only accidental stars with a talent
for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps,
inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally
in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by
the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter
with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading
a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty
green iron table, saying: "If the lady and
gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden,
if the lady and gentleman wish to take their
tea in the garden ..." I decided that if the
shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of
the fragments of the afternoon might be collected,
and I concentrated my attention with careful
subtlety to this end.

THAT is my Best Friend, no poem better written to describe an afternoon lost in lunch with her in some bistro, no better way to describe an impromptu picnic and I can't imagine how exciting that would be for a man to discover. His soul would be lost.

Years ago we were at a renaissance Fair eating giant turkey drumsticks, my boyfriend at the time pissed off because people didn't know that in the conquistadors didn't belong at a Renaissance fair, buying princess hats and showing off my archery skills, I had lost her in the crowd. When I found he she was at a little earring stand and this handsome, oh so handsome tall blond haired boy with sparkling blue eyes was rubbing her ear lobe and he was lost, a goner, pushing the earring into her ear he was so gone. I could only giggle as I saw her violet eyes light up the the booth and shake my head laughing, knowing he'd tell the story later about the woman who stole his heart at the fair that day.


In June I had a secret
Summer secrets turn to music
when the August bugs are singing
and the melody of haunting want
and if you mixed that want with need
and threw in a few nightmares
you can eat a crazy stew
that nourishes you and gets you through
those longer summer evenings
when the white moths are hitting the lantern
when you are in the cool air of the evening
and all you want is to dance in the garden
and all you need is to whisper your secret
into the ear of a lover
who holds them in his pocket
next to his Swiss army knife and
glow in the dark compass ring
he keeps close in case he gets lost
we won't have to ask for direction
to my room, up the stairs
past the painting I can't seem to finish
where the white sheers blow when a storm passes
through the mid west and through my
mid western girl heart
Just when you think it's a storm you can weather
just when you think you've found a girl
who can't have a dark thought in her head
the tornado of want will spin you around
and will that secret still be in your pocket
when the house lands on you and you are sure
those striped socks don't belong to you?
You are are strong arterial, right?
Some blond girls don't come from Kansas
and even those that do are reinventing themselves
believe me
come walk with me down the yellow brick road
and we'll find our souls
you can teach or write a book
and I will plant tulips and nobody will miss us
or even care
and when they do, they'll find us there


I know your secrets too, I listen carefully as all lovers should, as all lovers do. If you haven't told someone a secret recently, don't do it until you're ready, really ready. If you aren't sure if you are ready, you probably are and just afraid. Let's not be afraid this year tender reader. Let's be brave, let's put it out there, let's trust, let's hope, and let's know.

"I stood face to face with the moon and the ocean and the future that spread out with all its bewildering immensity before me."
— Pat Conroy (Beach Music)

Thanks for sharing this time with me.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dirty White Boy

The Love of My Life

There he is, my baby. We had kittens here. His sister is off causing trouble somewhere she likes to steal the yarn when I knit and she loves and I mean loves to knock things over full of water, so leaving a water glass next to the bed is never a good idea. They are both about 2 months old now and I'm not sure I can part with them. When I am up in the morning and checking emails and planning my day, Dirty White Boy likes to crawl in my sweater or my work out jacket and find his way close to my heart and nap there. He and Baby One (his sister's temporary name, maybe) take turns sleeping on my hip while the other sleeps on the red rug next to my bed. It's soft and they like soft places.

I wasn't feeling well last week and when I made my way upstairs to take a little name Baby One was waiting for me. She's gray and doe eyed and wonderful to watch play. She was the first down the stairs from the third floor where her mom "the dog" took her to get strong. She hid them up there and when I would climb the stairs to find them on one of Richie's old comforters she would lay on top of them to keep them warm and to keep them from wandering all over. After a few weeks they'd play so hard they'd start to head down the stairs and would tumble down and my life was being a cat elevator taking them back upstairs. Now you ask yourself, why not just get a gate, like a baby gate? The other cats would almost kill themselves to get over the top and the idea of being a cat elevator for three rather than two seemed daunting.

I never thought I'd be one of those people that took photos of their animals and showed them with pride but Dirty White Boy has been the screen saver on my new fancy phone since Christmas. I like the idea of him sleeping there looking like a fallen soldier on the battlefield right next to my bed. He snores. I swear he snores and his little feet move when he's sleeping almost as though even in slumber he needs to find some trouble.

There have been a few offers to make them a home but I don't think i want to separate them they love each other too much and maybe I love them too much also. The summer was a long mess and to have them up there on the third floor in the floor, to lay in the bed or on the floor and have them run the length of my body, stopping so I can kiss their little bellies was pure joy. I love that even now. When I am in the studio working I can hear DWB crying for me in little kitten cries, when he finds me his eyes still full of sleep, something frightened him and all he needs is for me to love him. Some of the time that's all I need also. He never stops loving me. I had a friend offer to keep them both Baby One (She was born first) and Dirty White Boy but he wants to keep them outside and although I tam sure they'd be fine outside I dont want them to be cold, so I know the third floor is warm and I now the rug beside my bed is as well as my right hip. I often rub my right hip when I go to sleep to comfort myself.

Mentioning to someone you'd like them to rub your right hip can get you in way over your head (don't ask me how I know this). Big Big trouble but pure joy. I woke up from a nap the other day and both the babies were sleeping on my stomach and I just had this feeling they would be mine forever and ever and ever. I can't wait to take them to the garden this summer and watch them dig in the cat nip. Leroy, their daddy did a fine job he always loves me best.



I was thinking today on where I'd live if I didn't live here. The first moment I walked into my home I knew I wanted to live here. I loved the light in the rooms, I really loved the porch light outside the front door that lights up my room at night and I fell for the yard, a yard big enough to plant anything I wanted to plant. I like that I have rooms to be me, rooms to play the violin, rooms to paint, rooms to make my jewelry, rooms to sew, rooms when people visit and my room, my sanctuary.

But what if I didn't live here, well first I think DC. I'd love to live closer to the Best Friend to be where she is watching her turn her dream into something tangible. I miss her. I forget how much I miss her and then whamo it hits me like a ton of bricks and all I want her to do is sit on my sofa with me and laugh as the world marches by. It makes me sad when she's here and says, "Oh I didn't know you painted this or where did you get that?" My heart aches. We have never lived in the same house but if I were to live with someone I think I'd live with her. I chance my voice mail on my cell phone when I was blue at Christmas I had some Joni Mitchell is skating away with my heart thing and then changed it when we were in the car, finding something good and we were rattling on about life and boys and fun. I think I'll keep it for awhile it makes me feel like s he's close.

I always tell myself the reason I don't just pick up and move is because I have a business to pack and why would I move away from my family and then there's my kid, he loves living here. He's at that age now though when he will be moving on and even though I miss him at times I do like living alone and I rejoice in the fact that he has a life of his own and that I have mine. I like playing the violin at 3am if that's what I want to do, listening to Elton John songs or worse, Kid Rock very loud and dancing all over the house singing "Cowboy baby."

I thought today maybe one of those sunny islands in the ocean sounded delightful, sunny all the time and lots of sand, someplace that never got cold that never snowed. This time of the year that sounds a good prospect and then an earthquake hits Haiti and you see that the structure for disaster may not be the best in some third world tropical paradise, not that I would pick Haiti as an ideal place to live in the first place. I thought of living in Hawaii once and watching pure white trash TV, Dawg the Bounty Hunter fixed that for me too.

Then it hit me, home is where you feel loved. Even when you think of some new local, some huge change of pace, I know that I feel loved here. My family comes here for respite, my animals live here, the kittens peeking at me through the banister when I am up and down the stairs. I feel at home most anywhere my friends and family gather. I am not someone who clings to belongings, one thing as good as another. If the house were on fire and I had to get out, I know the cats would chase me and I know where to find a few photos I cherish and the little book suzy made me for my birthday when I turned 40, telling me the 40 things she loves about me. I know where the blue pen is and my special ring is always around my neck. I keep that close. I also have a little pouch with a few of Richie's baby teeth and a key to a hotel room in New York. I found my heart there once, in New York, the birth place of all that is good with the world.

Someone broke into my house last summer, some kids out doing what kids usually do and I handled the situation, scaring them more than I am sure they scared me. Seems the little band of thieves worked for the computer store where I found my new computer and they had been robbing homes. I was safe, the house was safe and it hasn't really changed my life much. I don't feel like a vigilante, shit happens, shit happens every day. I don't hate God because of cancer, I don't hate some lost soul who thought my house an easy target and well the bad things happen and happen and happen, it's just how the chips fall.

Joyous things have happened here, the kittens were born here, I've had a few more than a few stellar parties when Suzy has visited, cooking for people I love and the laughter heard long after everyone's gone home. And then there's my desk. I looked long and hard to find a desk I loved. I wanted to paint there you see, to use that desk as a station for painting and not have it interfere with my work. I wanted to keep paints in the drawers and little sketches here and there and my giant easel a place to perch things I'm working on and leave them here and take a break from work and find it again without pulling everything apart and putting it all away and the time to take it all out again. I looked and looked and couldn't find the desk I liked.

Then a customer writes me months later and she wants me to make her a bracelet. I'd love that, with photos of her husband, you see she loves him. However, they are in a money crunch and she can't afford it, so could I keep her in mind. I encourage her to send the photos, print them put them in little frames and make her a piece. I love this part of my job, looking at the faces people love and love and love. I write her back and ask for an address read to mail it off, money not the issue here, just that I finished this and wanted her to have it. She lives one town over from me. Surprise surprise. I wanted to hand her this piece to see her face, to know that her issue was more about the reaching out part and letting someone take care of you, I am bad at this, really really bad. I get to her house and find out her husband was a cop that was shot. He's doing rehab, still very ill and they are having to downsize their home. I am more and more glad to be there, happier than I have been in awhile, sure summer is clipping along, the longest summer of my life, my throat raging and I felt like I was supposed to be here, right here and right now. I hand her the bracelet and she's thrilled. We talk about painting and art and life and love and she makes me tea in this beautiful little china tea cup. I love china tea cups.

On the way out she asks me if I know someone who can move something for her. She doesn't care what happens to it but she can't keep it, a rather large desk that they never really used. This desk is 8 foot tall, ten feet long, five feet wide, black and beautiful and full of drawers and cabinets for things and a glass top and I am in love. I am in love. If I had found this desk months ago I would have paid any amount of money to own it and I am willing right now to write a check to this dear woman for whatever number she throws at me. "I can find someone to move your desk, how much do you want for it?" I ask her. She wouldn't take a dime but I did make her a few pieces of jewelry that I mailed later and a knitted her a scarf the colors of Green Bay, she loves the packers. She has great taste in desks, that's all I am going to say about that. She wrote recently that her husband is doing better and they are happy where they live now, no stairs to climb. I may visit for lunch one day or see her in the bakery when I am looking for lemon bars.

The desk sits in my home now. It's part of me. I paint there, I think there, I paint and listen for something to bubble on the stove and know the light is perfect for painting. I am working on a few pieces now and was blessed with tons of new paints and brushes for Christmas. I do love my life. At any moment I wouldn't trade my life with another living soul, I just wouldn't. I am happy with the decisions I've made. I love the trees outside my window, towering over my house. I love the music playing downstairs, I love the pitter patter of cat play that sounds like road construction when they are playing. I love my door is open to people who love me, that the mailman will stop in to play with the cats and to have bread and drink iced tea. I love the pool in the yard in the summer where I can sit and read for a few hours feeling the sun warm on my face. I love the flowers and that everyone who loves me knows that love lives here in these walls where I am typing to you now. Anyone hungry here will be fed, anyone weary can rest and anyone who needs to lean into me, into my shoulder will fit a warm place to lean.

I am not ready to leave here yet, but parts of me are packing boxes and wondering of a new life, of a new place to be, of something more. Until then I will paint and plant and feed the little animals in the yard and say thank you, thank you, thank you for all I have and all I want.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Need and Want

I need to see you soon

I need to see you soon
it's been awhile since someone's touched me
the way you do and oh how you do
and I thought that maybe
I'd known enough love in my life
and that I would be alright
surrounded by paints and books and beads
ok that I'd never let myself want feel this way again
never feel your hand on my throat and your tongue in my mouth
so excited that you touch me
in the places where nobody finds me
finishing my next thought but giving me the room to think it through
and the hope of who you turned out to be
the long awaited answer to prayers unspoken
for fear they'd fall on deaf ears
sometimes if you ask the cost is too much to bear
to hope against all hope and have the nerve to ask for more
you are the secret I've been keeping
when in the middle of the night in my purple room
I dare dream of who he'd be
strong and oh so careful of me

I want to be lost in you
and know lost there is safe
Years ago I took these pieces of me
and waited for a strong wind and set them sailing
scattered so that if some one just an ordinary
anyone found them they couldn't possibly
put them together and expose me
my rounded edge fitting up against
the open place you leave for me
being the perfect fit of effortless this
knowing you're going to help put me together
and show me the parts of me I miss
and miss and miss
the me that feels you push me down
and lift me up at the same time
in your strong arms somewhere is the answer
and I need to see you soon

If this is love's illusion I've swallowed the pill
and it grew a flower I can't ignore
and I am reminded of the power of passion's promise
and the thrill of you
why God made man and why he made me
can they tell in a quiet cafe as we sit
and whisper of nothing ordinary
because ordinary is anything but you
and the afternoon is lost in stolen glances
wanting to see your profile from the corner of my eye
wanting to rip the buttons of your shirt
wanting you over and over in ways we've imagined
when you were alone and I was here alone
surrounded by people alone wondering where you were
and what had been keeping you
will they know all I want to do is be alone with you
to loose a day inside your blue eyes
to see the world in the glorious curve of your lips
and listen to you talk to me
because I love the way you talk to me
and I need to see you soon

Come close to me and I will tell you why women
are drawn to your kind nature
and the thunder of your laugh when you let go
and laugh in my ear
and I am lost in the sound wanting you so
in my bed when I wake
and in my heart while I fall asleep
and let the thoughts of you crowd my head
pushing away the monsters I create
and making them seem little in comparison to your towering kindness
when you are my ballast, when I can't feel the ground
and you lead me through the fire
and the dance of you swirling around me
I need your hand drawing me to your chest
dancing quietly in the room where we are alone at last
I need you and I need this
let me lay across your shield and plant the seeds of me there
to keep you warm when I'm away
cause we'll live a life of away ya know
just touching finger tips now and again
feeling God shine on us in brief moments of happy
and then back to our lives yours there and mine here
and in between
I need to see you again
I need to see you again
I need to see you again

Like and Love

Love and Like

I love a one legged man
when he leans into me and we dance
I can push back and we move
in such a knowing manner
I don't have to remind him
that he needs me because he doesn't
when he wants to hop, he hops
when he wants to stand and just watch
he stands in the most exquisite form
when he is deep inside of me, my legs are his

He never asked me this man
what I was missing, you can't see my missing part
he just listened carefully pressing the funnel to his ear
and the other end to my heart
one night when we were alone
he whispered "trust me about this" and
he pressed his chest tight
against mine and let me use his rib(s)
when my heart broke and they fixed it
they forgot to put a few of the ribs back
and now when its cold or when I am afraid
I can feel my heart a little exposed
and that's when he appears pushing hard against me
my scutum, the hero stuff of school girl folklore

Don't ask me what a one legged man stores
in that plastic leg
it's our secret one of our whispers
Ok, sometimes I can find the corkscrew in there
and when he's close I still get the nervous jitters
and my lips feel numb like I've had too much red wine
and then the calm and then the warmth
in my belly
like swimming in a warm pool weightless
and when you are under the water's surface
we talk in bubbles because when you talk in bubbles
fragments, pieces the only one who can understand
is someone who loves you,
even with a missing heart
a missing leg
a missing tongue

I'll see him later
my one legged man
and tell him of wanting girls
with sweet adoring smiles
and he'll say "don't do this to me"
and I'll know that means
"Whisper to me some more, Carrie"
and if he calls me Darling, there's nothing I won't say
And even now I am composing a song of such seduction
I'll say "I can't reach this place, can you help?"
and he will smile and moan a little
and fill me up with such delight
I am glad not all men know his secrets
and I am glad to hold his rib ever so close to me
I will hold it softly and in such a knowing thought

Love is easy and I have often said it's a decision. Love that dizzy dancing way you feel that Joni sings of and sings of. Like, another thing. Like is about finding a commonality of spirit. I love my family dearly, liking them for more than a few days in a row is truly work. Best Friend and I have often driven home from family and looked at each other in the car and said, "we're all filled up of family for awhile right?" Yup, all done. When I miss them, when we miss them, we'll be back. They more than likely feel the same.

When like and love overlap, when the edges touch it's pure magic. When you like someone enough to be in the room with them and feel you don't have to entertain them but can still look over at them in wonder and love and know they are close. I like my alone time and recently have had that love of it taken from me a little. I like to wander down into the studio and pull up some beads and get busy for hours, days, lost in it, hearing the phone ring and wish for it to be Best Friend or Stan who makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. These days though there's a little ache when I've been lost in work for days I stop and think of like. I like when I pick up the phone and it's the goofy girl finding me to tell me about cafe world or asking me to pick her virtual farm, or listening to her tell me about her job, far more important in the world than mine. She's hitting the mark and I am so proud of her.

But sometimes I want to see that miracle of connection buzz and be the like I've been missing. I want to hear him call me baby. I want to know he's looking for me. Oh gods throw me a rope. Tell me that boys let you down, tell me not to think about this, to push the thoughts aside and let it go. Run for cover. I allow myself a few moments to think about it, lingering there, dancing in some quiet room yes I will allow myself to go there for awhile putting the jimmy scissors one and two down and finally clearing my head to make some tea. I love to squeeze the honey bear's belly watching that amber liquid of love sit at the bottom of my cup.

It's no state secret that I am a romantic. If you could write down all the things you'd want someone to whisper to you and then someone does what do you say as a measure of thanks? Or do you say damn you, I was happier waiting, wondering. It drove Dickens to madness writing in a female voice and then knowing and I mean knowing no woman would say those things to him. He was wrong, if you put it out there enough someone will say those things and then you are far more fucked than you could imagine. You'll need them. You'll need those whispers in the middle of the day when you need inspiration. When you've tasted Belgium chocolate how do you go back to Milky Way bars? I have a milky way bar hidden somewhere and when I find it today this will be a good good thing.

"A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. " Dickens wrote that with a heavy heart and he was full of like and love, no doubt. You see what you are not, what you can't be in another and want to touch it and play with it and know it. You want to learn from them, take pieces of them and make them your own and love them. It's just the magic of the situation. And in that I will offer the allure of time spent lingering and poetry and art and the love of those things and how I can get lost in them. I offer the soft spot to land and yet powerful enough to figure out the guy stuff with a smidge of advice here and there. I hired a crew to shovel this winter and they called when it showed an inch or two hurrying over to offer to shovel. Then when we got two feet of snow, not a word. Their phone is unable to be reached. God is whispering here, "get off your ass and go pick up a shovel Carrie." I did. There is power in doing what a man usually does and doing it well, running a business, using a shovel, getting the car serviced and knowing you can do it, you don't need to tolerate the bullshit that time with some sweet boy would be just pure joy and nothing ordinary, nothing ordinary at all.

God had to make us need one another or we'd all be a recluse making jewelry, sneaking out to find eggplant and peach juice, wandering around an art gallery but for the most part enjoying time alone, working. And then you run into someone who makes the alone uncomfortable, and you need and need and need. You'd swallow pride, let that jagged bitter pill run down your throat scraping the sides because need is always more important than pride. You choke back a tear when you are standing at the edge looking down and uncertain if there is a net the jagged rocks below and wondering if like those dreams you had as a child you could run fast enough and put our your arms and fly to the other side. And there he'd be waiting, smiling, whispering "I knew you could do it baby." When he calls me baby all is lost.

Sometimes God gives you glimpses of perfect just so you know it's attainable, just to fill your cup with hope. It's not enough just to drink it and enjoy it, you have to nurture it, understand it and hold it in some reverence so God knows you are paying attention. When you take it for granted for even a moment or two, turn your head it maybe be done, over and all you are left with is the knowledge that "we loved each other well." and that better be good enough.

Then Best Friend writes me this morning:

Love ain’t easy, that’s why you have to be sure you Do love someone when you say it, specifically when he says it to you. Love is patient and kind, not boastful or proud or envious; it is not self-seeking and does not rise to anger easily. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This is how we love each other, best friend, how could I wish any less for you from a man?


Her love doesn't get more perfect. ever. Her visit here over Christmas renewed my spirit, hours spent shopping, lunching, making cookies, watching penguin movies, laughing and laughing and laughing. We talked of visiting Scotland in the Spring. She likes to plan adventure I like to fall into it. She has a glass case around her heart and I had the urge to break it with a hammer hoping not to damage what I love but give it some room to grow, put it in a larger pot and add more soil. Water it with black currant tea and watch it take over the world while I smile large and wait for the stories she has to tell me. Love full of hope.

There is a scene in biloxi blues, an old old movie. The servicemen are dancing in a dance hall in the south. And the music starts. Who could resist a man in uniform? and suddenly the music starts and he swoops in and is dancing with Daisy Hannigan. There's nobody else dancing, even if there is, there isn't. Every note of the music matches a movement

Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon
There is no moon above
When love is far away too
Until it comes true
That you love me as I love you

Somewhere there's music
It's where you are
Somewhere there's heaven
How near, how far
The darkest night would shine
If you would come to me soon
Until you will, how still my heart
How high the moon

Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon
There is no moon above
When love is far away too
Until it comes true
That you love me as I love you

Somewhere there's music
It's where you are
Somewhere there's heaven
How near, how far
The darkest night would shine
If you would come to me soon
Until you will, how still my heart
How high the moon

Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon
There is no moon above
When love is far away too
Until it comes true
That you love me as I love you

Somewhere there's music
It's where you are
Somewhere there's heaven
How near, how far
The darkest night would shine
If you would come to me soon
Until you will, how still my heart
How high the moon

Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon
There is no moon above
When love is far away too
Until it comes true
That you love me as I love you

Somewhere there's music
It's where you are
Somewhere there's heaven
How near, how far
The darkest night would shine
If you would come to me soon
Until you will, how still my heart
How high the moon yeah

If you haven't seen the movie, I recommend it, it's running on HBO this month. If you don't have a Best Friend, you have to be one first. If you haven't heard someone whisper something you need to hear, then smile more at the market at the sweet man ahead of you. If you haven't taken a nap with a kitten, go adopt one. If you need my grandmother's kolachky recipe you are so out of luck but I'd share my wild mushroom soup recipe. It's wonderful. If you are strong enough to shovel, find someone who isn't and offer to help a little. It's a wonderful feeling. The photo is Ansel Adams in all his glory.

You can find my work, my love at or me at


And I wonder sometimes
and I know I'm unkind
but I need you to turn to
when I am so blind
I need you to turn to
when I lose control
You're my guardian angel
who keeps out the cold

Elton John

Wonder. I haven't written in awhile been busy busy with family and life stuff and the Christmas bustle that is my job. I miss the time spent just pondering and of course wondering. Best Friend used to tell me "it's good to wonder." and at the time, being a girl who never liked to wonder about anything, who always needed the answers spelled out NOW, it would frustrate me.

These days I feel full of wonder. What direction will I take my life? My business? What will my son do when he finishes school? Is love waiting? Wonder, wonder, wonder.

Webster will tell us that wondering is about thinking and then feeling and the emotion that is surprise by what is strange and exciting. Oh gosh, this is so true. When someone surprises us, takes us by our ear and our heart, tells us something we knew but forgot, romances our soul, we are in wonder. I recently worked up the courage to ask someone. This was difficult, I practiced at the market in my head, mostly because I don't like being anywhere where I am alone in thought. If I know something wonderful (full of wonder) I share it with the Best Friend, "Did you see this movie? Did you hear this song? Want to hear this poem?" and she will rejoice in it's wonder with me, even if its not something that interests her but to celebrate in my joy of it. I didn't share this particular wonder with her or anyone else. It was mine, mine and, well I wondered. I turned in my head, the joy of it, the terror, the idea, the wonder. And I asked in the dark, of course, reminding myself that the brave only die once, really. "Do you ever wonder?" There it was just floating out there, the knowledge that I did wonder more often these days than I have in a long time. Wonder, the pure joy and terror of it. It's complicated.

The winter has been cold and full of snow and ice and I miss Spring and Summer's warm breeze. I even miss the summer bugs singing to me. But there are reasons I want winter lingering awhile.

I haven't worn my very snazzy boots nearly enough yet, have a bunch of new sweaters I haven't worn and a pink one in particular I really really love. I haven't eaten stew yet when I've been out shoveling for awhile, the comfort of the warm food just falling over your insides. I want to kiss the sweetest boy in the world before I see one flower push itself out of the ground and show me its color. The kittens will be big by spring and I love them little. In the Spring I will have to make MAJOR life decisions and I don't mind putting off for awhile, snow or not. I used to panic when it got so dark so early, now I linger in it and wait, Oh the rewards of winter.

When I see a branch covered in ice I think there I am, all exposed to the world, this branch full of some life force, dormant and covered in ice. Wonderful. Nature's beauty showing you the perils and joys of life. I can hear the cracking like peanut brittle and in my bed I am comforted by it like I am comforted by the wind in the summer. I am trying to enjoy winter and Best Friend's recent visit helped. She is so full of joy when it snows that it's hard to be a scrooge about it. She was my special Christmas gift this year. The back deck is always full of a thousand little woodland footprints and I still feed the animals bread every day because the idea of one living creature out in the cold is enough let alone cold and hungry.

And if we allow ourselves the glutenous pleasure of a wonder or two are we being brave or more of a coward? Do people who get what they want in this life skip over the wonder part and when they have the tiniest notion just take what is theirs while those wondering others are just watching? Just when I think that could be the case I think about the guy in California hanging out with his friends at the zoo, late at night, thinking they are oh so clever for sneaking in and smoking a little weed, laughing like mad no doubt and one wonders but not lingering wonder what those lions are like down there. He was eaten in short order while his friends watched in well probably wonder and terror. Yeah, I think I'll linger in thought awhile. I don't even blame him really, I love cats and always wanted to pet a big one.

There was a time when I didn't wonder about love, I just ate it, ate it like there was no tomorrow to think about, like chocolate, screw the consequences, let the chips fall where they may. I could clean up the debris, I was young and fearless. Now, I ask questions, push it through my head, live in wonder for awhile. I test it. I test everything. I live in the moment and live in wonder about the rest. I am fragile in the winter, sometimes I feel like I could crack like ice. Soon the days will get longer again I tell myself. The other day when I was shoveling the drive way with no end, I stopped in that thick gray air that is winter listening to only other people scraping up the snow with their shovels and in the distance a few children giggling. There in that moment I could feel him wrap his arms around me from behind me and whisper "Spring is on it's way, this is all very temporary." It was a good work out and when I came in I rewarded myself with really cold chocolate milk and some time with the kittens. Yes, the Dog had kittens a few weeks ago and they are doing fine, very sweet. I will post photos of them later this week when I do a whole blog about kitten love. I named one Dirty White Boy and I am working on naming the other and it appears I am keeping them unless someone out there thinks they can love a pair of kittens as I dont think I can separate them.

Those of you who wrote to ask about Christmas, well Best Friend was here as well as the kid and friends. It was a week of visiting and good food and shopping. I made my hair red and I think it was the nicest holiday I can remember in a long time. I gave up on the big tree idea and scaled everything down. The day preceding Christmas Eve I treated myself to a spa day. After I had to shop so people could eat here and on the way home sitting in my car at the market I had the most wonderful conversation and for awhile time stood still and I was the luckiest girl in the world. Thank God for traffic and snow storms and love. I finished my shopping late into the night and when I arrived home wanted to rest awhile before I carried everything in. In true form I fell asleep on the sofa and woke at 4am and when I went out to carry everything in the trunk was frozen shut in the ice storm. I spent Christmas Eve, cooking and napping and doing last minute decorating. Pure joy. When Richie went home I hugged him too long, had wet eyes and sent him home with enough food for 30 people. All in all a really good visit.

Why do you do it?

When in the garden, on my knees
digging, planting seeds tucked into a tiny envelope
shared from this hand to another
I found a worm wiggling in it's red glory
and that worm whispered to me
"Why are you here?" I listened closer
drawing it to my ear
"Why are you here getting dirty?" it asked me
"You could buy flowers at the market?"
I laid down in the nearby grass
taking moments from the day
listening to cars in the distance fighting traffic
and layed this tiny worm down on my collarbone
and explained tenderly that I was there
because the ground called to me
and "I am here to spend a few moments with you."
"In the day when things are harried and I feel
hassled and alone, too big and too important
for my own good, I found you and would you please
explain the universe to me under my feet?"

Then later I was in a market of sorts
finding the perfect eggplant that would be my dinner
The crowd was pulsing and I do not suffer
a crowd easily, my heart was racing a bit
I was standing my own in the noise
and there was a man who has touched
a thousand eggplant, who has thumped a hundred melons
and I went to stand by him and watched the crowd
touching the vegetables, running their hands
over their skin and sniffing them
this very private ritual practiced over and over
the people there trusting what this food would nourish them
taking these bounties of nature home to
chop them into tiny pieces and cook them into dishes
that have been cooked over and over again
thousands of times, the smell familiar and inviting
and the man asked me "Why are you here?"
"I know you don't like the crowd, I've seen you cower before"
All I could answer was "I am drawn to this place, this madness
because what I find here nourishes me and the uncomfortable
feeling in my stomach will pass and will soon be replaced
with this eggplant." He smiled giving me a knowing look
and I'd see him again at another time in perhaps a larger crowd
looking for asparagus.

Weeks later in church and there in the pew next to me
a man I'd never seen
He has soft eyes and a knowing smile
I was at ease and I am seldom comforted
by a strange of anything Xenophobia of the highest order
all contained in a quiet scream only dogs can hear
and I heard him whisper to me and the church
fell quiet and dark and we were alone it seemed
but in all reality we are never alone
"Why are you here? Why do you come here?"
"Are you ignorant to the hypocrisy of religion?"
"I thought you a smart girl, are you lost?"
His voice was familiar only because I imagined it in my heart
over and over the deliberate cadence of it
like a slow violin playing almost as though I knew
the next words because they were the words of my heart
over and over, practiced and deliberate but seldom heard
"I am here for this." I answered slowly
"I would do anything, go anywhere to have this time with you, alone."
"Child, we aren't alone, look around there are people waiting for me
and people waiting for you."
I pulled out my own violin and without even a whisper played,
I played a little song of "In my heart I am alone with you."
Nobody noticed the girl in the back row
with her eyes closed playing and playing and playing.


On Sunday when I was done running errands I sat in the driveway with no end. The sun was about to set and I could see the dripping from the end of the icicles hanging off the house each more beautiful than the other. I would later find the slavic dude who told me this wouldn't happen anymore and chew his ass out thoroughly, the gutters still didn't work right or this wouldn't happen. The sun was setting through the trees and I was lingering as I do sending out a little thought to the universe, to God and I called Best Friend to remind her that she should be more open, more willing to get what she wants and to tip her hand a little. She laughed and told me she'll remind me of this conversation when I call her full of heartache when I have put it out there too much and I have no net, the flying Wendella.

I am so taken by nature's beauty sometimes that I try to find the lessons there about how the ice at the lake house will be so hard over the water that you can walk to the back of the lake safely and be God walking on water for a few short days when the days are indeed short. It's all a matter of time for everything is revealed before a truth works its way through the ground, before spring. I forgot to turn the heat up before I went to the studio this morning to share this with you. Dirty White Boy (the tiny white cat) came down to follow me as he does, and he's now sleeping in my hoodie, his little head sticking out the top, breathing deep, lingering as I love to linger. How do I give him away and just wonder if someone will love him as I love him? His tender nature carried me through the end of a long summer. I think he could be mine forever.

Another Christmas gone, another New Year's Eve. When I was a little girl I loved to watch the sands slip through an hour glass, the wonder of time. Now I hold on to every grain of sand and I do love to linger.

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