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Sunday, November 25, 2012

When I am a Mom:

That sentence is funny to write, when I am a mom. It's funny to use the word when and not if. It's funny because when I was 19 and taking a women's literature class I thought I didn't want children. I thought having babies meant that you didn't love yourself and you didn't love adventure. I remember that professor, Judy I think was her name, she would stand in front of all of us with her Indian jewelry and deep red hair, she would always start a sentence with a finger over her lip and the other hand clutching a strand of hair away from her face, just holding it there out to the side like some sort of nervous habit. Don't all women want a room of one's own? What do you think the author is trying to convey with that wording? Women end sentences with a question mark because they are scared to make declarative statements. I thought she was stunning, old and stunning. I think she had children though.

Somehow I went from wanting a room of my own like Virginia Woolf to a room for babies. What is that called, a nursery? That sounds so old fashioned, a nursery. Not now of course, right this minute I want a room dedicated to winter boots. But someday I'll want a room for babies.

I was hiking South Mountain this afternoon and as I was climbing down I saw this dumpy looking kid off to the side of the trail. He had a tear stained face and he was yelling to his mom for her to come back. He said, "something startled me again." I don't know what could have scared him, an empty water bottle, a butterfly? I didn't, but I wanted to punch him in the stomach hard. I wanted to give him something to be startled about. In that instant I knew exactly the kind of mom I want to be someday. I want to raise kids who are not startled, I want to raise kids who will try squid but also like their chocolate milk. When I am a mom I hope I remember that pudgy boy on the mountain and encourage my kids to keep going, even when something startles them.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Movie Review: The Loneliest Planet

It's not often that I write about a book or movie. I would rather wax poetic for hours with a friend in person about my favorite author or why a certain sentence sounds so pretty. When it comes to movies I'm no good at judging anything--mostly because I like it all. I like to be entertained. I like to cry, I like to laugh, I like to sit in the dark and just take it all in. As I'm sitting here I honestly cannot think of one movie that I hate. I don't love them all, but I certainly don't dislike them either. Paramount should pay me to write movie reviews, they would all contain flowery language and praise for mildly engaging dialogue or pithy scenery.

One of the only things I've ever written about a book can be seen here.

I did take myself to the movies last night to see something I had been dying to catch for a while; The Loneliest Planet starring Gael Garcia Bernal. It looked so intriguing, a couple traveling through the mountains of Georgia, backpacking really, and discovering dark things about their relationship that would have remained dormant had the stresses of travel not unearthed them. [Edit: Also I would watch Gael Garcia Bernal in a brown paper bag, swoon]. So the movie itself was not great--but as you know I didn't hate it. Less for the acting and more for the actual story, it got me thinking. Thinking about travel and about varying personalities and about why when we see new places does it bring out the worst in us sometimes. Why do we let a missed train or an underwhelming dinner or heavy luggage turn us into characters we don't recognize? Is it because each in our own way, in our own minds, we have some mental prediction of the way a situation is meant to play out, and when the universe intervenes and our plans are foiled we become resentful? Is travel just a tiny microcosm of real life? We each have an idea of the path we are supposed to be on, and when that path becomes crooked or rocky that idea vanishes, it blows away with the wind and we become angry.

I am certainly guilty of feisty behavior, stubborn behavior. What I've learned recently though, is that if you are patient and you stop trying to control a situation or enforce pre-conceived stipulations, the universe will give you exactly what you need at exactly the right time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Desert is a Charming Place:

Desert, deserted landscape
my sanctuary, my prison,
my house within
the confines of the valley walls,
the space between the molecules
of dust and sand; dry land.
The place where a bloom
is new and rare like a love
out of reach,
reaching within, keeping you in,
inside the petal, inside the forever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wild Geese

I keep this poem on my refrigerator door because sometimes when you are having a bad day, it is nice to be reminded that you do not have to walk on your knees and you do not have to repent--you merely need to let the soft animal of your body love what it wants to.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Prettiest Thing Is The Dinner Table After a Dinner Party

When the last glass is poured and the last napkin thrown there you are, alone, at the center of the table, whether you truly are or not it feels like the world has turned in on itself and you are there looking out from behind a bottle of amber liquid that makes your head spin. When the last candle drowns itself in a teaspoon of wax so that the black stick stands alone, smoking lightly where the fire used to be. When the dishes pile up, shinning white on white, night on light. Perfect is nice but the beauty is better where wine is smudged into the wood and clam sauce dribbles down your chin and the music lets you in. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What It Feels Like to Be a Woman:

So let's talk about what it feels like to be a woman in today's world. It's confusing. Let's talk about what it feels like to be a woman who is on the fence in life. On the fence between wanting a man to come and sweep her off her feet but also wanting to pack it all in and travel on her own. On the fence between wanting to be a caretaker and wanting to be cared for. On the fence between wanting to pursue her passions but recognizing that her bills won't pay themselves. Let's talk about that disconnect between being assertive and being submissive. Which is it? Or how confidence comes in waves--it ebbs and flows. To be a woman is a powerful thing. A man couldn't do it. To walk around with the complexity of emotions that we carry every moment of every day and still have the strength to type an email or warm up a cup of coffee--we are like tiny ants carrying shredded pieces of leaves and it looks easy but the leaves weigh a million pounds and they are heavy but we do it because we are strong.

I turned another year older and with that year came clarity, and patience, and balance. It felt before like I was maybe floating a little in the air, maybe a breeze would pick me up and put me someplace else for a while. But the universe gave me gravity and some extra pounds and now it feels like I am tethered to the world--to do what and to say what, I don't know. But at least I'm here now, I'm not going anywhere.