Monday, December 21, 2009

Still Pondering "Home"

“The ache for home lives in all of us, 
the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” 
- Maya Angelou

"Home is a name, a word,
it is a strong one;
Stronger than magician ever spoke, 
or spirit ever answered to,
in the strongest conjuration."
-Charles Dickens

I'm going "Home for the Holidays" soon.
This is Never Easy for me.
It's usually Intense,
Sometimes full of Conflict,
Almost Always feels like a Test
. . . that I'm Failing.

Please wish me Luck.
Wish me Patience.
Wish me Love.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Crafting Extravaganza (Or Why Martha's Throne Is Safe From Me)

I decided to try my hand at making some Christmas gifts myself this year (if you know me at all, you might be cringing a little bit right now).  You know, because gifts are more personal and special when they're hand-made and it's a labor of love and one-of-a-kind and things mean more when you do them with your own two hands, and give from the heart and blah, blah, blah, altruistic propaganda.

Truth?  The economy sucks and my smarty-smarty husband just had to choose finishing his Ph.D. over getting out and getting a job and money's just tight right now, okay?  And getting married means not just one family to buy Christmas gifts for, but two.  I had to get creative.

So I spent last Thursday night (yay, girls' craft night!), ALL DAY Sunday, and most of the last two evenings working on my home-made, hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind gifts.  There is glitter stuck to my hair, caked under my fingernails, embedded in my contacts, and covering every surface of my house.  When I sneeze, I swear glitter shoots out of my nostrils.  That's not to mention the chalkboard surface spray paint that crackled and peeled away once I added the second coat.  Or the hour I spent on Sunday dying to go to the bathroom because my fingers were glued together and I couldn't get my jeans unzipped.  Or the jingle bells that the cat dragged off the worktable and batted into oblivion so that now one of my projects is forever asymmetrical, because I don't have time to go out and get more jingle bells and looking under the couch is gross.

I saw beautiful glittered garland like this at a Christmas gift market and thought,
"I can totally make that myself!"

Ha!  Who was I kidding?  This took SOOO much work and it's still dripping glitter 
all over the carpet.  Plus it's not nearly as cute as I envisioned it.

And at the end of the day, after all the hard work, glue, tears, anguish, glitter, decoupage, paint, mishaps and temper tantrums - my gifts are decidedly more It's-The-Thought-That-Counts-y than Oh-My-God-I-Can't-Believe-You-Made-This-For-Me-y.  It will be a long time before I can give Martha a run for her money.  Quite honestly, I'm just not sure I'm cut out for crafting.

The base of these wine glasses is coated with spray paint that dries to a 
chalkboard surface.  You can write/draw on the foot with chalk instead of 
using wine charms to keep track of glasses at a party.  I'll wrap red 
ribbon around each stem and tie on a jingle bell and a piece of chalk .

This is take two.  I tried adding a second coat of paint to the first set 
and it ruined them, so I had to start over with a different set.  
We're keeping the botched ones for ourselves.

I day-dream of having my own work room where I create and design and bring to life wonderful amazing projects.  Okay, well maybe not day-dream (as my day-dreams are more likely to consist of dark chocolate and flaming hot cheetos and entire days spent with my husband doing nothing but snuggling and reading and talking and watching inspiring movies and addictive TV-on-DVD).  But I have at least thought about having a work room once or twice.  I have at least imagined rolls and rolls of brightly colored ribbon and fabric and shelves stacked with clear plastic storage bins stuffed with beads and glitter and doodads in every color imaginable.  I have on occasion even deluded myself into believing at least a time or two that somehow, suddenly,  I will magically be able to cut in a straight line.

Chunky wooden picture frames decoupaged with scrapbook
 paper and topped with hand-glittered "Sparkle Letters."  

Thankfully, these photos are forgiving and you can't see the buckling paper.
 Guess I didn't smooth out the air bubbles sufficiently?

But the reality is me.  The reality is I can't draw, drive, or even walk in a straight line, much less cut.  The reality is I can't even color inside a not-straight line (if I wasn't so good at reading, I probably would have flunked preschool).  The reality is having to craft in a kitchen so small that once I got set up for my three days of crafting, there was no conceivable way to do the dishes or even make a sandwich for lunch.  The reality is I'm impatient and I get distracted and I am not detail-oriented enough to make sure that all my crafts turn out absolutely perfect.  And then I cry and get depressed and crabby when I realize that all my crafts did not turn out absolutely perfect.  Yep, definitely, I am not cut out for crafting.

Another picture frame (I made three).
Keith cut the paper for me because of my aforementioned straight line problem.  

Also, he knows that sharp objects + me usually equals blood everywhere.  

But I always have the best of intentions.  And I really do think a gift is more special when you have to do more than just run out to a store and plunk down some money for it.  Does anyone really mean it when they say, "It's the thought that counts"?  For the sake of this Christmas, I really, really hope so!

Finished products: gifts for our "Green Group" (long story) Christmas party. 

One girl gift and one boy gift. 

Black & White & Red has become my "Signature" when it comes to gift wrapping.

Because I like it so much. 
 And I bought a ton of wrapping paper during after-Christmas sales last year.

So merry last week before Christmas to all of you.  To those who share in my crafting disabilities, you have my sympathy.  To those who receive a very-special, one-of-a-kind, oh-so-meaningful, hand-crafted Christmas gift (I really did try) from me this year, you have my deepest sympathy and my apologies and one final piece of advice: Just please don't look at it too closely!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Inspiration

"Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."
- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941,)
winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature

Monday, December 14, 2009

Going Home

 "Home is an English word virtually impossible to translate into other tongues. No translation catches the associations, the mixture of memory and longing, the sense of security and autonomy and accessibility, the aroma of inclusiveness, of freedom from wariness that cling to the word 'home' and are absent from 'house' or even 'my house'. Home is a concept, not a place; it's a state of mind where self-definition starts. It is origins, a mix of time and place and smell and weather wherein one first realizes one is an original; perhaps like others, especially those one loves; but discreet, distinct, not to be copied. Home is where one first learned to be separate, and it remains in the mind as the place where reunion, if it were ever to occur, would happen. All literary romance, all romance epic, derives from the Odyssey and it is about going home. It's about rejoining; rejoining a beloved, rejoining parent to child, rejoining a land to its rightful owner or rule. Romance is about putting things aright after some tragedy has put them asunder. It is about restoration of the right relations among things. And 'going home' is where that restoration occurs, because that's where it matters most."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meditations on Home

Today is a beautiful day.  A brilliant sun beckons from its place high in the sky, but the crisp bite of the wind recommends staying inside instead, wrapped in the warmth of home. 

Home, as an idea, has been on my mind lately.

Home is a place that I've left behind, that I'll never quite recapture.  Home is beside my husband, facing a new and unknown future.  Home is with You, and in You, and You inside me.

Home is a 12 x 12 foot box with three windows, a desk, a computer and much work to be done.  Home is a good book.  Home is supper simmering on the stove, sleepy blue eyes over a coffee cup in morning light, four swishing tails and eight pairs of overly-curious, frisky paws.  Home is wrapped under blankets, warmed by the man I chose so well.  Home is with You, and in You, and You inside me.

Home is a place I've left behind, that I'm constantly leaving behind.  Home is a bond that I've severed.  Home is a hand I once held.  Home is the person I used to be.  Home is constant frenetic energy, and trying to keep up.  Home is trying so hard to more, be better, be enough.  Home is a grand gathering, loud voices, lots of laughter, and constant demands.  Home is a tight hug after a long, honest cry.  Home is with You, and in You, and You inside me.

Home is a place that I've left behind, that I'm constantly leaving behind.  And home is a place I'm returning to.  Home is the person I want to be, the person I'm becoming.  Home is open arms, open eyes, and an open heart.  Home is moving forward, and sometimes looking wistfully back.  Home is beside my husband, the man I chose so well, looking out at a brilliant and unknown future.  Home is a great, big, wide world to explore and to make my own.  Home is risking and loving, and learning to be unselfish but still maintain my Self. Home is wholeness and healing and tearing down walls.  Home is looking at myself, honestly, and not always liking what I see.  Home is being loved and challenged, held and pushed.  Home is reaching out a hand.  Home is being led and being lost.  Home is with You, and in You, and You inside me.

Home is a place I've left behind, that I'm constantly leaving behind.  And home is the place I am always returning to.  Home is right here - wherever You are - and wherever I AM.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Phantom Ache

It happened again
The merest thought of
Streaming through
My consciousness
Just for a second

A glimpse
A scent
A question
Always unanswered

What might have been

Sharp stab
Gone in a second
Not even time
To stop it
Guard myself against it
Recognize it
No denying it

And even though
My love for him is so great
And I don't miss you
From time to time
Just for a second

I still feel the ache
Like a limb long-sawn
Twitching with grief
And the longing
For you

Friday, November 13, 2009

On Being Boring and Growing Old

My baby brother has been in town quite a bit lately.  Baby?  He's 25, but whatever.  He's hit a rough patch and I'm all too happy that he's able to come and crash in our guest room on the weekends, to find refuge, and talk or not talk, to have time to figure things out.

What's bothering me a little, is how boring my life must seem through his eyes.  He was in town all weekend last weekend.  We ate, we watched TV and movies, I ran a few errands on Saturday.  And by 10:30 on Saturday night, Keith and I were both ready to wind down and get ready for bed.  We have a nightly ritual of reading for a couple of hours, after our TV shows have been watched and before turning in for the day.  And  not having this ritual really throws me off.  So when my brother is staying up watching movies, taking up the corner of the couch that I usually occupy, filling the house with surround sound, I find myself momentarily resenting the intrusion.  And then I think, my God, am I really that old?!?!  And boring?

And the truth is, I am.  I've never really been a super social person.  I don't generally enjoy going out to bars or clubs.  I'm an introvert and I love the quiet life we live.  I love the stillness- the peace between us and around us.  I love that we don't have to be constantly going and doing in order to enjoy ourselves and each other.  The best of our days are made up of quiet moments and a constant steadiness.  We grocery shop, we cook, we spend time with friends, we watch our shows (our shows, even that makes us sound like septuagenarians) and after a long full day's work, that's about all I want or need.  At the end of my day, what I want most is to sit by my man with a book in my hand until I fall asleep on his lap and he puts me to bed.  And I'm satisfied with that.

So compared to my brother, and his tumultuous, passionate life filled with anguish and conflict, Keith and I probably do seem a bit of a yawn.  But we're also the place he retreats to when he needs to rest and refreshment.  And though he may think we're exceedingly dull, I've never heard him complain.  Maybe there's a legitimate need for old and boring in his life.  I like to think so.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monsters in the Deep

Sometimes I wonder if I stand to close to the darkness.
I've never, ever been afraid of those still, deep waters.
But there are monsters in the deep, and God knows what else.

When I see you standing there, poised on the edge.
When you flounder and splash, when you start to go under,
do I have any other choice but to dive in?

I can't drag you out anymore.
I can't swim for both of us.
But I can join you there.
You will not be alone.

There are monsters in the deep.
And God knows what else.
But I can't just leave you there.
And I am not afraid.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm In Love, I'm In Love, I'm In Love . . .

With the entire line of earrings currently at Banana Republic.
So unique, so pretty, so vintage glam.  And, sadly, so pricey.
(At least for my meager budget)

Here's a quick sampling:

And many, many more.  We wants them, my precious!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Plum Confused

We popped into Barnes & Noble the other day to pick up copy of the old "Where the Wild Things Are" Naturally, we have to get one before everything goes completely Hollywood-ified and there are no unsullied, original copies left.  Not that we didn't love the movie.  We loved  the movie.  We just want to keep a copy of the book as we originally experience it.  For posterity.  And because we love it.  And for the future children we hope to have someday.  But not too soon.  But we don't want to wait too long either, because we are not spring chickens and neither of us is getting any younger.  But my husband needs to finish school.  And get a job.  Which means we'll probably be moving and  . . .  I digress.  This is not a post about "Where the Wild Things Are" or about the timing of our procreative plans.

So, Barnes & Noble.  As we walked past the bargain bins just inside the front door, my eye was caught by the glossy bright cover of the latest Stephanie Plum novel marked down to the basement price of only $6.99.  Truly a steal, especially since I've been waiting all summer to read it, but can't bear to part with the full hard-cover price for something that is admittedly not much more than a guilty pleasure read, being quite entertaining but having no true literary merit.

Feeling smug and superior, I scooped it up along with a pristine and unaltered-by-the-glamour-of-fame copy of "Where the Wild Things Are" and proceeded home to the couch for some blissful reading time under my Snuggie.  (Mine is leopard print.  They are truly the most amazingest things in the world!  Trust.  Though I  I still prefer the term Slanket over Snuggie.)  Somewhere around page fifty I found myself thinking, Well this seems familiar.  Someone is CLEARLY running out of fresh ideas.   At a hundred and fifty pages, after predicting an outlandish plot twist miles before I should have been able to see it coming, comprehension dawned.

The newest Stephanie Plum novel, "Finger-Lickin' Fifteen" is still only to be found at full and exorbitant hard-cover price.  I mistakenly snagged the previous novel, "Fearless Fourteen."  Which, of course, I have already read and devoured.  Right after paying full, hard-cover price for it.  I still finished the re-read anyway.

The moral of the story?  Just pay full price for the damn book when you want it or you will find yourself confused, bereft, and buying it twice.  Or you know, check the cover more carefully?  Or (and this is the most likely) Brooke's mind is so overworked and overloaded it has officially turned into pureed cauliflower and cannot be trusted.  For anything.  Put me in a rubber room.  A rubber room with rats!  Those rats made me crazy . . .

See!?!?  Please help.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Justification for my "Reading Problem"

"Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce every day."

– Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Shadow of the Wind, p. 484


"Literacy is a very hard skill to acquire, and once acquired it brings endless heartache – for the more you read, the more you learn of life's intimidating complexity of confusion.  But anyone who can learn to grunt is bright enough to watch TV... which teaches that life is simple, and happy endings come to those whose hearts are in the right place."

– Spider Robinson

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Little Einstein to Start the Week

“Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Near-ness

"you were ready to go the distance
but you could not go -
you could not go the near-ness"

When I was in high school, and especially in my freshman year at college, I was a huge fan of the crush-from-a-distance. See, I have an incredibly creative and unstoppably overactive imagination. I invent stories, about the people I meet or even just pass by. Elaborate stories. Detailed stories. Fictional stories so real that it's hard for me not to start believing in them. So I can watch someone from afar for a while and start to feel like I know them. Intimately. Better than they may even know themselves. It happens automatically without my attempting or intending it. It's just part of me, the way I am. Some may see it as a huge flaw in my overall make-up. I happen to love it, as it ensures that my inner musings are almost always generally fantastical and wildly entertaining.

But I must admit there is one draw-back. The persona I end up creating for someone is usually more exciting, more brilliant, more intriguing (and, well, more like me) than the actual person happens to be. And exposing the pretty pictures in my head to a little dose of reality usually equals (for me) crushing disappointment. I have issues - I know - at least I'm aware of it. This disappointment, or the avoidance of it rather, is where the crush-from-a-distance comes in.

I learned pretty quickly that college boys are almost always a disappointment up close. And I decided I would rather preserve the illusions in my head than come face-to-face with a reality that would shatter them. So I would crush on a boy - hard - but never attempt to actually meet him, much less talk to or get to know him. I would watch him with his friends, notice the foods he selected from the cafeteria line, the queer way he held his fork in his hands, that t-shirt that consistently made a bi-weekly appearance - and each of these clues told me something more about him in the fantasy world of my imaginings. I could tell we were perfect for each other. Too bad he would never know it.

I've learned in the last six months that being married is sort of . . . not at all like the crush-from-a-distance. Marriages is all about the near-ness. Living your life smushed up next to someone there's no room for pretending the object of your affection is anything more or less than exactly what he/she is - not if you want real intimacy and authenticity with someone. And I do. Some of the greatest growth in my life over the last five or so years has been learning to be real, and to value an other's realness. And it's hard - to love someone so much, to be so close to them, to have lives so fundamentally, inescapably entwined - and yet also give that someone room to be a real, full self - a wholly other person.

So, I've eye-rolled lately that farts and burps are the new soundtrack of my life and I tease my husband about his stinky butt. I sometimes find him completely exasperating, though he is amazing, kind, brilliant, etc....because my husband is also infinitely more real (and really flawed) than any fairy-tale Prince Charming. But I love the near-ness. I love how unvarnished we are - even when it frustrates or hurts. I think loving and being loved is a lot like being ripped apart and put back together again. All the ugly, all the beauty - nothing hidden and nothing faked - coming to the surface, coming together to make something strong and wise and beautiful and good.

There have been several really great, I-could-almost-marry-this-guy relationships in my adult life. Times where I moved beyond the crush-at-a-distance factor and gave reality a shot. They all ended, though, because "he just couldn't/didn't see me." Though I couldn't put it in words at the time, what I was lamenting was the lack of near-ness. I knew those guys, wonderful as they were, would never come all the way in. And I knew I would never have the courage to stand naked and open and vulnerable and unadorned before them. As much as it has terrified me - still does most days - I need that way more than I need a romanticized version of my childhood Prince Charming. I need the near-ness. And in the messy, busy, real day-to-day romance of our life together - I find it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Quick Little Life Update

Life has been incredibly busy and crazy of late, in ways that I'm not used to. Recent highlights that stick out in my mind:

- Celebrating my wonderful husband's birthday with all of our wonderful friends.
- A lazy 3-day weekend that afforded me time to, not only catch up on some rest, but also actually get some things done around the house as well (usually it's one or the other, I can never seem to manage both in a regular 2-day weekend).
- The sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing I've done a job well. And the relief that comes from knowing it's over!
- The opportunity to enroll in a graduate level literature class at Baylor- for FREE!

I don't really feel like there are specific lows right now. Lately the majority of my days feel like a jumbled haze of busy-ness mashed together with no end. I just feel in general like I'm not living my life well, like holding on by my fingernails is sort of the best I can do right now. And it's hard to be satisfied with that. I want more free-time, and more friend-time and more play-time. I want to take better care of my house and my husband and myself. I've been stretched too thin which leads to being over-emotional and generally exhausted and when all's said and done it's just not a very fun way to live.

Here's hoping the crazy slows down soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What's with all the yelling?

My husband loves talk radio. We listen to a fair amount of it in the car. It's set on his alarm clock - his alarm clock on his side of the bed. It wakes us up every morning. Every. Single. Morning. With the yelling and the opining and the pontificating. It's the first thing I hear every day. And here's what I don't understand.


Why do people enjoy talk radio? It seem like no matter how much I listen to it, no matter which host, no matter what viewpoint they espouse, it is essentially exactly the same thing over and over. There's the doom and gloom, the government's going to hell in a hand basket, no one knows what they're doing. But never any suggestions on how to fix it. There's lots of I know everything, everyone with a differing opinion is stupid. They invite people to call in, and people continue to do it, just to give enough of their thoughts to make them look like an idiot, then the host runs over every attempt they make to say anything else, continues to belittle and berate, reinforces his own point of view and disconnects to wait for the next caller.

And then there's the yelling. My God, the yelling. Who wants to hear that much yelling? Why? Why the yelling? And why all the listening to all the yelling? They rant and yell and rave and it's the equivalent of me TYPING IN ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME!!! WITH LOTS! OF! EXCLAMATION! POINT! ABUSE!!!! You don't want to read ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME. Why would you want to get yelled at by a condescending, know-it-all talk radio host?

I used to think that the only people who got really into talk radio were the just-educated-enough-but-still-completely-ignorant kind of people who hold opinions rather than form them. Those people who are completely threatened by hearing something expressed that might shake or challenge their worldview and who enjoy hearing their opponents be eviscerated. The people who just want to hear their beliefs reinforced over and over again at highest volume. These were the only people I could conceive of as fans of talk radio.

But my husband is bright, brilliant even, extremely open-minded. He thinks freely and well and he doesn't hold to a single belief (that I've encountered at least) that hasn't been tested and examined and thoroughly thought out. He's not a steam-roller engaging others in argument merely for the joy of crushing them. He likes dialogue about ideas, conversations that turn the tables. He's good at putting himself in other people's shoes.

So I really don't understand his obsession with talk radio. Maybe he really does just like being yelled at.

Monday, July 20, 2009

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."

- M. Scott Peck

Monday, July 6, 2009

Why My Husband Is The Best Ever

Any one who knows even the most basic thing about me will know that I'm recently married to the MOST perfect-for-me man imaginable. He is incredible, and I'm lucky in a way that I never believed would be possible. And since he rarely gets the kind of credit he really deserves, I'm devoting one entire post to him and his awesomeness. Warning: this may get sappy. I will attempt restraint, but I make no promises.

My husband is rather reserved, unassuming, sincere. He almost always says only exaclty what he means. No fluff. No unnecessary flattery. Although he's pretty good at the necessary flattery when I demand it.

He shows very little on the surface. Husband is not a heart-on-sleeve kind of guy. But those who know him well (and I'm one of the lucky ones who can make that claim) are aware that he feels very, very deeply. He rarely if ever verbally expresses it, but this man has a capacity for love that I find staggering. And his understanding of and ability to extend grace have taught me what it means to be loved unconditionally in experience and action, not just words.

Ask him how long we've been married and it takes him a cool 2.3 seconds to rattle of not just the number of months and days, but even proceed to precise hours and minutes if I don't shush him fast enough. (I only shush him to avoid the guilt of knowing it took me nearly two years of dating for me to finally nail the anniversary of our official first date. Incidentally, it's April 4th...wait, no....6th. Damn.)

Have I mentioned his brilliance? He has a mind that is - words literlly escape me. I've tried 14 different adjectives here, then erased them all. There isn't a word in the English language (at least not that I'm aware of) that can cover it. And strings of adjectives are boring and long, so I'll spare you. Suffice it to say he is smart, witty, funny - here I go with the lists of adjectives I already promised I wouldn't go into.

I never, ever get tired of talking to him. We have ridiculously long talks that always begin and end too late at night and though I will whine and grumble and claim to hate him for it the next morning at 6:00 am, those talks are one of my favorite parts of the life we've made together.

My husband is very, very patient with me. I could elaborate, but if you know me, you'll know why I need such patience, why it's so essential to a man loving me. If you don't know me, well, you're better off not knowing this part. Trust me.

I am going long and getting goopy so let me quickly add just a few more things. Beautiful blue eyes, the sweetest smile, an obession with languages, and Battlestar Galactica, and Alias, and the Lord of the Rings. A hunger for truth and for true relationship with God, not just empty religion or staid traditions. A tendency to spend time entertaining the most important of life's questions. A quiet determination, a tenacity when it comes figuring things out. Broad shoulders, quick wit, love of four-legged furry meowing things. Exquisite taste in books, music and movies (most of the time).

He has been brave enough to look at all of me - not just the best and brightest in me, but the parts that others shrink from, the parts that I hide from everyone else - and he has somehow managed to make me feel like he accepts and loves it all. I hope I do the same for him every day of the rest of our lives.

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down!" I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

~Robert Frost

Friday, July 3, 2009

Are you worried sick about me too?
Worried sick?
Or maybe just plain sick of me?

Having seen more most-of-me than any other, is it too much?
I've invited you to drink deepest of a sick-sweet poison.
We may both be consumed.
Will it kill us?

I think I was already destroyed.

A visitor to my most tender places
The most intimate spaces, dangerous and raw
You can go home anytime you like
You may choose to abide instead
What happens if you don't?
What happens if you do?

Do you want to?

I think I want you to...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

– Sir Francis Drake
who sailed in 1577.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


A priceless, perfect locket deep-buried in its chest
Two hearts of gold shield gems untold
A treasure to beget

It's lengths of chain lie tangled - matted knots within their depths
I pluck at strands with unsure hands
I cannot wear it yet

Plied with trembling fingers now another link is freed
Sweet urgency burns hot in me
A triumph laced with greed

In clumsy haste it tumbles, scatters, crashes to the floor
What's left to me now seems to be
More hopeless than before

Return it to the coffin-box shoved down between the folds
Still jewel-bright dreams wink up at me
Each beckoning - "Take hold!"

Destined for priceless, perfect rest, bright-gleaming on my breast
It still needs such untangling
I cannot wear it yet

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Longer a Cherry

I'm starting a new blog....primarily because my old one won't transfer access to my new email address and my new name. But also because...a lot of things are new right now. New email address, new name, new home, new family.... I'm not a Cherry anymore. I'm now a Reich.

It seems appropriate to turn a page and start a new chapter with a new blog.

That's all for now. More later.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man -- you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind -- I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that. One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.

I think that we may safely trust a good deal more than we do. We may waive just so much care of ourselves as we honestly bestow elsewhere. Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength. The incessant anxiety and strain of some is a well-nigh incurable form of disease. We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do; and yet how much is not done by us! or, what if we had been taken sick? How vigilant we are! determined not to live by faith if we can avoid it; all the day long on the alert, at night we unwillingly say our prayers and commit ourselves to uncertainties. So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre. All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.

From Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Bride

On Friday Mom and Maid of Honor were in town for my bridal portraits. Truth is, I had been ridiculously nervous about his. Ridiculously. As in, the amount of nerves were ridiculous and also, in retrospect, what a silly thing to be nervous about! Putting on a gorgeous dress, spending half the day pampering and beautifying myself (or even better, paying someone else to do the pampering and beautifying for me- thanks Joy!!), and spending the other half of the day mugging in front of the camera with a bunch of beautiful props including the most beautiful bouqet of red flowers (did I mention they're called "Cherry Love" roses- how perfect?!?)....what girl in her right mind wouldn't love that?

And I guess that's it right there that identifies the danger and the trap that brides tend to fall into. "What woman in her right mind.?" Most women aren't in their right mind half the time. And before anyone gets snitty with me about being down on women or anything like that, just hear me out. We have all these emotions and horomones and pressures and responsibilities and expectations flooding us from within and without. There's a reason women are generally better at multi-tasking than men- it's because we've had to be.

And The Bride, well, she's supposedly the be-all, end-all of all of those emotions and horomones and pressures and responsibilities and expectations, both from within and without. There's an incredible amount of pressure on The Bride to be the most perfect of perfect version of herself that she ever has, can, or will be. Bridal magazines are full to two things: 1) advertisements of perfect, beautiful, impossibly airbrushed women and 2)articles detailing all the many ways you must begin perfecting yourself- NOW! -if you intend to be The Bride.

The second that ring slips on your finger you're apparently supposed to drop 100 pounds, perfectly tone every inch of your body, bleach your teeth to a blinding white, remove any and all surface hair from your body in the most painful way possible, schedule weekly faces to make your skin taught, dewy, soft, blemish-free, wrinkle-free, glowy but still shine-free, etc....

You should also start getting manicures every day because people are going to be looking at your ring and God forbid they notice a chip in your nail polish or snag on your cuticle (this for a girl who normally eschews nail polish all together), cram 1,000 hours of planning into each 24 hour day (yeah, go ahead and quit your job, it's normal for people to take off several months before the wedding), stretch a $10,000 budget to cover a $500,000 three-ring circus of a wedding (don't forget the ringmaster, the tent, the clowns or the lions), deep condition your hair twice a day, cut out sodas, cut out sugar, cut out fat, cut out carbs, cut out meat, hell, you might as well just go ahead and cut out eating altogether and while you're at it, forget the idea of sleeping ever again until after the hoopla is all over and done with.

And finally, make sure every single person you've ever known, ever, in your entire life, recieves a wedding invitation and make sure that every single person who might consider themselves a friend or family to you in some form or fashion has a special role to play, complete with specially assigned dress, shoes, hairstyle and underwear plus a very cute, catchy and creative title to set them apart. This is because no one on the face of the planet should ever have to have their delicate feelings hurt in any way whatsoever and it is The Bride's mission to make sure this doesn't happen.

I'm ranting now, but I have a point, which is that there's a lot of pressure and expectation wrapped up in being The Bride and no matter how level-headed, down-to-earth, laid-back and practical you may be, if you are a bride then at some timre or other you will find yourself feeling totally overwhelmed as you realize that you've become caught up in some futile and ultimately foolish attempt to be The Bride.

And that's where the ridiculous comes in. Because none of it actually matters that much. Sure, every bride wants to be beautiful, but she needn't worry about it because there exists a wondeful magic that means every bride is beautiful! And it doesn't come from any amount of beauty treatment, body sculpting or brand-name couture. It comes from the exquisite joy of joining your life with the one you've chosen- your partner, your lover, your best friend, your biggest fan. This is the one who will stand witness to your life, who will challenge you to learn and grow, who will help you rub all your rough places smooth and all your smooth places polished while you do the same for him. And that- that knowledge, that secret sureness, which everyone else can see on your face but no one else can really know or understand -that is what makes a bride positivey glow with radiant beauty.

And that's how I felt on Friday, positively aglow with beauty from without and within. I felt showered, bathed in the light of the love of my family and friends- and of course my fiance. And I felt, strange as this may be, more closely connected to some deep, still well of inner beauty, some soul-light that I usually have trouble drawing from even though I know that it's there. It felt like rivers flowing forth that day instead. I'm excited for more of that feeling, that heart-light feeling. I hope it flows over those around me too. I want everyone to know what it should really feel like to be The Bride.