Thursday, December 25, 2008

New Moon

25 December 2008, 1:07 PM
Since I first begain writing, the moon has always held a very specific meaning for me, and for reasons I can't really explain in a public forum, I have used it less and less over the last two years as a symbol in my poetry. Today, I redefined the moon.

No one would disparage the mutual influence,
subtle yet inexorable. The Sea is the Sea,
The Moon is the Moon, the two indivisibly
intertwingled, undiminished by his sway.
She has never been subdued by this drawing
and releasing. He gently pulls upon the tides,
makes her more, not less, than what she is.
As he pulls away, the tides pull back
to follow, woo him back again.


by Steven Curtis Chapman

One of us is crying as our hopes and dreams are led away in chains
and we're left on our own.
One of us is dying as our love is slowly lowered in the grave
and we're left all alone.
But for all of us who journey through the dark abyss of loneliness
there comes a great announcement: We are never alone.
The Maker of each heart that breaks,
the Giver of each breath we take, has come to earth
and given hope its birth.

Our God is with us, Emmanuel
He's come to save us, Emmanuel
And we will never face life alone
now that God has made himself known as Father and Friend
with us through the end--Emmanuel

He spoke in prophets' voices and He showed Himself in a cloud of fire
but no one had seen His face
until the One Most Holy revealed to us His perfect heart's desire
and left His rightful place
And in one glorious moment all Eternity was shaken
as God broke through the darkness that had kept us apart
And with love that conquers loneliness, and hope that fills all emptiness
He came to earth to show our worth

Our God is with us, Emmanuel
He's come to save us, Emmanuel
And we will never face life alone
now that God has made himself known as Father and Friend
with us through the end--Emmanuel

So Rejoice! O, rejoice!
Emmanuel has come

I love this song. On Chapman's Christmas album The Music of Christmas, it follows directly his rendition of O Come O Come Emmanuel, and the juxtaposition of the two, and of the phrases "Emmanuel shall come" and "Emmanuel *has* come" in the first and second songs, respectively, has always struck me as profound, if a bit obvious. Of course He has come! But I'm reminded all the time now what it means, and what messes can be redeemed by His human life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Come, Lord Jesus

O come, O come Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here,
until the son of God appear.

O come, thou Dayspring, come an cheer
our spirits by Thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and Death's dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Sung by Steven Curtis Chapman here. The video is tripe, but the song is wonderful.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas

I always take these posts by Ruth as an invitation to go and find out what kind of *fill in the blank* I am. This one's a little different from the others, but here it is.

You Can Say "Merry Christmas" in 10 Languages

You can say "Merry Christmas" in:











Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BAHA continued and, hopefully, concluded.

Well, that was relatively easy, though not exactly painless.

The lady at the doctor's office who handles pre-certs for surgeries called us back. It turns out that after receiving my husband's research and letter of appeal, the agent at Anthem BCBS realized that our policy is black and white on this issue. She agrees that the procedure is covered and she spent a good amount of time profusely apologizing for having been rude and sarcastic on the phone when she was rejecting our claim a week ago. Regardless of the outcome of the discussion, I think the snark was entirely unnecessary.

I would think insurance companies would require their agents to know the policies backward and forward. Regardless, the surgery is on, and by March of 2009, my Beloved will be able to hear the world in stereo again. I'm so excited.

It appears that folks are right--it is indeed the job of insurance agents to reject claims. My husband will be posting his appeal letter and his research on the subject of BAHA implants on his website in the not too distant future. When he does, I'll post a link here as well.

Please do the research if your claim is rejected. If you're paying insurance premiums, you have a right to coverage, but it's possible your agents may just be "doing their job" in hopes that you'll go away, and they won't *actually* have to do their job.

American Beauty

Ok, so maybe today is the day for irritated posts.

I don't have to read the caption for this picture. I know who all of these women are. And I remember quite clearly when Christy Brinkley was Jennifer Aniston's age. I remember when folks believed she didn't need air-brushing in order to be The Covergirl.

I know that if I were completely ignorant of those three faces, I would assume they were all about the same age. And that really disturbs me. It should disturb us all. There's no mystery as to where our eating disorders and penchants for plastic surgery and liposuction originate, and these women feel it, or will at some point feel it, keenly. They're America's sweethearts, and we all expect them to be thin, beautiful, unwrinkled, ungreyed, so that we know it's possible, and we have an icon toward which to strive.

There are so many virtues which are more worthy of our attention, and there is so much more to our persons than our shape, our hair color, or the firmness of our biceps.

A really interesting article, which I picked up on bloglines from my sister-in-law's post today, can be found here. We--perhaps I should be honest and say "I", because I don't know many people who struggle more with body image than I do--have got to find the proper context and importance of physical beauty.


My husband lost his hearing 25 years ago, when he had a cholesteatoma removed from his ear canal. The tumor had grown around his ear drum, so after the surgery, he was suddenly and quite completely deaf on his left side. The doctor who did the surgery was a pioneer in his field, and during the procedure, my husband received what was, at the time, an experimental bone-conduction hearing implant. It took the form of a screw placed in his skull and under the skin of the scalp. There was an amplifier which was carried in his breast pocket and attached to the screw via a magnet at the end of a long wire running from the unit. The screw in his skull acted as a surrogate eardrum, conducting sound through the bone to his inner ear. It wasn't ideal, but at least he could hear.

Alas, that hearing aid stopped working about 5 years ago, before I'd even met him, and he's struggled with single sided deafness, and no options, ever since.

A few months ago, we began investigating the possibility of a new kind of implant--a BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Appliance), since the old implant is now completely obsolete. My husband went through all the preliminary steps, saw the doctor, got on the January schedule for the surgery, and cleared up his perpetual ear infection. The doctor's office contacted our insurance company (Anthen BCBS) and it seemed all systems were go. We were excited. The kids were excited (no more, "I'm sorry, sweetheart, but what happens when you whipser in my left ear?" "Nothing, daddy.") We were going to meet our entire deductible for the calendar year, but it was worth it.

Last week, the doctor's office called and said our insurance company had denied payment for the surgery. Hearing aids aren't covered, they said. Immediately, we traded hope for disappointment and anger.

Then we started our research again, because we were told by several people that the job of health insurance agents is to reject claims. We discovered that while there is an exclusion explicitly stated in our insurance coverage, there is also an exception listed within the exclusion: "Hearing aids are not covered, unless otherwise specified within this policy." It took only a little more work to discover that there are at least two places in the policy pamphlet where the BAHA and like appliances are covered.

We spoke with the bulldog at the doctor's office, a very kind but tenacious woman who is, fortunately, very much on our side in this. She is now embroiled in a lively discussion with our insurance company, armed with my husband's research and the appeal letter he wrote yesterday.

He has a pre-surgery appointment today, and we have no way of knowing yet whether or not the insurance company will cover it. It's just maddening, that the folks whom we pay hundreds and thousands of dollars every year, these folks that we'd like to believe are working for us and not against us, are actively working against my husband's needs. I'm aware it's not personal. For them. But for us, it's very personal. I don't know what it's like to go through a single day, let alone 25 years, with single-sided deafness. But I know it keeps my husband in chains, and I know Anthem has the power to remove those chains. Isn't this one of the reasons why we have health insurance?

Friday, December 12, 2008


12 December 2008
chimera: noun: a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.
inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith

This House is...
should have been built on Sanity,

but even a foothold is rare purchase.
At least the Cornerstone sits solidly
upon rock-hard, sound rationality--
he does not wander. The Little Ones go,
return again, find the House
in need of repair, but standing,
safe and warm, sheltering,
in her right mind.


12 December 2008
inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith

That face is almost visible
still, after all these years. Time
claims not the victory. and when he does,
I’ll still remember. Some things are etched
on firmer mettle than stone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blogging military brats

I love this website, though browsing it is not for the dull of mind or, at times, the weak of stomach. One post in particular was amusing to me, being a military brat:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cynicism vs. naivete

The experience I described in my thumbring post has left me with some very uneasy feelings. I tend to be a bit reactionary in matters pertaining to affronted sexuality. Chauvinism of any kind absolutely gets my hackles up, even on the occasions when it slips past my filters and I am the offender.

Sometimes, though, an offense has long been committed before we even become aware of it, or like yesterday we become aware of it once it's in progress, and we may already have participated in creating what seems to be an awkward and demeaning situation. In such circumstances, I'm not sure if I should assume the worst and feel bad when folks prove me wrong, or assume the best and feel naive and stupid when they live up to the nastiness of which all humans, both male and female, are capable.

Regardless of which way I fall, cynicism or naivete, there's always room for vigilance and guarding of my person so that I would be less likely to find myself in situations where my judgment or the integrity or character of another person are compromised. This sort of caution doesn't have to be the function of cynicism at the one extreme or naivete at the other. It's just plain good sense.

Was it foolish for me to accept a cup of coffee and friendly conversation yesterday from a seemingly benign local business owner? I wasn't looking for trouble, and I assumed he wasn't either. So I did accept the cup of coffee. I guess in doing so I erred on the side of trust. After all, it is *possible* he was simply warning me, in a fatherly way, of the possibility of mis-communicating to other men who might be less kind. Perhaps the trustworthiness I assumed was not ill-placed. At this point, I really have no idea what to think about him. I'm just trying to sort out how I got as far into the situation as I did without realizing that maybe I shouldn't have been there at all.

Unfortunately, because I wasn't suspicious of him nor particularly on guard for myself, I can't remember how things unfolded well enough to judge if I practiced good boundaries or not. If I didn't, I guess next time there must be a better way to carry myself. If I did, then maybe I can stop fretting and be glad that whether or not the man's intentions were honorable, I left with my honor intact. While it would be nice to be able to trust other people always to treat me with the respect every person deserves, there's just no substitute for personal propriety.

Batik, a poem

3 December 2008

These days, my hands are dirty
often, alternately orange, raging red
or indigo, depending on which image
I’m liberating. I imagine there’s someone
within my spheres of influence
who would be ill-disposed to appear
in public with dark half-moons
of dye in the beds of her fingernails,
the intricate swirl-tracings
on each fingertip, these signs of what I do,
who I am. When they fade,
the time has come to find another
medium by which Reality may find
the light, Shadows may be put to flight.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith

It’s a precarious thing,
floating un-buoyed on perceptions
of a man’s integrity, character
which might change course
at any moment. Yet the constant,
the one thing unchanging, is you.

While the tent-poles of manhood fall,
all around, all around,
you remain. You may yet fall,
and you can fall,

but not here, Beloved.

Here of all places I need you
to stand-- take up the Center-pole,
give me space to stand, not to fall.
Give me space to learn to trust
your mettle after all.


30 November 2008, 6:35 PM
inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith

Some days everything feels
big, insatiable, unkind. I think
mostly Perspective is to blame--
tonight, all things feel
surmountable, and a pint is more than
enough to satisfy my appetite.

Batik 2

Another go at batik. I plan to take both of these and apply other colors, but I ran out of dye today.


A new medium for me. I found the dragon image online and tweaked it a little. Batik is not as complicated as I tried to make it once I realized it wasn't as simple as I thought it was... a rather confounded way of saying that it was both harder and easier than I'd expected. It takes patience and a steady hand, but the results are quite rewarding. The one thing I need to do is crinkle it better, so that the crackled effect of the dye comes through more. All in all, though, I'm very happy with this.

Sometimes a ring is just a ring...

I like jewelry. I'm particularly fond of rings. Earrings, toe rings, finger rings, thumb rings, etc.

I had the interesting and extremely uncomfortable experience today of having a complete stranger, a man old enough to be my father, misinterpret my wearing of my husband's class ring on my thumb. Apparently in some circles, a thumb ring is a signal that one is open to elicit activities. I wish someone had warned me ahead of time. I left the situation feeling violated and quite naive, because while I assumed the best and thought the man was being kind, it became apparent to me after an extended conversation that there was an expectation I was not fulfilling. It wasn't even on my radar until he made it explicit.

I'm left in a bit of a conundrum. I wear a lot of jewelry. I almost never leave the house without earrings, a necklace, at least two rings and maybe 4 or 5, etc. I've never had an experience like I had today related to symbolism in subcultures of which I am largely unaware. Do I stop wearing what I now understand to be suggestive jewelry, at least among some obscure subset of my culture, even if it holds powerful symbolism to me personally that has nothing to do with the expectations of predatory men?


Sunday, November 30, 2008


30 November 2008, 10 AM
It is exceedingly important that we learn the forms, and not only the foliage, of Love, so that when the dead of winter comes, we can recognize the naked tree for what it is.

The leaves will fall from our tree
out back every year. I was caught
unawares this morning by bare
white branches, but I know
what sort of tree we planted,
budding or dormant in snow.

This is not blind faith.

Even if you fall, you’ll find your feet
again, take my hand,
walk up the stairs behind me,
aware that by your love,
and you by mine,
we walk or run or fall.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Sculpture

I am *all* sculpted out for a while, but very pleased with the results of today's work.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What kind of sandwich are you?

Ruth- I promise I only filled out the questionnaire once. ;-)

You Are a Club Sandwich

You are have a big personality. It's hard for anyone to ignore you!

You dream big. You think big. And you eat big.

Some people consider you high maintenance, but you just know what you want... and when you want it.

Your best friend: The Tuna Fish Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Memory of Eden

Inspired by Sting's Desert Rose (read an English translation of the Arabic portions of the lyrics here) and my recent devouring of the Dune series by Frank Herbert.

Have been listening to this song repeatedly as I paint, and in it I hear a lamentation of what was lost in the Fall, and also a search for some shadow of that intimacy in romantic love. His metaphors are poignant, the imagery dances in the mind as he sings--an unmistakably masculine expression of something beautiful and tragic.

One of my favorite images in the song is that of his visions of Paradise being "tied to a horse that will never tire." They are moving swiftly--and ever away from him. The search has no end. But the thing-searched-for is so alluring and provocative that he cannot cease to search.

I have too much time on my hands...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bizarre clothing

I had the unfortunate experience yesterday of perusing the "aisles", so called, of Burlington [Bizarre Clothing] Factory. I went looking for, go figure, a coat for my daughter.

It took me at least ten minutes to find evidence of a coat section, because it was completely hidden behind the bedlam of "MEN'S FASHIONS", "WOMEN'S FASHIONS" and "BABY OUTLET" signs, and there was no sign whatsoever of organization to these clothing "sections", so-called, until you walked all the way to the back of the store, where the children's clothing is hung haphazardly in aisles, supposedly by size. The children's jackets were against the back wall, also supposedly hung by size, though I had my doubts by the time I left the store in a haze of confusion and psychological turmoil.

It's not just that the items in the store were ill-organized. They were also oddly shaped, leaving me to wonder as I moved from one rack to the next (searching for coats, mind you, and at this point finding none) what manner of human would fit into such a sweater as *this*, or why it was that a designer felt the need further to ruin a completely hideously conceived pair of pleather pants by adorning them with knots of fuchsia faux fur.

I shall never, I repeat *never* darken the door of that horrendous store EVAR AGAIN.

Except for maybe this evening. I need to get my daughter a coat, and I hear it's THE place for that kind of thing. I figure it can't possibly have been as harrowing as I'm remembering it, and I did, eventually, find a couple of coats which might possibly fit the bill for the gril. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back at painting...

My work for today. I started this one last night, late, and finished this morning.

After I finished the one above, I sat for about 45 minutes *trying* to paint, and nothing happened. Well, three or four cruddy paintings happened, one on top of another on a single canvas. I finally set that aside and started fresh on a smaller, square canvas, and this is what I came up with. It's about 5 x 5 inches, so the face was quite a challenge.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mena's Palace, New Orleans French Quarter

I'm in New Orleans with my husband right now, missing our kids but having a pretty good time. Rather than paying $20 each for breakfast this morning at our hotel, we ventured into the French Quarter and found a small establishment on Rue de Chartres (I miss Paris!) called Mena's Palace Restaurant & Bar.

They looked as though they would obviously make the majority of their money in the afternoon and evening, judging from the selection of liquors and beers available. Regardless of when business peaks for them in the course of a day, I am inclined to return for breakfast again sometime this week. The coffee was *very* good, the service was a perfect balance of friendly and unobtrusive, and the food was very tasty and reasonably priced. We cut our expense for breakfast in half and enjoyed a much more interesting and locally flavored environment than we would have in the restaurant at our hotel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Writer's Block

15 October 2008, 7:47 AM

I can feel the banks rising
against this block, brick by brick
damming the mind-flow. Soon
the pond will spill over, or my pen
will explode. Thoughts
become concentrated, like estrogen
in my blood. There is no escape
from the contents of my veins, no running
from the alphabetic pool as my cotton shirt
billows out in watery folds; my jeans
bloat, heavy with drink.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bone Conduction Hearing

My husband is completely deaf in his left ear. Strange and insensitive as this may seem, sometimes I forget this fact. Of course, he can't forget. This is a reality he lives with every minute of every day of his life.

He has an implant from 20 years ago which allowed him to wear a bone-conduction hearing aid, but the technology is so out of date, that implant is now obsolete. But he went to a specialist this week who tested his hearing and took a look at his ear. There's new technology available, and while it requires another surgery, the invasion factor is minimal, and within 4 or 5 months, he could be hearing normally with the help of a BAHA bone conduction device. I'm very excited for him, and I'm amazed by the ways technology is able to help people overcome irreversible handicaps like my husband's.

Read more about my husband's experience and the BAHA device here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Beauty of Ashes

I've updated the website where I post my artwork, Have a look.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Main & Maple

I went to the Main & Maple Cafe in Nicholasville on a lark today while I was there on business. I thought to myself as I walked in that it would be nice to run into someone I know, since I don't make it to Nicholasville very often these days.

I ran into six someones, as a matter of fact. Five of them I haven't really seen much of for about five years, and one I haven't seen at all for at least eight. What surprised me is that, although my relationships with these people were all during the pre-divorce era of my life, it was an absolute pleasure to talk with each of them, and to let them know what's been going on in my life. I find lately that there's just about nothing that can't be transformed and redeemed in time.

Barbara, Dottie, Mary, Dexter, Scott and Cody, it was really great to see you again today.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Man Who Was Thursday

This book by G.K. Chesterton really is tremendous. I'm not sure if I got it the first time around, or the second, or the third, even with the very competent help of my Western Classics professor, Dr. Strait.

However, I finished rereading it just yesterday, and it became so very obvious to me what it was that Chesterton was getting at-- that God is so very big that one rarely gets a full view of Him, and most times what one sees most clearly is the back of Him, which is to say we see Him indirectly, through nature and through human relationships. And sometimes that reality is so difficult to look at, so suffused with suffering and pain, that we begin to believe that's all there is, and goodness must be an illusion.

But at the same time, when we do finally get around to the Front, and we look into the face of God, He is so very good, so very loving, so wonderfully beyond any dream we could have created in our finite minds, that the evil that exists in the world comes to the point of seeming, just for a moment, illusory, or like a cruel game that we have no choice but to watch play out before our eyes.

The difficulty is that both the Good and the Evil are very real and very present. Somewhere in our gut, we know this, and in our desperate attempts to work against the Evil, we often end up fighting each other, seeing devils everywhere, and nowhere. We find when we get right down to Reality, though, that God is not only at the beginning, commissioning and exhorting us to fight whatever evil we can, whensoever we can, by whatever means we can, but He is also in the middle of it, and cannot be ravaged by it as we are. And so He can lead us on through it, by whatever magnificent or ridiculous path He chooses, out the other side, further up and further in to His Goodness which is Paradise.

I found myself on the point of tears listening as Syme, the hero, says, "When I see the horrible back, I am sure the noble face is but a mask. When I see the face but for an instant, I know the back is only a jest. Bad is so bad that we cannot but think good an accident; good is so good that we feel certain that evil could be explained... Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front--"

Dear God, yes. If we could only get around front.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Candles

2 October 2008, 11:00 AM

The candles always meant so much,
lining the walls and lit by my hand
before the others arrived, one for every icon,
pieces of sanity amid chaos--Life Givers.

The icons, the incense, and from day one,
the faces and their unlikely
welcome of one who should have been a thorn
by definition. The people were Christ to me,
have always been, will always be. They welcome

now another thorn. I lit a candle one last time,
prayed they'll love him well, remain
who they've been for me.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sarah "Joe Six-Pack" Palin

Make it stop.


I've read a couple of articles this week which say that Sarah Palin is getting a lot of unfair flack from a series of severly unfortunate interviews which pretty much confirm that she has rarely given a single thought to any political issue which falls outside of the jurisdiction of the Great State of Alaska. They say that Joe Biden has flown safely under the radar recently, because of Palin's very bad, very loud press, but that he is just as prone to political blunders in interviews as she is. This video from warns that Joe Biden has a fine line to walk with Sarah Palin in tonight's debate, and that the American public should not underestimate Palin's debates skills, nor her odds of coming out on top.

To compare Sarah Palin's blunders of galactic political ignorance with Joe Biden's lack of verbal filters seems a bit ridiculous to me.

First of all, I've seen a few of what the press dubs some of Joe Biden's biggest gaffes. The comment about his opponent's wife was entirely uncalled for. He should know better, I don't care if he was kidding. But the other "gaffes" in the video above don't strike me as such at all. The first, his one-word answer to a question regarding criticism he has received about his tendency toward verbosely putting his foot in his mouth, was clever and funny, and there was really no other way for him to answer without doing exactly what detractors say he is prone to do. The second, "Some things are worth losing an election over..." strikes me as a statement of conviction that any politician should hold to, and that doesn't strike me as politically incorrect or blundersome. It strikes me as a sign that although he can be very brash, he has some notion of integrity of which he is not ashamed.

On the other side of the fence, I have no doubt that, when informed on the issues, Sarah Palin is a formidable opponent. However, I have seen no evidence whatsoever that she has ever given enough thought to national politics or foreign affairs to be able to hold a firmly grounded opinion *of her own* on any of the very pressing issues involved in this year's election. NO EVIDENCE. They can coach her and she can cram all the information into her head that will possibly fit in a few months' time, but that cramming and coaching will not make up for the fact that she has been fundamentally ignorant of history, politics and political issues up until the point that she was asked to be McCain's running mate. In my opinion, she had no business accepting the nomination.

I'm not a democrat. For that matter, I'm not a republican. But while I had been seriously considering the 3rd party tickets, and still am, I'm almost frightened to contribute to the 3rd Party Phenomenon if it means that I'll be taking votes away from Obama, and thus helping to give the election to McCain and Palin. This "[Jo] Six-Pack" has *serious* reservations about contributing to putting her, and the man who's judgment saw fit to choose her, in office.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Politics

Is it just me, or do Katy Couric and David Letterman seem to have a stronger hold on the issues than Sarah Palin? I think I would be scared witless if I were her. But then, she accepted the nomination. I guess she signed up to play with the Big People. That interview was painful to watch.

I have wondered recently why it is that Condoleeza Rice wasn't chosen. She would have served every purpose Sarah Palin has served, only she would have served so much more competently, and she would have been a political force to reckon with in her own right. I don't know if Rice would have secured my vote (I have become increasingly disillusioned with both the Republican and the Democratic parties), but Palin has certainly lost it.

Monday, September 29, 2008


29 September 2008, 10:55 PM

He asked me to make him pancakes,
and somewhere inside I sighed a deep,
exhausted sigh- I had wanted to sleep
until the last possible moment tomorrow.
Getting up in time for breakfast robs me
of fifteen minutes of comfort and home
in my warm bed that I won't ever get back.

But outwardly I smiled, said yes,
and my affirmation opened a door into
the broken heart of a little boy,
made a way in the wilderness for my son
to say the words I knew would come
the day his father left, the day I knew
we would never come back,
and we all were surely better for it.

My son told me a story with his eyes
and tears which, for now, did not fall
because while other places seem less so,
this house will always be home.
I make him pancakes, and by this simple
(if sometimes grudging) act, he knows.
He knows my love for him.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall of Night

28 September 2008, 9:06 PM

I wonder where she's been- the Poet
who used to come alive so easily.
On hiatus, leaving me to find
the words with which to paint a picture
of the cornflower sky today, and the little
girl, the little boy, competing so violently
for me, for you, for whatever patch
of territory might be claimed by one
or the other. And in the midst of chaos

does the poet crouch upon her haunches,
waiting to pounce from the darkness,
take me by surprise, remind me
poetry dwells in the most unexpected
places of the Darkness, of the Light,
of the interplay of both, and the radiant
palette of sunset ere the fall of night.

Stranger in a Foreign Land

28 September 2008, 6:05 PM

Worship is, or should be,
a familiar experience. That's how
the Sacred makes her way into
a heart- through the vein of gentle,
meaningful repetition of Truth.
Faces, as much as words, convey
the gravity, and the joy,
of understanding the Story is bigger
than we are, and yet it is very much
Who We Are. Something is missing,

out of place when the faces we know
are miles away, and the melodies
of the Holy Place are not our own.
Of course, every Home was once
a Foreign Land, and some things alien
may, with time, become ourselves.

They may.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thoughts Political

I find myself in a conundrum for the upcoming election, and because of a comment thread I read online yesterday, I'm beginning to understand why.

In a conversation on Facebook, TJ Schwab was discussing the unconstitutionality of Roe v. Wade. Hear me-- he was not debating the highly emotional issue of abortion itself, and I have no idea what his position on the issue is. What I find incredibly freeing is that in this instance, it really doesn't matter. He was commenting solely on the fact that Roe v. Wade is a prime example of the federal government passing judgment and creating precedences which pave the road to unconstitutional federal laws.

But the gist of it is, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade on the 14th amendment, even though at the time that the 14th amendment was ratified in 1867 (i think) there were abortion laws in nearly thirty states, which would insinuate that the 14th amendment was passed to not include "the right to an abortion". This is what we conservatives call "legislating from the bench". The 10th amendment states that all issues not addressed herewith shall revert to the States. Therefore, this is a states rights issue and Roe v. Wade was decided incorrectly. So can someone be pro choice and against Roe v. Wade? You bet. The states shall decide this issue.
The issue that I'm wrestling with after reading his comments is a bit removed, though not completely, from the original conversation, which involved the constitutionality, or lack thereof, of "legislation from the bench." Roe v. Wade is just an example of how we've gotten to the point where certain things that should not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, now *do* in fact fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government

When this country comes to election time, each voting citizen must make dozens of decisions with the pulling of a lever. In a matter of moments, we elect officials who will make decisions about national defense and domestic maintenance. Those same officials will set the moral climate of the country-- they often build their platforms around the influence they will wield on such subjects, and I find this to be a most vile form of political manipulation. It is well nigh impossible for me to vote for someone whose political agenda I respect, because I often find that person's social or moral agendas unconscionable. And it is impossible for me to vote for someone whose moral agenda is more in line with mine, because I am so profoundly at odds with their ideas of what national defense should look like.

Our laws are very much the same way. Apparently if you read laws from the 1790s (I have my reading cut out for me for the next few weeks), they are single page documents, simple and to the point, and there's no question as to what they mean. These days, a single bill may span 20 pages and such unrelated issues as "highways and pig farming and toenail cutter manufacturing," to quote my husband, "and then there's something in there about opposing child torture, and nobody can veto that. So we have a toenail clipper factory built in the middle of a pig farm, and nobody understands why."


So as I was saying, when I go to the polls this year, I should be able to vote on issues of national defense and domestic maintenance without the emotional and religious albatross of abortion and similar moral issues on my mind. Those issues can be tackled more locally, at the state level, where I can actually hope to make a difference. But as it stands, I cannot vote for either candidate without supporting 21st century military imperialism on the one hand, or partial birth abortion on the other. What we should be voting on are NATIONAL issues, not moral issues. Anything that does not directly violate the constitution, as I understand the original plans for the governance of this country, should fall to the states to decide, and so should have nothing to do with the presidential election.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Texans in Kentucky

I was dropping some stuff off at the Goodwill donation center down the road when an African American man in a cowboy hat walked up with some things. Being the Texan that I am, I had to comment, so I said, "Nice hat. I'm a Texan. I love to see folks in cowboy hats." I immediately felt stupid once the words were out of my mouth. It's not as if Texas has a corner on the cowboy hat market. But the man flashed a proud smile and said, "I'm from Texas too. I'm a retired State Trooper." *Very* cool! I said, "NO WAY!" And he said, "I AM SO!" and proceeded to pull out his wallet, which held the proof of his prior employment with the Texas State Troopers. What a cool interaction. As we were leaving, he said, "I surely do miss Texas. Yes ma'am, I do."

Friday, September 05, 2008

10 Reg

5 September 2008, 10:27 AM

I never believed my Ten Year Reunion would come.

It's four years gone.

My faded jeans don't fit the way they did
five years ago. I find my washboard has diminished
imperceptibly to a soft-sided hamper, spills over denim
whose dimensions have defined the entirety of my person
since highschool. I begin to realize the efficacy of a corset,
surrounded as I am by so many calorie counters

and thighless waifs. Whose consent I seek to be a woman,
as my body and mind define womaness, I cannot say.
I recall the recent, admiring words of a well-meaning friend--
he said I'd not changed a stitch in fourteen years.

I know better. I have.

What if he could see the hard-body-gone-soft with years
and child-bearing, as it should, as is not allowed
in this age of silicone and suction, of Atkins and all-protein
diets which rob the body of years and deliver something
so much less than life? What of his approval then?
What of affirmation I choose to take from such insinuations?

Inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith

Thursday, August 21, 2008


21 August 2008, 11:37 AM
Inspired by 3WW.

We’ve settled in to this mundane
existence, marked by routine,
though not yet, perhaps never,
by habit. Nothing is taken for granted
here in Paradise, though we know
every leaf, every blade of grass,
every tear which falls or ever will.
If ever we are bored by the scenery,
we must remember
how beautiful, how rare is this
silence, this predictability,
a salve for wounds incurred
before we found quiet place
to sit, rest, fall into familiarity
and custom, one with the other.

Black & White

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Can you find the goldfinch?

This guy was hanging out in my ornamental cherry tree when I got home today. I heard him chirruping, and it sounded awfully close, so I stopped and looked up. He was VERY close. Not quite close enough to touch, but close enough to get a decent picture. Pretty cool.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Changing the oil

I changed the oil in my van today. I changed it. Me, myself, personally. I got under my car and pulled the oil pan plug and the oil filter, drained the oil, replaced the filter and the plug, and put new oil in. It felt like a big job going into it, but in hindsight, it really wasn't a big deal. What WAS a big deal was remembering that I am fully capable of such things, and need not wait until my husband gets home to do them. An aspect of my own personal brand of feminism that I'm sure he doesn't mind one bit.

I once installed a new garbage disposal, which involved uninstalling the old one, and realizing when it was all done that the old one wasn't broken after all. So I uninstalled the new one, reinstalled the old one, and never had a problem with it after that. So attention to detail is not my forte, but darn it, I'm pretty handy around the house.

Oil Change
31 July 2008, 3:52 PM

That stubborn old bolt wouldn't budge.
For a moment I considered waiting
until my husband got home,
but I'm married because I want to be,
not because I have to be, so I dig deep
to find that part of me who can't abide
certain men holding the door for me,
beat my hell out of the wrench, and laugh
when it budges the slightest bit, because I know
compromise is a slippery slope,
and I have won this argument.

A Larger Mosaic
31 July 2008, 4:03 PM

There's a savorable quality to existence
lying on your back under a mini-van
with black, worn out sludge draining
from the oil-pan. The air is cooler and sweeter
knowing I can do this, and my love is coming
home at five because he wants to,
not because he must. These moments of toil,
interspersed with revelations of freedom
and cool caresses of a late-summer breeze
in the merciful shade of an oil change
are bits and pieces of a life lived as part
of a larger mosaic of trust and willingness
to work together toward our common desire,
to keep the wheels turning, the fires burning
until day's end.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


29 July 2008, 9:25 AM

The cicadas are chirruping
outside. Their chorus waxes
and wanes. The clock ticks
as it does whether or not I am sober,
whether or not I prefer
my circumstance. So many things--
most of them, if I'm honest--
continue as they would,
regardless of my impending crises.
The ceiling fan silently goes about
its business, and I am indignant,
if not relieved,
to find how well this all works,
despite the lengths to which I go
to convince myself that my wanting
holds it all together.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our Own

27 July 2008, 9:31 PM

I go a little blinder everyday
staring into the sun
of realities snatched up too soon.
I wonder if we'd have relented back then
if we'd known the pieces of
Paradise we parted with
as we salivated for the crumbs
falling from a far less worthy table
than our own.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beyond the Gates

The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. -Elie Wiesel

On Tuesday, my husband and I borrowed Beyond the Gates from the public library. I had identified it as a movie I wanted to watch because Hotel Rwanda, another, more widely known film on the subject of the genocide in Rwanda, had been described to me as an extremely brutal experience. For some reason I assumed Beyond the Gates would be an easier watch. After all the talk about Hotel Rwanda, Beyond the Gates couldn't possibly be worse.

I couldn't possibly have been more wrong.

I came to the conclusion that the folks who made this movie had an agenda in mind. They wanted us, the viewers, to see what the people of Rwanda experienced, and they didn't want to mince any words. We started watching the movie on Tuesday night, but turned it off after about 30 minutes because I realized how much it was upsetting my husband, who grew up in Kenya for 16 years, and for whom this movie and others on the subject are so very personal.

Wednesday while my husband was at work, I decided to finish the movie. It was a dreadful experience, but one I think I needed. When the Rwandan genocide was happening, I was in South Korea with my military family, graduating from highschool and preparing to move back to the US. I remember hearing about it, but before yesterday, I couldn't really have told you what happened or why, or why I now know so many people, both foreign and US citizens, who are disillusioned with US foreign policy and the United Nations.

I weep for Rwanda, for Somalia, for Sudan and Zimbabwe and Kenya, and I find quite suddenly that I am ashamed of my ignorance, of the ethnocentricism of my country, and the tendency of white westerners to forget the KKK in the south, the Holocaust, Stalin's Soviet Union, and so many other examples of the depravity we share with the rest of humanity, and sit back and say that this is just what happens in Africa.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Charming Gardeners

My husband and I had the privilege of breakfasting the other day with five complete strangers- the couple who ran the bed and breakfast where we stayed while celebrating our anniversary, and three other guests--siblings on a road trip together-- who were also staying there on Friday.

As we all sat there together, I began to wonder for the first time in a long time what it is that makes a person stand out as a Christian. It's sort of a summer camp or Sunday school kind of question, but I find it to be very relevant to my life these days. I spend so much time being angry with this ex or that ex-- my husband and I are both divorced, each with a child from our respective failed marriages, and there doesn't have to be any particular drama happening for this reality to cause frustration. I wonder if there's any of my spheres of influence in which people think of me and wonder what makes me different, what gives me such joy, why and how it is that I am so peaceful.

On a seemingly unrelated note, I powered down my laptop today *gasp* and pulled off the stickers that I and my children had strewn across the face of the keyboard and the screen border. They were getting pretty nasty. I cleaned the computer as best I could, though the surface will never really be white again. Of course being the right brained person that I am, I immediately went through the house to find something to replace those stickers.

To be honest, I wasn't looking for *something*. I was looking for a very *specific* something. A Marcel Proust quote from a friend I used to work with, which runs thus:

"Be grateful to those people that make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls bloom."

Oh, and another piece of paper, upon which is scribbled, "I am not a chicken." I found both, and the finding reminded me of my last full-time, real-world job (not counting bus driving), and of the man--I'll call him M-- who had left those slips of paper on my desk more than 2 years ago.

I hated that job. It would have been a very meaningful workplace if it had not been for the constant, morale-killing politics in my department. But M was always kind, and he rarely had a negative thing to say about anyone. He was constantly reading during his breaks, and having learned that I was both an avid reader and a writer of poetry, he would come and share wonderful passages from whatever it was that he was reading on any given day. He introduced me to Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad Trilogy (a FABULOUS read), and to a book titled Mother of Pearl, which he gave to me on the condition that I let him know what I thought of it when I had finished it, which I haven't yet (sorry M). M made that job bearable, and even, at times, enjoyable.

Back to the idea that found its root in the conversation with my fellow bed and breakfasters-- what makes a person stand out these days, in this time, in this culture? What makes a person different? I'm still not quite sure, but I know that I was only in contact with M for a few minutes per day during the week for about 9 months, but when I think of him, I realize I miss him. I enjoyed his company. He made me feel heard and honored and human. His peace and gentility were contagious. In spite of the brevity of our friendship, and the time that now separates me from my experience of him, he remains firmly established among my charming gardeners, and I am so very grateful to him.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Happy Anniversary

8 July 2008, 8:39 AM

There are a great many
should-have-beens we've missed
by clean-slating so late in the game.
But I'll take every shard of just-in-time
we can find. We've found such a wealth
already this side of safety and sanity,
this side of knowing and being known.

Happy anniversary. Sorry I was late.

Fourteen Years

8 July 2008, 8:31 AM
Mike "Mike-u" Jones

I thought I knew him
fourteen years ago. I said goodbye
and stepped away from a final
embrace. I stepped again,
and again, taking each step
for granted until the steps became miles,
the miles became years. Between us
there had been little of hurt,
less of romance, and friendship to spare.
The present became the past
nonetheless, and quite inexorably.
I never thought about it

until the moment he called, said
the person I was then was 18
minutes away on I65, taking exit 113
toward my house. I said he was lucky
I'd answered the phone,
because few people of consequence call
the house instead of my cell.

I wondered if I knew
what a cell phone was, if I knew
a great many things now taken for granted,
when last I saw him. I wonder if I knew
anything, if I really knew him or anyone
I knew for only a moment before we moved on,
took those first steps which led us
to who we are now, who we'll be
in another fourteen years.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Sign

7 July 2008, 10:02 AM
In response to DrBacchus's poem for today.

But it IS a sign.
You don’t have to see
the geese flying southward
in summertime, the star that falls
just so in the empty darkness
of the sky-sea, the aberrant fourth leaf
on an otherwise common clover
right there in the backyard
beneath the sycamore. Where I sit,
even that is a sign.

Hell is overthrown,
the captives are freed, and we
have made our way on anguished,
war-torn feet to Victoria.

Check out the Weekend Wordsmith.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Too Much

My husband teases me that I *always* say my poems aren't finished yet. It's like my disclaimer. "If you don't like it, wait. It'll get better. I promise..."

Well, guess what? This one's finished. *neener neener*.

Forgive me, but I know "We are too much in this world" is a quote, and I cannot for the life of me remember from whom. So will hope someone more educated than myself will tell me from whom I have snatched this bit of poetry. I think it might be Wendell Berry, but I'm not at all sure.

Too Much
5 July 2008, 11:40 AM

“We are too much in the world,
too desirous of things,” I say
on my way to the mechanic
to learn how much I will pay
to keep my jeep running-- I just finished
a work of art on the hood,
so I can’t bear to see it go.

I write with a pen
I’d replace for $30 if necessary--
I know from experience.
My daughter gave me
another that I keep with me
always. Sentimentality
is my justification
for so many dearly held
things that don’t draw me
any closer to my dear givers.

We are too much in this world,
and I change my clothes
one more time because
I can’t find myself outside of things
I’ve chosen to define me.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Soundtrack of my life

My blog is swiftly becoming something other than poetry and art. Ruth posted the soundtrack of her life on her web page, and then asked if anyone else was interested. Here's how it works:

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc.)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening Credits- Hard to Be Humble, Mac Davis-- well, ya know, I AM pretty fabulous. Actually, this is the only song I've ever karaoked by myself, and I got a standing ovation. ;-)

Waking Up- Not Enough, Caedmon's Call

First Day at School- Secret Touch, Rush-- I don't know this song very well, but it's catchy.

Falling in Love- Can She Excuse My Wrongs?, Sting & Edin Karamazov-- hehehe. L'amore è cieco.

Fight Song- Take Control, Code of Ethics

Breaking Up- The Rhythm Method, Rush-- hm.

Prom- I Will Listen, Twila Paris-- I did go to Prom, and unfortunately, at that point in my life, I really don't know if I was listening to anyone's voice but my own. Oh well.

Life is Good- Wonderful, Everclear-- Wow. So I guess this isn't a feel-good movie.

Mental Breakdown- I've Got to Stop Thinkin' Bout That, James Taylor-- HA- that's appropriate.

Driving- Head Over Feet, Alanis Morissette-- Not a bad driving song.

Flashback- I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2-- I can NEVER find what I'm looking for. And I have lots and LOTS of moments in teh past to which I can flashback when I couldn't find something or other.

Getting Back Together- Find Yourself-- I really like this song.

Wedding- Peace, Rich Mullins-- very apropos.

Paying the Dues- Take to the World, Derek Webb-- not crazy about this song, but it has some good ideas in it, like "like the Three in One, you know you must become what you want to save, because that's the Way He takes to the world." I guess that's appropriate.

The Night Before the War- Nothing Really Changes, Code of Ethics

Final Battle- Doth I Protest Too Much, Alanis Morissette-- I've fought most of my battles on a psychological field, so I guess this is appropriate.

Moment of Triumph- Stroller Town, Jonathan Coulton-- now that's just silly. But a very funny and fun song.

Death Scene- Coming Home, Caedmon's Call

Funeral Song- Arms of the Angel, Sarah McLachlin-- Again, I guess this isn't a feel-good flick.

End Credits- Sacred Love, Sting-- Ooo.. I can live with that. THAT is a great song, and a great last thought, to have found sacred love. Niiiiiice.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Everything is Wonderful

Having divorced several years ago and remarried last July, I've thought a lot about what kids go through when their parents split. I didn't go through it as a child, but I have two sisters who are divorced, and between the three of us, we have eight kids...eight?... yeah, eight, who are all now living in broken homes. It makes me sad to think of it, and I wonder what they'll have to say to us someday when they get older. I wonder if our divorces make it necessarily more likely that they will someday experience a divorce of their own. I pray that's not the case. And I hope every day that my kids will one day be able freely to express to us their anger, their sadness, their indignation, their shame-- anything that has come as a result of the decisions we've made as their parents, the choices that have affected them so profoundly, the choices over which they had absolutely no power.

I came across this song a while ago. I think it's pretty well known, and it may have been overplayed when it first came out, but I find it's still every bit as meaningful to me as it was the first time I heard it. It reminds me that while I have found my piece of Paradise with my Beloved, it may not be so simple for our little ones, who have no choice but to spend their formative years alternately away from one or the other of their birth-parents.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Like a River

26 June 2008, 9:36 AM
Inspired by this post at Matsu's World and a gift I received a few weeks ago, and finally used today for the first time.

Incense rises
like a river. The surface never ceases
to move, to change, to evolve
from opaque to translucent
gray against black velvet.

Incense rises--
it's not a river. Parity disintegrates
at the surface. Smoke evaporates
with nothing below to take its place
but empty air, and the struggle remains
to make meaning where there is naught
but the smell of Cassia,
the knowledge of its origin.

The river rises,
threatens to bear me away in my grief
that a gift cannot be simply a gift,
but a reminder of what cannot be undone,
the slate-wiped-clean I can never attain,
the unanswered prayers I've never let pass
my lips, weary with the weight of regret.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Second Cup

24 June 2008, 8:04 AM

I pour your second cup of coffee,
feeling just a little back handed,
knowing you owe this courtesy,
at least in part, to the fact that
I'd rather you stayed a while longer
with me here at home, and I know
you're the same way. We know
you have to go to work, and I have
chosen to stay and raise the little ones,
avert chaos in our home so we
can sit together at day's end,
sip a beer, a cider, or a glass of tea
and enjoy Paradise for the few
hours of the day which are truly ours.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Coolest Thing I've Done in a While

I painted my Beloved's Jeep yesterday and today. There were a few times when I thought I was going to be in the doghouse- not because I did it without his knowledge or consent. He asked me to do it. But a Jeep Wrangler is an expensive canvas, and I've never painted on a slick surface with model paints. But it turned out FABULOUS (in my humble opinion).

Friday, June 13, 2008


13 June 2008, 6:49 PM

Paradise is so particularly
precarious- I hadn’t realized how
very capricious it could be.
I watch it crumble all around,
as ours remains as always it has been,
if always it has been. So very
little time has passed since first we found
this corner of Elysium. Can we own
such words as Always and Eternity?
Regardless, this Haven is
forever enough for you and me.
We will say never, will call it
always, and forsake it not.

Good Gifts

My husband bought me the BEST t-shirt EVAR. It's brown, and across the chest in yellow letters is written:

Hehehe. Hahaha. Hohoho. MMMMWAAHAHAHAHAAAAAA! Included with the shirt was a packing list containing the following message:

"2 mai favrit pometrist. kluvubai."

If you've never heard of lolspeak, you really must google it.

The Door

13 June 2008, 3:55 PM

I’ve unlocked
a great many doors from the past
when need required such. yet now,
let’s leave this rusty lock alone,
let such things rest while rest can be had
and enjoy the footpath winding round
about sycamore groves and swaying
grasslands, through starry nights, under sun
burning in cerulean skies. The door
will still be standing if ever we return
to this shadow-darkened bend in the road.

Who’s to say we will?

If we don’t, that door can remain
locked and undisturbed until the very end,
and I can bury this key beneath the Waters
in the shifting bed of failing memories.

Inspired by the Weekend Wordsmith.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Drop in My Memory

5 June 2008, 8:17 AM

He balanced the orange mug
in one hand, then the other, never spilling
a drop in my memory.
He must have been magic,
maneuvering wheel, manual gearshift
and coffee with only two hands-
my dad could manage such things,
make them look easy, though
I knew from the look in his eye
it must require concentration. I understood
the image of a dance, the one he always
used to try to help us grasp the concept
of putting in the clutch to shift; releasing
the pressure slowly. Rising
from my memory, I see him again, an image
of control- no- stability I haven’t glimpsed
in over a decade. I hadn’t realized
how difficult it must have been
keeping life and grief balanced, never spilling
a drop. In my memory,
there is room for mercy if he missed me
in his trance, saw only
the task before him, the little girl
in awe of such a very big,
such a very magical man.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Slighted Lover

3 June 2008, 8:13 AM

There she stands
in the doorway. Light spills
into my mind as I turn, take
a moment to embrace
the Words, rediscover me.

I sit and search, scrawl the words
like prayer proffered in the private
hours of the morning, quietly
in secret places of the heart,
leading the Faithful further up,
further in. She comes and I
do not turn away. I understand
we are one, the Slighted Lover;
the Poet and myself. I had forgotten.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Words

It's been a while since I was deliberate about my writing. The first year I wrote, I wrote roughly 600 pages worth of poetry. I guess you could say I uncorked, in the words of Stephen King. In the 5 months of 2008, I've not written 100 pages. I suppose there's a time to write and a time to adjust to life changes, a time to learn to keep a house, whereas for the last 5 years I've had a really good excuse to live in a pigsty. Those changes carry a lot of unintended consquences, and while I don't think they're permanent- I'm still painting, I still write now and again, and one of these days I'm going to play my guitar again- it still smarts to see the blank canvases on the floor in the living room, and to open Pages and realize how many experiences this year have gone by without my having marked them in the way to which I am accustomed. For no reason but my own hang ups about no longer being a wage-earner, and what it means to be a contributor to a household when this is the case, creativity often gets pushed to the back-burner. I shall attempt to take my Beloved's attitude toward and valuation of such things- he has only ever been 100% supportive and encouraging re: my artistic bent- and be more deliberate about setting aside time each day to write and create.

The Words
2 June 2008, 10:29 AM

When I fail to write, the words
withdraw like a slighted lover
watching from the door, waiting for him
to turn and take her in his arms
for one last kiss, a moment stolen
from a day of relentless demands,
all of which threaten to steal away
the vigilance which never lets me forget
what is needful, what is not. Eventually,
I fear she’ll fail to wait, I’ll fail to see, she
will fail to watch from the door, and I
will fail to be a poet.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Baby Raccoons

We called an exterminator last week to take care of a large raccoon which had taken up residence in our walls- you can read that chapter of the saga here. As it turns out, IT was a SHE, and she was a mommy. We now have three or four baby raccoons hanging around our house. They're barely old enough to climb, and while I've lost track of one or two of them, there are a couple bundled together on a tree limb beside the house. The poor things can't figure out where to go, and last night the temperature dropped. I feel like such a jerk. *sigh*.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

php|tek in the Windy City

I'm sitting in the keynote for php|tek, Chicago. I just realized that these developers are not necessarily here tring to keep php vital because they believe it's the best language out there, or because it's the best way to do things, although they may very well believe those things. They are here trying to keep php vital because if php becomes obsolete (and if I understand correctly, eventually it will), so will they. These conferences are life and livelihood for them. That puts a new spin on things for me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Broken Glass II

A continuation and conclusion of Broken Glass.
16 May 2008, 7:45

I swept them into a dustpan,
gingerly picked them from the debris
found a plethora of remnants,
despaired of binding up
the shattered
bits of broken glass.

That was years ago, and I’ve found
glass, like water, flows-
sharp edges dull, and pain becomes
less dagger-deadly. This side of eternity,
I turn irregular crystals in my fingers,
gather each and every prism
in the basin of my self, fearing less
for those which harbor yet
a razor’s edge- I am less apt to bleed,
swifter to heal,
having mended what had been so broken,
had lain unhealed for so very long.

Inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Water is Wide

Despite my very, very verbal nature, when I grieve, I have a tendency to retreat.

I heard a song a while back called "The Water is Wide." It serves as a reminder to me that I need not grieve alone. Most especially, I should allow those closest to me to participate in the process and help me not to go insane.

"The water is wide, I can't swim o'er,
nor either have I wings to fly.
Give me a boat that can carry two
and both shall row, my Love and I."

Author unknown

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Retreating over Coffee
7 May 2008, 8:53 AM

Life is all around us at this table-
an amalgam of grief for the past,
joy in the present, anxiety for the future.
They mix and meld as I learn to feel them
freely, purely and unapologetically, knowing
even as I look behind, hide my eyes
from what's ahead, I'd never trade
the one thing that has only ever meant
goodness and light, even when we tap
a little too deeply the surface of the pain
and the cup overflows. We spill just a few
drops of this precious vintage- leave
a stain on the carpet as we retreat
into our morning coffee and nutella.

Monday, May 05, 2008


5 May 2008, 12:43 PM
Bernice Imogene Pope

I didn’t know I’d never go back.
Grandmother stood in her cotton dress,
Granddad in blue coveralls as always,
waving goodbye for the last time.

We learn to count on so few things.
Even those certainties don’t last. I know.
I understand, but am caught off guard
when an intangible familiarity in an unfamiliar
face joins inevitability with my passive
acceptance of the unrelenting passage of Time.

In the space of a moment, I lose Grandmother
once more. I know I will never sit with her
again at that pale yellow formica countertop
making biscuits at the crack of dawn,
and I can be certain of nothing else.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Melancholy Peace

2 May 2008, 7:09 AM

The torrents come and salt
stings my eyes, rubs in wounds
which should have been long healed.
But this salt solution finds its way
to places still raw, tender to the touch.
Through blinding sheets I cannot see
to tend the wound, so I huddle close,
cling to you, hope the storm will pass,
wear out itself instead of me. The salt
may cauterize these aching lacerations
so summer may find us the humbler,
resting in a melancholy peace.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

White-Robed Sorrow

I wrote once about George MacDonald's book, _Phantastes_. My life was a chaotic whirlpool of grief and throbbing wounds at the time, and being the non-linear, analytical thinker that I am, MacDonald's fantastic worlds and seemingly random images of beauty, love, grief and the like touched me so deeply. Today I ran across one of the passages which meant the most to me, and I wrote the following about it to my husband:

"There's this scene where [the narrator and main character of the story] is floating along in a boat, making his way down river, and he catches a glimpse of a woman in white running through the woods alongside him. She stays with him right up to the castle. It was, for me, an image of the wounds we receive being faithful to lead us on to something else if we let them- to redemption I guess, cliche though that may sound. But one certainly cannot see it as such when the wounds are fresh and throbbing.

That scene in the book is a gift to me, because the character, and therefore the reader, is given a moment to stand back from the pain and view it somewhat objectively. To see the very thing that wounds us running along beside us in white, weeping for us, leading us on to redemption, is so very beautiful. I remember, though, that it made my heart ache for the woman in the woods. She was just a metaphor for other things, but I guess I think of her as almost a part of ourselves- the part that is wounded and has been lost in so many ways, and cannot completely enter into the joy of the present."

I need to go back and read that book again.

"As in all sweetest music, a tinge of sadness was in every note. Nor do we know how much of the pleasures even of life we owe to the intermingled sorrows. Joy cannot unfold the deepest truths, although deepest truth must be deepest joy. Cometh white-robed Sorrow, stooping and wan, and flingeth wide the doors she may not enter. Almost we linger with Sorrow for very love."

George MacDonald, Phantastes

Friday, April 25, 2008

Inspired by the Weekend Wordsmith

Dense Element
25 April 2008, 10:04 PM

Resentment is a dense element--
I cannot bear it, and relinquish the burden
to the shoulders of my little ones, failing
to comprehend its weight until the damage is done,
the blessing given. My hand flies unaware,
hesitates apart from reason, fumbles with dignity,
integrity, all things holding value in any context,
not least of all in this holy space, a gift given
for the nurture which will enable them
to choose to live and love, forgive without
the onus of my sin upon their backs.

Bridegroom Matins

I've been struggling through Lent and Holy Week this year, not entirely present. I'm not sure to what I can attribute my restlessness, but it ended a couple of nights ago at Bridegroom Matins, when I suddenly remembered, amidst readings about Judas, Mary Magdalene, Jonah, the three youths in the fiery furnace, and the parable of the ten virgins etc, what Holy Week, at least, is about. Which of the virgins am I like- have I come to this Paschal season ready to receive it? I realized suddenly that the Lord has found me unprepared this year, so distracted with the struggles and the joys this year has brought. I feel as if I've come to him at the 11th hour this Lenten season.

Yet I remember also that we recently heard a reading that included the parable of the workers who were hired in the morning, the ones hired in the afternoon, and the ones hired in the evening, and how they were all received, and how they all were paid by the Master at the end of the day. Perhaps I take it a bit out of context, but I will trust that I'm not too late to receive the joy of Pascha this year.

The Bridegroom comes.

Bridegroom Matins
April 26, 2005


Early evening sunlight
danced on incense,
floated weightless
on the scent which fills all senses...

Long awaited joy
drifted into the Nave,
soundlessly permeating
the longing of the vigil keepers...

The Holy Spirit
filtered through the window,
inhabiting the prayers of the Betrothed,
eagerly awaiting fulfillment of hope;

the coming of the Bridegroom.


Early evening sunlight
filtered through the window;
played on incense,
densely floating, obscuring
wood and wax and oil
until all I saw was Heaven.

I imagined your hand,
reaching in to touch our hearts,
rewarding our
mustard-seed faithfulness,
loving those who know not
how You love,
nor how to love,
nor how one ever receives such love.

You graced our feeble prayers
with Your presence;
You always do.

Yet tonight,
I saw You steal into the Nave
on silken rays,
as the sun was westering,
gilding all around us
with golden radiance,
foreshadowing a sunless day,
a bright yet moonless night
of midnight cerulean skies
and stars which shine
for beauty’s sake,
rather than for light.


we were virgins,
trimming our lamps,
preparing for
the Bridegroom.

we felt
the joy of things to come;
our Lord
walked among us
in the Nave.

We heard
faint whisperings,
teasing our souls’ longings
for songs
we have yet to sing..

Can you hear it?

"Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.."

Our Lord, he is coming..
Our Love, he is making ready
the banquet of our wedding day.
Our Lord, He will come for us
as He promised..

May these lamps
not be found

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Joys of Springtime

My husband and son walked out the door without me to go to the bus stop this morning. I was pouring a cup of coffee. As I caught up with my husband, he started saying, "OH! Look out!" and "You squished another one!" I looked down to see the sidewalk riddled with earthworms desperately dragging themselves across the dry concrete in search of a patch of moisture or dirt.

My husband called the Boy over, who was standing a few feet away with some older boys. The Boy, in turn, yelled to his friends, "HEY LOOK! WORMS!" I had expected all the other boys to kind of shrug and continue their conversation- they're all usually too old and too cool to pay the Boy much attention. To my surprise they all yelled, "WORMS??", ran over to where he was, and started picking/squishing up worms. Each one of them had a fistful when the bus came around the corner. As they walked to the bus, each boy dropped his worms, except for one. He unzipped the outer pocket of his backpack and surreptitiously slid the worms in, zipped it up- all the while making sure his mother wasn't watching from her car- and headed to the bus.


And giggle. His mom is pretty strict with him, at least at the bus stop. It's kind of refreshing to see him do something boys do, without being told to stop, stay clean and get off the grass. My husband and I were laughing about it, and as we passed another parent sitting in her car at the curb, she put her window down and, also laughing, asked if we'd seen the little boy put the worms in his backpack. We sure did. And I'm fairly certain his mother would've had a conniption RIGHT THERE if she'd seen it.

Ah, the joys of springtime.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Serving the Judge

16 April 2008, 8:30 AM

Important men sit
in the corner discussing important
things theological, while I fill
coffee, bring hot water for tea,
provide for their general comfort.

One, a gentleman, the other, an egoist,
a half self-, half state-appointed god,
passing judgment without knowledge.

He asks for half & half, and stirs his coffee
carelessly, discussing the need for Christian
leadership in high places, unaware
I serve him now because he failed to serve me.
His Christian leadership has cost me much
in time and trouble, because in his very holy,
right-wing, obdurate way, he has misjudged

my circumstance. He has no way of knowing
the woman serving him, topping off his coffee,
sweeping the pocket change off the table
into her apron, has been at his mercy
more than once, and found his mercy wanting.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


originally uploaded by DrBacchus.
My husband is currently in Amsterdam, where he has been attending a conference for what seems like the last month. Srsly, it's been about six days. But it feels like forever. He'll be back Monday, and I am so ready for him to be here. I've been ready for him to come home since 2 PM last Sunday when I drove away from the airport.

He asked me yesterday if I wanted to know what he'd gotten me in Amsterdam. I resisted the temptation and said no. Before the conversation was over, he'd said, "ok, I can't keep a secret..." and sent me the link to this image. I love earrings- the bigger the better (within reason), and I dig that these are made entirely of wood. My husband has fabulous taste.

You Are a Semi-Colon

You are elegant, understated, and subtle in your communication.

You're very smart (and you know it), but you don't often showcase your brilliance.

Instead, you carefully construct your arguments, ideas, and theories – until they are bulletproof.

You see your words as an expression of yourself, and you are careful not to waste them.

You friends see you as enlightened, logical, and shrewd.

(But what you're saying often goes right over their heads.)

You excel in: The Arts

You get along best with: The Colon

Thursday, April 10, 2008


So Beloved is in Amsterdam, and reports to me that he woke this morning rested and refreshed after sleeping through the night for the first time since his arrival. I, on the other hand, am having problems sleeping at all. So he's going to return from Amsterdam rested and jet-lagged (an interesting combo which amounts to having his schedule all screwed up for a while), and I'm going to be exhausted, and I will probably sleep solid through the night next Monday for the first time since he's been gone. There's a poem in there somewhere.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Painting with My Parents

My parents came to visit last weekend, and we took them to a pottery painting place in town. We'd started painting tiles a few months ago with the kids which we are using to tile our kitchen, and we thought it would be fun to have visitors participate. I had no idea what artists my parents are. Below are the tiles we all painted while they were here. Sorry for the glare. I tried to photograph them without a flash, but the colors just weren't right.

Left to right-
Top row: Mom's, mine, Epona's
Bottom row: Dad's, Beloved's, The Boy's

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Shadows & Chivalry

23 March 2008, 6:23 PM

A wound remains.
Innumerable small kindnesses
press it. They cannot help but do so.
The wound is deep and long and wide,
had grown callous to insult and to injury.
Gentility rubs it raw again,
the opening of a door,
the offering of a hand, not of necessity,
nor of superiority or subservience,
but of respect and dignity
and cherishing of femininity overlooked
ignored or beaten down for so long.

The wound remains,
finds solace in your kind—
Fruit has kept such faith with Tree,
has loved me more than faithfully.
Forgive if I respond with tears and often see
my Shadows in your tenderness and chivalry.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Selling My Paintings

Well, today I took the leap. I have three paintings hanging in Solomon's Porch coffee shop in Wilmore, complete with pricetags. I knew I was nervous about this, but I didn't realize how nervous until last night. I got nearly no sleep last night. Granted that is at least partially due to the fact that I came down sick last night. But part of it was anxiety, pure and simple.

Why the anxiety? I pour a lot of myself into my paintings. There's no a single one that came from outside the Inner Sanctum. Most of my paintings are, in a sense, portraits- windows into self. So it's a little frightening to put them out there for others to see and critique.

Another anxiety producing aspect is pricing. It is NOT an easy thing to price one's own work. One price feels too high- who would pay that for a piece of art? Another feels too low- I'm particularly attached to this piece, I can't bear to see it go for that little.

And, of course, there's the very simple issue of wanting to know that others find my work worth their time, if not worth their money. I want to know that people look at it and experience something in themselves, and come away with something they didn't have before.

I took Mother Africa, Self Portrait in Red (Originally titled Seeing Red), and Phoenix, all of which can be seen on my other website, with me, and wish me well.

George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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