Saturday, December 10, 2011

Look Away

10 December 2011

The pot boils,
the flower blooms,
the writing fades,
the light glooms.

We watch without blinking,
eyes watering, winking--
still, the child grows,
flourishes, goes
when we look away.

Monday, December 05, 2011


5 December 2011

A barely visible cross-hatch of history
lies below my eyes;
a topographical diary of thirty-five years’
experience, foul and fair, each impression
faintly faded as a fabric’s fold
that will never lay flat
no matter how hot the iron,
no matter how hard the press.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

For a Time

4 December 2011

I have learned there’s a treatment
to amputate whatever
silence cannot be tolerated,
whatever noise needs hushed.
Extremities are a nuisance, even when
Nature herself dictates that I receive
the gift of acute feeling
for a time. To numb is the norm;
Experience has become
a choice against the grain--
to dive in, to know, to stay sane
amidst the chaos.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tea with the In-Laws

27 October 2011

I stir my tea and think
of everyone half a world away, wonder
if Lizet stirs her tea counter-clockwise;
how Ruth manages to stir her tea at all;
if Dottie drinks tea when we’re not there
to make it for her, to sit and sip and enjoy
the simple moments that sometimes we,
yes, even we take for granted.
I stir from the bottom and wonder how
Deb can manage coffee without sugar,
if Gina is ribbing her husband instead of me
over half-and-half this early in the morning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You Used to Write Things

I used to write things--
USED to, he says,
and then looks
puzzled at my offense.
Used to indeed!
Why, just the other day,
I wrote a note
explaining why
our son was not in school.
I wrote a grocery list;
a collection of items,
things I must do before
I lay down to rest.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Polished Wood

22 October 2011

Time is taking hold of my eyelids,
dragging them along
a mostly predetermined path. Evidence
of many meals enjoyed,
perhaps too much,
certainly too late,
bring softness where once
I was, by and large, unyielding--
but my hair in sunlight is still
the color of polished wood.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Broken Faith

15 September 2011

Think before you call it quits--
you’ll never stop
realizing all you’ve lost,
even when the sting subsides
and you’ve forgiven yourself
and other. There will always be
another reminder of where and who
you could or should have been;
who you should be with.
No matter how good it gets,
it’s never quite perfect,
and you can’t ever make it
what it’s not, no matter how you long,
no matter how you try to believe
you never loved,
you never broke faith.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Bexley, Ohio

I'm in Bexley, Ohio this weekend with my husband. He's speaking at Ohio Linux Fest, and I'm hanging out at the home of some friends, exploring Bexley and generally doing nothing and relaxing.

I have been enjoying Bexley immensely this morning. The trees are old, the sidewalks are wide, and almost every house has a large, inviting porch. This place is made for walking, and it's not just the residential areas. Main Street is a quarter mile from where I'm staying, if that, and it's lined with small businesses of every description: Thrift stores, coffee shops, bakeries, grocers, you name it. There are at least two banks and an elementary school within walking distance.

Who wouldn't want to live in Bexley? Who wouldn't lose 10 pounds within the first six months of living here, just from walking everywhere--because they could? I am envious of pretty much everyone who lives in Bexley.

Granted, from my house I can walk to Kroger, the gym, Starbucks (not that I would), RiteAid, and several small restaurants. However, walking in my neighborhood is not the pleasure it is here in Bexley, with walker friendly routes going any direction you could choose. The sidewalks in my neighborhood are narrow, and in places they are non-existent. Getting into the Kroger parking lot on foot is, at times, a practice in taking your life into your own hands.

I wonder if it's possible to transform a neighborhood like mine into a neighborhood like Bexley? I guess I can do my part, anyway. I'll need a front porch, large shade trees out by the [scrawny] sidewalk, and a willingness to start walking, even if the paths are not quite as friendly there as they are here in Bexley.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vintage Sewing Machine Table

I bought a very old, wood sewing machine table at Goodwill yesterday for $7.50. Can you believe that? I must conclude that someone didn't know what they had, because this is a very nice piece of furniture, and perfect working order.

My only difficulty was that I lacked the mounting screws that originally came with my sewing machine. There was no finding them--this machine is OLD, and the screws are long gone. I searched and searched for information about what sort of screw is required, and found no information. I finally found a set of screws at the local sewing machine repair shop. It was a bit of a long shot, since the owner just happened to have a sewing machine cabinet in the store at the time that had a vintage sewing machine attached to it, and he was willing to give me the screws because he was planning to scrap the sewing machine.

I did what I could to try to identify the size of the screws, because this is information I would have found useful this morning. As far as I can tell, the screw is a 7/8-1/2x28 fillister head machine screw. I have no idea what it's made of, but it's got to be strong to hold my steel sewing machine in place.

I'm awfully pleased to have it all together and working. Now, what project to work on...

Thursday, July 07, 2011


I no longer wade into the depths;
extend myself to hidden places to find
what's wonderful any more than
I choose to seek out the predators.
By extension, or lack thereof, my beauty
swims at the bottom of an inkwell, free
to avoid notice; bound by complacency.
I sit in sunny paradise with an ice-cold
Yes I Can; Now Everything Is Peaceful
humming softly in my ear.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Thoughts After Bedtime At Friendly Acres

You give me poems to write:

space for me and mine to work out

our idiosyncrasies here

in a place Friendly to such things.

There is so much opportunity.

I am afraid to go to sleep,

even at 11:32 PM, when

my children have long since

left their struggles to find rest;

when my husband has been in bed

for at least an hour without me.

You must understand, this is unheard of.

Home is a complicated combination

of many ingredients. He is the first.

My children are a close second,

and after that, it's all a matter

of geography, and being in the same space

together--safe and somewhat understood,

if only for a moment.

You needn't catch every nuance;

understand every shade of meaning

entailed within our struggles.

The matter is only one of willingness

to be present, to endure,

to come together at the end of the day

on the porch with the sun in our eyes

aware that the time is slipping past us;

this won't last. We have to enjoy of each other

what we can, while we can.

That's what matters most.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Porch

The porch is a good place to sit

and take in the rest of the farm.

Mail comes when it comes,

and if I sit here, I know when

to walk down the driveway and retrieve

the junk and what I imagine are rare

precious posts--perhaps less rare here

in such a friendly corner of the world.

The wind is cool, just right

on a day when, if I step off the porch

into the sunlight, I'm a little too warm

for comfort. The leaves are singing,

the sky is lazy, the trees are wearing

shadowy skirts that brush the grass

a darker shade of lovely.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Comparative Literature

28 April 2011

The bright colors, crinkly fish

tails and floppy elephant ears

mark this book as hers, completely

safe and allowed

and, therefore, uninteresting

compared with my Kindle.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Up All Night

18 March 2011

Sometimes she sleeps--we think she's angelic.
Those hours fly by, then she wakes teething,
spends the night screaming.
In the morning someone asks
and we agree she's adorable
during the day or when she sleeps,
but wouldn't it be nice to close your eyes at 10 PM,
not open them until 5 or 6? Of course,
there are the moments when she wakes burning,
a cloth on her brow, cool just moments ago,
mopping up the fever. Those moments between
2 and 2:30 stretch out as if to ten mornings or more,
waiting for the fever to break. I've noticed
how precious she is in those moments,
whether or not she's sleeping.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


6 March 2011

I never have understood this brand of non-conformity,

everyone building their own unique

from homologous blocks of vaguely varying hues;

differing degrees of sameness. The very pretty

people somnambulate to and fro scrutinizing;

assimilating bits of cleverly pieced cotton and ramie;

making their resulting congruence

a little less distinctive, a little more

just like everyone else.

The Beginning of Lent

My family missed church this morning for various reasons, among which were that our older daughter returned very late last night (or early this morning) from a three day field trip to Chicago, and our younger daughter decided last night that she wasn't so much into the whole Sleep Thing. I was looking forward to the service this morning, and specifically to hearing our priest talk about the epistle and the Gospel.

The epistle this morning was from Ephesians 6, and talked about honoring one's parents, one's master, one's servants; and about putting on the armor of God.

The Gospel was from Matthew 6, and was, for me, the harder of the two readings.

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
I have recently realized how very long my memory is. At the same time, I know there's really no good excuse for an unforgiving spirit. I find myself particularly convicted upon reading this passage, having had several opportunities recently to have my [not so] righteous indignation stoked. Regardless of how purely motivated a person believes his or her anger to be, today's Gospel reading makes very clear that forgiveness is not optional. I'm not saying it can be forced, but it's a long road, and I'd do well to start walking.

The latter portion of the Gospel reading is equally compelling to me.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
The reading itself doesn't need any commentary. What do I value most? Where is my treasure?

I'm pondering this morning how these two readings intersect, these ideas of obedience, honor, preparation; forgiveness and valuing things that last rather than what doesn't. Why do they come together, on this, the last non-Lenten Sunday of the season? And since I'm missing Father Tom's commentary on this point, I'll be running it through my processor all day. If I come up with anything particularly compelling, I'll be back to comment.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Inspired by The Weekend Wordsmith
21 January 2011

I've never been a fan of fishing--
the smell of stink bait, or the wriggling
of worms I send to their deaths
so I can feel a moment of exhilaration
(or not)
when an unwitting catfish, trout, bass
runs scared from my hook inexorably
piercing, tearing the flesh of his cheek.

This has never been my idea of a good time,
though some revel in that moment, whether
this terrified creature is dinner,
or an unfortunate participant in a game
of catch and release.

I might be persuaded to sit lakeside,
unsuccessfully casting my line
in an unpopulated shallow, enjoying
the warmth of the sun, the cool of a beer,
the seemingly self-satisfied state
of the fish who think
they've pulled one over on the hook today,
the story telling later
about the one that got away.

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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