Monday, February 17, 2020

Faux Pas

I'd really like it if you'd pluralize that "pas" in the title so it's read like "foe paws" because I have a few I'd like to talk about.  Also foe paws is kind of funny.  Could it be another title of something? {think face} I don't know, but I'm given yet another reminder of late of the book Call of the Wild and how I should probably take it as a sign to read it again. Probably with the lad. Yes, I will do that. But back to the foe paws:

1.  I'm sitting here up in my room.  I'm alone in the house except for two cats, one of which is next to me on the bed and the other is curled up on my desk chair.  An hour or two ago a woman came by who wanted to drop something off for Julian.  I told her he was out but would be back later--not sure when.  She said she wanted to give it to him personally so she'd try again.   Well, I'm here typing away and someone just knocked on the door.  Since he's still not home and I assume it's her again, I have opted not to answer the door.  I love exercising this freedom.  She knocked first, and then after some time,  rang the doorbell.  After what I would describe as a very long time, she knocked again, which I found highly unusual.  Still there?? She was just standing there waiting?? Thinking, "oh they're probably in the shower. I'll stand here and imagine in my mind how long it takes a person to wash their hair, face, shave legs, dry off, dress, descend the stairs, and then I shall knock again. Then--then, they will be ready to receive me." 

And I imagined myself answering the door after that latent knock which would have been pretty awkward at that point.  Like, "oh yeah.. i heard you the first time, didn't want to come, and then decided to anyway."  I feel like we'd be standing there face to face and one of us would have to say, "so.. did we want to talk about what just happened here?"  I can't see any way around that.  So to that I say:   Just bail!  It makes me wonder how long other people generally wait on the doorstep. Looks like I need to conduct another little survey.  I also believe the knock + doorbell is the limit.  Any third knock/attempt is reserved for "I have an emergency and I am dying" situations and, again, would be emitted soon after the second, if there's any pause at all. More like the neighbor kid who rings our bell incessantly making us THINK someone's on fire. We have since learned. But, a long-after third attempt is like... what.  Kind of gutsy? What's the goal there? It feels like a challenge almost. Well you're going to lose because I can sit on my bed and not answer the door ALL. DAY. What's the consensus on this? I am curious.

2.  Let's talk about the thumbs up emoji.  How is it best used? Is there a situation where it might not be taken in a positive light? Answer to my totally not hypothetical question: Yes.  With words, the thumbs up is fine, just fine.  It puts an additional stamp on something you approve of or express appreciation for.  It's a good "thanks" supplementary emoji, a good "I like that" emoji, or "I agree," etc.   When it's used alone, however, is when it gets dicey. Sometimes it's the quickest, simplest way to show your approval when more than that--words--are unnecessary.  This is fine. This is common in group texts when the OT (original texter) or poser of the question needs a response. Another option is choosing to "like" the text itself.  Also fine. Several times I have been on the receiving end of the lone thumbs up after sending a somewhat heartfelt or at the very least, thoughtful text. I have engaged in a conversation and it's suddenly killed short. Nothing says "I don't wanna talk to you anymore" like the lone thumbs up.  Like, just say nothing. Then I can pretend you had other things that took your attention away from what I thought was an interesting text chat or when I just said something when I was opening my heart a little, which is understandable. You have a life, that's ok. But to use the single thumbs up like that feels like total rejection.  I mentioned this to Sean and he actually got quite angry about it--"YEAH- it's such a slap in the face!" and then expressed a desire to flip the bird in response.  I was like, alright, Sean!

I would love to do a blog post explicating the various uses and meanings of emojis. I am nowhere near an expert like some-- I have some very talented friends, for example-- but I know a decent amount and I believe my impressions are accurate.   But what do you think on these faux-pas? Agree or disagree?  I'm going to keep thinking about this topic because I'm SURE there are more that are worth delving into.

{thumbs up}

Friday, February 07, 2020

Of Grief

Sitting here, staring at my computer, fingers resting on the keys, as I listen to music with the background window scene of the drizzly rain dampening the day and snow deciding whether to stay or whether to go, it strikes me that trying to write about certain subjects can feel so ridiculous.  Some things are just too difficult, too complex, too painful, too personal, too uncertain, too precious to talk about.  How do you go about it? What is even the point.  For me, it happens that I even try because the overwhelming feelings bubble up inside me and my natural, automatic response to this is to thrust forward my hands and find them onto a keyboard, whether it be computer or piano.  Articulating my feelings through music is different than through words.  Word are more concrete, more visible, more tangible, more editable.  Music flows more easily but like a whole rushing river you'd like to cup in your hands, it's that much more elusive.  It's like a sunset or a passing moment in nature, something you got lucky to see and just as you're even able to recognize it as a moment, it's gone. Those "what just happened?" experiences are what I seek in life but they are difficult to find, and seem much more out of my control.

Words are hammers and nails, screws and fixtures and other tool words I don't even know. They're a mess around me but at least I can pick them up, hold them in my fingers and roll them around, deciding whether or not that's what I need for this particular purpose.  I do a lot of discarding and learning of what does what, hoping that what I'm slowly building turns into anything at all.

Grief. The deep sorrow. Misery, sadness, anguish, pain. Distress, agony, torment. Affliction, suffering, heartache and heartbreak. These are all found synonyms. All experienced around the inescapable presence of loss. Forced to stare at the space of what was once there, or, interestingly, was never there to begin with, but for which a place has been carved out still.

I don't share my grief too much.  I keep it in to mull over and decide what I'm going to do with.  Do I keep it, do I let it go. Is that even a possibility. And if I keep it, how big of a space do I make for it.  And if it stays, do I transform it into other things? Does it take on a shape, a color?   Become something worth setting on the wall and examining, perhaps to even be proud of?  I recently listened to an interview with an writer who, when asked about why so much of the best writing comes from pain, he said, "It's really not given to humans to be constantly happy. Suffering writes boldly and happiness writes white." And I loooved it. Can pain be transformed into beauty? Can I be bold and do this myself?  How deliberate can I be in this process? These are my questions. 

Last summer at a book club during a particular trying moment, we got to talking about this and that and, in a way I hope was relevant, I brought up the dark places we find ourselves in from time to time. How, in mine, I had noticed I had been much more productive creatively because of it.  And because it didn't seem to be going anywhere soon, I had time to analyze it a bit.  It gave me a chance to discover that the pit I felt myself in could at times be considered a well, depending on what I did and how I felt and what I chose on a given day.  I love the idea of giving difficult things a place in our lives and our souls.  To acknowledge it and say its name.  To not be scared of it and too hasty to be rid of it or avoid it.  But see what you can make of it.  And honor the pain and what it represents.

Some months ago I sat with some friends who, one by one, shared difficult things they were going through.  I listened to each one, finding myself able to connect and relate to each.  Two of them shared similar experiences with their health where they had things happen to them that weren't immediately understood or solvable, and still hadn't been at that point.  But they were happening, and they had to figure out a way to live with it, to co-exist with the uncertainty of this unwelcome thing, but have it somehow be a part of them so it didn't feel so foreign or frightening.  One described her life shifting to the very small moments of each day, being more focused on identifying these physical episodes where she had to work mentally to combat them. Manually handling her life in ways that felt more automatic before. Deciding if there's a place for renewal amidst crippling loss and how to make it.

Another friend shared a story of her family members going through extremely difficult and painful things, particularly a brother who was newly in jail for abusing his children.  She described her own journey coming to terms with what he did and who he hurt, but also with the remaining fact that he was her brother, in jail, with seemingly no one.  He'd call her and she'd ask, why is he calling me? Why does he want to talk to me? Of all the members of their family. But as she spoke to him she could see a change within him and allowed herself, in spite of the pain and anger and hurt, to let some love exist with the grief.   Like a terrible alchemy, she separated the things he did from who he was, as well as she could, and observed. To see what can be gained from what's been lost.

Listening to these stories, I considered what was feeling like to me as the "in-between moments,"  the difficult to describe, indecipherable and left in the shadows, the unclear and uncertain things of life that we're left to live with for who knows how long.  In this particular example of this friend's brother, who considers the perpetrator? Who keeps them? Who reserves a place for them in their hearts after they caused so much damage. What's left of them? What's to be done?  It's the underside of a rock, the torrent taking place under the facade of calm or moving forward or things typically left behind.  The gritty work of processing, or simply the continuation of life undefined.  She's giving space for her brother and his own personal process of dealing and coping and living and she's letting it change the grief that exists in her, and sharing the grief in others.

Last year I watched a close friend of mine embark on the treacherous road of cancer. Pre-diagnosis discovery and fear which was then confirmed and grappled with.  Steps taken, new plans made, intensive and reluctant study and research. Treatment, a new existence and understanding of unwellness and, conversely, what it means to be well.  I watched her come to terms with it in very nonlinear, complicated ways. Blessedly coming to the end of horrible things and expecting one thing and having it be something different altogether.  Asking questions like, is it ever really "over"?  What does "healing" actually look like?  Now, post-treatment, clean scans--what now? I think of my cousin with a different kind of cancer, one that she won't be rid of, ever, and must now reconcile her life, over and over again.   I think of Frodo and the burden of the ring, how, after destroying it forever, it was never completely gone from him.  He carried it and carried it and then after it was gone, he carried it some more.  This is what I mean.

I've grieved before, and I shall grieve again.  I think I've relinquished the notion that it's something to rid oneself of, or to fully overcome. It's a wretched reformer and one that, for humility or hurt, can not be avoided. Like Death, in the story of the Deathly Hallows in Harry Potter, when the third brother and Death finally walk together, as friends, because death is unavoidable, and can be reconciled with. At times it can feel like imprisonment, but if I let it be transformative, I don't feel so trapped.  I think of my friend's brother in prison for probably a long time, and having to decide every day what to do with that.  I think of my friends struggling with health problems, physical and mental, and figuring out how to make both work for them and each other in a new kind of harmony, in this one body and one life. Struggling with feelings of being held captive by them. If "post-cancer life" can even be a thing. I think of what these friends are making of all of this.  Turning affliction into balm.  Or at least creating one from derivation, like an antidote to something toxic.

Sean recently showed me an old painting he'd made of me when we were first married. I barely remembered it and I think he made some adjustments to it at some point.  But I stared at it, and it pierced me a bit.  "I love this," I said.  Amused, he wanted to know why.  "Because, I feel like I'm looking at myself in prison.  From the outside. I feel like I can breathe again." 
Plus, I really love the colors. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Winter Geese

For some reason, I get really excited when I hear a flock of geese approaching in the skies above.  "The geese are coming!" I shout inwardly to myself. It reminds me that the world is alive even though it sometimes feels so still and frozen and unchanging in the depths of the underbelly of the winter beast.  The "v" of geese cuts through that for me, and I love it.  And why are they so vocal?  Ducks fly the same way but I don't ever hear them quacking as they do, do I?  The geese make their flight known.  "HEAR US! ALL DOWN BELOW. WE ARE COMING."   Do other birds do this? I'm sure they do, but I'm not thinking of any right now. By the way, I just googled it and found this as the reason:

Geese honk when they fly as a way of keeping the flock together. ... Researchers think that the honking sound geese make as they fly is used to help maintain the integrity of the flock, and to co-ordinate position shifts with the V-formation in which they fly.

And now you know the words I used when googling.  That's a fun('ish) little puzzle.  I love learning about the way animals communicate to each other.  Don't you wish you could speak animal?  And don't you wish you could join the geese? I do. But I can't.  I'm not a bird and I can't do it.  All I can do is watch them as they noisily slice through the winter sky and hope and pray that they take January with them.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Google Kid

If you want to know your kid's interests, let them google stuff on your computer/device.  Sean retrieved his ipad a few days ago and gleefully discovered some things in the search history.  He told me, "we need to track Julian's search history on this ipad..."  And at first I thought he meant, be aware of what he's googling so we can monitor and put a stop to anything untoward.  No, he meant that what he's found is kind of hilarious and we need to write it down.  So I had him do it on a post-it note and here I am today, recording the things in my blog from post-its that dot this house-scape.

In Julian's recent googling history, and it was in hopes of making a purchase, I need to add:

  • real ultralight planes that fly
  • real ultralight helicopters fly
  • ultralight trike
  • ultralight trike that is pedal powered
  • ultralight plane that is pedal powered
  • plane models that fly with people inside
  • ultralight plane that fly with people inside
  • non-model ultralight plane
  • pedal plane that flies
  • small airplane
  • small helicopter
  • $20 real airplane
  • planes for sale cheap
  • cheap Lego star destroyer
  • cheap Lego death star
"planes for sale cheap."  Haha! He kept excitedly finding "steals" for $30 only to realize it was like, the plans for a model.  So funny. I love the funny and unexpected things that document a time in history.  Things you'd never think. Like grocery lists. 

As a bonus, here are some more things I've found on aforementioned scattered post-its that need to be jotted down so I can toss them:

This is dated 7/18/19:

(Julian had a deep morning voice)

JEN: Did you grow up last night?

JULIAN: Well, I had this strange dream last night and I felt super, super tall.


"Every day's an adventure for me. I just love my life."

This is so great. And reminds me of the thing he said the other night at bedtime:  "I never have bad days. I'm never sad," when just a few days ago he ranted and moaned and cried about all the terrible things he's having to endure in his life.  I love this emotional roller coaster way about him.  How he feels intensely and forgets sometimes. I understand this ride well and am here for it.  


After a prayer:

"Sometimes I like to put some humor into the conversation."


And here's a bonus quote from Sean.  He was brewing a huge pot of wassail over Christmas and it was quite the Christmas witch's potion by the end.  Cider and cranberry juice and a billion oranges, star anise, so much cinnamon.  A pinch of this and a dash of that. We've ("we've") never really made it before and it was super fun. Just cook and stir and add things and brew and brew and brew.  It turned out really, really good.  Sean enjoyed it, and as he was stirring and brewing, said,

"A lot of things I cook I don't want to put my head over and smell like."

(But that one, he did, I am assuming)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

New Year Thoughts

Well it's the new year.  2020 is bound to be awesome, right? I even get a little thrill whenever I write the date.  It's got to mean something. It will. 

Well, the holidays were awesome and now we are back to real life.  It looks like this:

Jen and Sean struggling to get enough sleep.
Julian complaining about school and math.
Scheduling out the week in fine but kind of boring ways.
Jen desperately looking for fun things to fill in the cracks here and there.
Sean and Julian going running at the rec center.
Jen and Julian reading a lot.
Jen listening to music.
Sean and Jen watching The Bachelor.
Jen trying to get Julian to do new things and get all his needs met.
Sean working a lot and being exhausted from it.
Sean working on art when he can.
Sean teaching Julian things and spending time with him.
Sean cooking some. Using Julian as sous chef.
Jen "cooking" some. Hey-- i made a new soup the other day and it rocked. So that was real.
Friday night movie parties.
Everyone engaging the cats in some way.
Jen writing and thinking and writing and thinking.

That's a good summary.  It got pretty long and increasingly boring there in the end, didn't it.  But speaking of thinking, I have had a few scattered thoughts throughout my days that I thought important to record here. Let's begin:

1. I keep drooling on my yoga mat.  It's happened twice recently. It's embarrassing, but super funny to me.  But you can't like, laugh out loud.  I wonder if others see it.  I'm tempted to look to the side of me to see, but I resist.  I'm in the middle of some vinyasa flow and I come up from upward dog to downward dog and whoops--there it goes! And I hastily yet smoothly try to cover/absorb it with my body the next time I come down and it's just so entertaining to me. I don't know why it keeps happening.  I think I just need to keep my mouth shut. This will be a lesson to work on my ujjai breath (in and out through the nose). A lot of things go down during yoga and I am amused.

2. On that note, I tried hot yoga for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was kind of awesome. First, I sweated my body weight. It was so very stifling bordering on suffocatingly hot, but I got over it because it warmed my joints and ligaments and everything else immediately and I was able to do all the moves with such greater range of motion and ease. I felt extremely bendy, over the enormous sweat puddle below.  But it felt good to sweat, and wipe it up with my full-size towel. It affected my mind as well. The mind is such a powerful presence during yoga (that is the stupidest sentence ever-and reminding me of this). You develop this strange, close connection and come to know it very well. And I thought how interesting, when introducing a new environmental element like crazy and intense heat, how that affects the balance of that relationship. How you have to maintain the established self in these new circumstances. 

3. I had a thought just yesterday and it was this: Oh, how I wish, when I do a google search, I could insert something like "NOT PINTEREST" and have that be filtered out of my results. I would be so happy. So, so happy.  

4. It was quite blizzard-y for a moment a few days ago and as I was driving in it, I saw a person wearing a long, hooded coat walking on the sidewalk along the road. As I passed I delightfully saw that they were reading a book, outstretched in front of them (but very close to their face, because--blizzard) and my immediate thought was, not all heroes wear capes.  It was awesome.

5. I recently read an article about how throwing your apple core out the window has disastrous effects on the local, wild apple trees that are native to the area.  Because new apple trees sprout from your discarded seeds and they don't necessarily belong there, which wreaks havoc on the native ones, creating hybrids that aren't meant to be there.  And I had this thought come to me-- "stay wild."  And the importance of that. And I thought about carelessly introducing "invasive species" into ecosystems and environments, and considered that literally and figuratively.  And I liked it. And I thought maybe I can turn this into something.  But then again, maybe not. Click here for the article, though. 

6. Sometimes I just don't know what to think about this kid of mine.  Last night was the democratic debate which we've been doing our best to keep up on and he is SO into it.  In the beginning when there were twice as many candidates on the debate stage, we'd quiz him on who they were and he knew it! We tried to explain issues and what was going on but he really kept up rather well. We try not to influence him a ton, hoping he'll develop his own opinions about whatever, in general. But he's got some strong ones, I will tell you.  Last night he had a conflict in his sched that would dip into 30 minutes of the debate and he was really stressed about it.  "But I can't miss this debate! I have to be there! I love politics!"   Ha ha(????)

7.  Speaking of the lad,  here's a funny one from a few nights ago that made Jen look super dumb and Julian look a million times smarter, and better.  Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration. But maybe not.  Here's the dialogue:

JEN to Sean:  I think I'm feeling World War Z-y. 
SEAN: Oh y--- 
JULIAN, running over excitedly:  Oh REALLY?! Now you're talking!  
JEN: What? You wouldn't like it, it's super scary, remember? [i've told him the plot in great detail before] All the zombies? 
JULIAN:  Ohh... I thought you said "World Wars-y," like you wanted to talk about the World Wars.  
JEN: uhh... hahaha, no.  The zombie movie.  

So funny, and lame on my part.  Two thoughts on this: 1) I love World War Z. I don't know why, but I do. 2) Julian is on a major WWII kick and history in general, and we feed this fire by parking him in the history section at the library and just throwing books at him.  He reads a ton and it's THUH best.  I pray that this continues and also I should probably read some of those books as well. 

And those are all the thoughts for you at this time. When I finished typing them, I decided to go up and bold all of the statements that include "thoughts" or "I think" just so you don't miss them, these very important thoughts of mine. Hopefully they inspire you to think your own thoughts, and may they kick us all off into a new year of magic and thoughtful possibilities.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Merry 2019

Our card this year was a fun challenge.  Collaborating is always a bit of a process. It can take a minute before we figure out the vision and come to a shared understanding/goal.  But when we do, magic can happen and I think this year was no exception.   Special and huge thanks to Sean of course, but especially for creating our templates for cutting with exacto knife AND for scoring.  Such precision would not have been possible without him.  Also I could only do like ten cards at a time and have spurred on the arthritis, I am sure.

Wishing you were with us
in our home this Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

On the Eve

Here we are at the end.  Of the project. Of the year. Of the decade.  Being born in the year of a new decade, the turn of each one is always significant for me.  My life doesn't necessarily look how I may have thought but then I don't think I ever had a very clear vision.  But I definitely feel a turn rising. Nearing?  That good ol'  "at a crossroads" feeling.  I've never planned very far into my future but what I'm facing now feels particularly unknown.  What could this new decade possibly look like for me? I cannot even imagine.  I hope that's a good or maybe even a great thing.

To close it out, here are a couple of random blips that need to be put somewhere. On Christmas Eve sounds appropriate.

This was a conversation that took place at dinner a few nights ago.  I'm not sure it'll come across but it was too funny to me and I felt it important to record it:

JULIAN:  I'm going to make a goal to be less annoying and less weird.  That'll be my New Year's resolution."
JEN: Weird like what? Like talking about farts and stuff?
JULIAN: Yeah...  and bombs...
JEN:  Sounds good.
SEAN: But also remember to be yourself--
JEN:  --on the other hand, farts and poop....  *looks pointedly at Sean*  Dad doesn't know what he's saying.
JULIAN:  I used to do 8's like this *draws an invisible 8 on the table* and then in first grade, my teacher showed me to do it this way.     Sorry, let me turn it around so you can see.  *turns invisible 8 around*
SEAN: Oh, thank you, that 8 looks more normal now...
JEN: Yeah, I didn't know what that was. *laughter*
JULIAN:  *FLARP* (farts)  Excuse me! *embarrassed*  Geez, it's like a slide show of my life...

It's just the strangest sequence of events.  I could never have predicted it would go like that.

One more, because I think it's funny.  I read some dumb article or thread on twitter about some dude's misogynistic views of what men and women should be. He titled it "how to be a man/woman."  So I asked Julian, "what kinds of things would you list if you were describe how to be a man?   Here's his list:

How to Be a Man
by Julian

1. Try not to make rude gross disgusting comments at the table
2. Be more gentlemanly
3. Make charming jokes
4. Hold your fork with your left hand
5. Walk with your head held high
6. Stop carrying kegs and "party naked" t-shirts   [??]
7. Don't be awkward
8. Have words at the ready
9. Wear a simple suit with a tied tie that doesn't zip up and down [lol]
10. Make sure your hair is combed neatly so no hair horns are sticking up.
11.  Don't say anything if your date is wearing super high heels that make her look like she's standing on her toes.
12. Wear deodorant.
13. Try not to spill anything on yourself when you're eating.-- that's an important one.


How to Be a Woman
By Julian

1. Don't wear super high high heels
2. Ignore all the little mistakes that your date makes (I won't say "might make."  He will.)
3. Walk with your head held high
4. Try not to poop when your significant other is around (this goes for men too).
5. Don't make your voice sound sing song. Or sexy either.
6. Work as a librarian.
7. Be free to feel your own feelings. Men too.

Those are all in his own words and I was MUCH entertained by them.  Such good stuff.  This would be a good New Year's post but since I probably won't be blogging for a while, this'll have to count.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2019 OUT!... in a few days.

Monday, December 23, 2019


YES! It's been far too long since I've portmanteau'ed my name into anything.  This one is a real winner.  This year I have written a collection of poems.  It happened that I was just writing them because I love it but then I thought since I had a few going and since I think it's a fun way to track time and season, etc, around midsummer I decided to deliberately continue this jenthology for the remainder of the year.   

It's been a fun project and has only fueled my love-fire for poetry.  I hope to continue and develop this thing that has always been a thing for me ever since I could write, but it's a fun challenge to try a bit harder and make myself do more. To bring it out of myself. The thing about poetry is it is really bleeding hard. It feels like a crap shoot every time so that when/if I happen to come up with basically anything, I feel super satisfied and proud of myself even though I know it's probably junk. It's not great poetry, but poetry is effort. It's throwing your creativity into the fire and praying something decent comes out.  I tried. And I don't hate 100% of it, so, good enough for me.  

Also, it really makes me wonder where poetry comes from.  I know that certain moments or settings or life events can inspire poetry. Visions. Feelings.  But what really compels a person to do it?  I feel like it's always been in my blood, flowing life unnoticed.  It's a great mystery, but here you go-- a collection of poems chronologically through the year 2019, starting with some elegant prose called Dishes:

Dishes shmishes, if I had wishes,
I'd be in need of only one,
That all the dirty dishes shmishes
Could SNAP--just like that--be done.

Of all the things I like to do
I like them best when I'm with you
Of all the trips and chances to take
I take them with you, for heaven's sake
Of all the shows and things to see
The art to view and new melody
The food to eat and games to play
Of all the frigging words I say
Of all the challenges, of all the chores
Of all the opening or closing doors
Of all the jokes and every prank
Of all my lucky stars I thank
I'm just so happy it's all with you
My life feels best when it's lived with you.

Favorite, favorite, favorite boy.
Favorite friend and tickle toy.

Favorite reading buddy and nighttime talker
Favorite walk around the block-er.

Favorite prankster and co-surpriser
Favorite theorist and philosophizer

Favorite pal and my dream come true,
Yes, my favorite favorite thing is YOU.

Mountain Spring
Mountain spring, oh, what a thing!
The greenery its fountain
The emerald isle lasts but a while
Before brown becomes the mountain.

Summer days, when life's ablaze

Every morning presents its glory

The world a-bloom, the vanquished gloom

Forgone to a shiny new story

Breath begins, tho the spirit chagrins

That none of this will last

But we contend or perhaps pretend

That summer will ne'er avast.


You can try but you shan't defy

The blistering heat monster called mid-July

He sharpens his knives in continuous supply

And waits for you with plans to subdue

His kitchen swells until he's satisfied.

Bakes and sets and wins each time.

Nestled in the crockery tin

His stewy breath blown in your eye.

The fiery glint shows his new fry
Resigned and brined, no you can't deny
The new cook in town with a plan for pie
The new cook in charge, called mid-July

End of August

End of August, when summer hangs 

Frozen in the air before you

And you watch it,
Warm and waiting and wondering

When it will fall.

It begins to ebb 
In the mornings and evenings

Evaporating a little more each day

Until eventually, a midday moment

Is the only sign 
It was ever there
At all.

One Word
There's the life I've been given, first of all
I supposed I could end this here.
But there's surely more to say, to call
As the season beckons near.
It is the body all mine
That stores my soul
And holds every organ dear.
All the little miracles, each their own
That I may never even see or hear.
It's the joy of a moment,
The luck in a step
The new thing learned or lost.
It'll be the sobering reminder
The choice to be kinder
The things we relinquish at cost.
It's you and it's he,
And it's she and it’s we,
The riches of people who share
It's beauty and thought
Ideas that are wrought
Distributed by those who but dare
And that light in the mist
Increasing the list
The One on whom everything banks
For all these things,
And all the treasured beings,
One word: that'll be 'thanks'.

Once upon a time in college, my younger sister lived next door to me and my older sister left a message on the apartment's answering machine. She was discussing some plans and in a slightly hasty, awkward ending (as all voicemail message endings are), she blurted out, "ok, well, that'll be thanks! er..bye"  and hung up. And it was funny and has been a joke ever since, and now, at long last, finally made into a poem.

Morning Glory
Fluffy and white
A cloud of light
A golden sun
Just out of sight
If you're not there
After each night
There is no chance
My day will go right.

I scribbled this on a post-it note one morning and then later shared it with Sean and Julian and had them guess what it was about.

Both of them:  Awww, the CAT! So great! She really is the best. [continuous love expressed for the kitten...]

Jen: Um... no. That's not it.   It's an ode to a poached egg.

They were 100% convinced, and it's really funny that it definitely absolutely perfectly could also be about the cat.  Cats + poached eggs, my two great loves.

Unworthy Mountain

The mountain stands to tower o'er

To tower o'er and o'er.

Its purpose dauntless to all things lower

To all things lower and lower.
Its peaks alone know the wild storms 
In that stratospheric realm
That may never reach the lesser forms
Of the foothills they overwhelm.
For worthy is the upmost point
Which only sometimes decides to breach
That line where the snows disjoint

T'where the rest of us just reach.
But a mountain is still a mountain
And as reason tends to stand
We're all worthy of the storms that come
To every outstretched hand. 

The Christmas Cookie

The Christmas cookie

as any Christmas rookie
Will tell you stoutly

And no less devoutly

Is to be, on the hour,

One's goal to devour

So varied, raspberried,
And lemoned, and merried,
And shuffled and truffled, 

One dines a bit harried,

But each frosted jewel

Is Christmastime fuel

And each given the honor

Of soon being a goner. 


Alone is where the quiet lives
When buried thoughts return
Alone is where the magic might
Compel the soul to burn
Alone is when we introduce
The things placed on the shelves
Alone is giving time and space
To reacquaint the selves
Alone is when new things are heard
In whatever form the sound
Alone is when the work takes shape
A solo journey-bound
Alone is creation's precipice 

The crushing of the morn

Alone is where the hope exists

Where miracles are born.


The twinkle of the morning

The hush of glinting dawn

The twinkle of my night dreams

Thus dissipated yon.

The twinkle of the tree light
The highlight and the low
The twinkle of good intentions
Potential promises bestow

The twinkle of things quiet
The twinkle of things bright
The twinkle of the shifting time
As Day becomes the Night

The twinkle of the twilit blue
The sparkle of the dust
The twinkle for my heart subdued
The cradle for my trust

The twinkle of the watchkeep

To quilt a frozen sky

The twinkle of the stillness swift

And of a life gone by.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Merry Blitzmas

Ah, that age-old tradition reminiscent of a Dickensian Christmas.  The big seasonal photo blitz of all my random pics I don't know what to do with.  God bless us, everyone. 

{cat heart eyes emoji}

next year's christmas card? I'm honestly considering it. it's just so beautiful. {sob}

cinnamon roll!

cleaning out my mom's silverware, I found SEVEN butter spreaders. Who has this many?? And why??
 I attempted to lay them in order by age, starting with the original... ever. in history.

A Christmas Carol, going on... 4 times? 5? A kid puked in front of us but hearing a terrifying
Jacob Marley scream "MANKIND WAS MY BUSINESS" made it worth it. 

How Julian signs his name these days. His own personal symbol/logo? It's called an Evil Entity, just fyi. He's been drawing them since he was small and it came from a TV show, i think.  At least that's what I tell myself. 

i think the heap of candy wrappers really adds something to this nativity scene. 

"Dessert charcuterie" a la our profesh chef friend. The best.  Everything on here is fancy x 10. 

Art: In sculpture and 2D form.  As Sean said, "The regular rules of clutter don't apply at Christmas." 
Cider's in the keg.  This pot is huge. Look at Sean wassailing all over the town. 

Making my neighbor pal's longtime dream of caroling around a Christmas tree with a
bunch of other neighbors-- a dream I made fun of repeatedly-- finally a reality. We surprised her.
She cried.  It was awesome. I'm sitting with an autoharp on my lap. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Puzzling Christmas

We've been in the midst of a Christmas puzzle blitz. It's been great fun.  We had a couple of our own and I was close to buying some more online when I then had the thought, hmm.. maybe I'll check with my mom first.  Turns out it was the right decision because after she brought me to her multiple puzzle cupboards, I brought home like SEVEN wintery/holiday-y puzzles.  All 300 piecers which was my requirement.  Puzzle swapping definitely needs to be a thing.  Maybe I'll bring this up at the next staff meeting at the library... which I am not necessarily invited to.

I got a picture of all but one of the puzzles done this season.  Some were more challenging than others. Some were more fun.  Some were super weird, like this one:

Photoshop, USA.  Everything was weird and distorted.  Is that cardinal HUGE or the mailbox tiny?  How far away is everything in relation to one another?? Nothing is determinable and it was kind of the best.  If I were to design puzzles, it might be something like this, to cater to those puzzlers out there who also like to feel like they're in a bit of a nightmare.  7/10

The three chefs were surprisingly challenging.  A lot of overlapping colors and patterns here. Mildly fun.  I'd give it a 6/10.

Dress up kittens. Sadly we didn't get a pic of this one but I'd give this a 10/10.  Practically perfect in every way. So good.

The one looking in the mirror gets me every time.

We have another puzzle with the edges put together. But give us a free night and we can get 'er done in one go.  I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Also my amaryllis is out of control. It's supposed to bloom at Christmas and it was days--DAYS early. I love it though. Also I had to say it backward in my head to figure out how to spell it (sillyrama). 

Lastly, here is a video of us finishing a most perplexing puzzle-- you know, the kind where you're at the final piece and it doesn't fit.  ???  Less into the jigsaw variety, Julian was super into this puzzler because of the mystery aspect. Why would it not fit?!  Someone solve it! Anyway, I'll let you watch this most exciting puzzle conclusion, dare I say the most exciting there ever was in puzzle history. That's right! Puzzle history.  Also, this was actually done earlier this year but is definitely worth including.   Here you go:

Happy puzzling!