Thursday, April 28, 2016


She’s fifteen.

Though it feels like just yesterday she was that chubby little bundle that slept like a turtle.  I remember noticing the day we brought her home from the hospital the lilac bush had come into bloom while we were gone.  This Saturday, our lilac bush was coming into bloom once again.

I have the words to fill hundreds of notebooks on this girl, with all her struggles, her accomplishments, her quirks, her downfalls.

Did I ever imagine who she would become?  I know I must have, but right now it is all so about whom she is becoming that I don’t remember what I wished for. 
My stubborn girl, who won’t do something if she doesn’t want to, has NEVER gone along with the crowd, who prefers the company of two friends she has kept from elementary school  to a gaggle of girls, who has never bought into the drama and always speaks her opinion loud and proud.

The girl who talks about anything and everything out loud to the embarrassment of her sister, the one who leaves banana peels and yogurt containers lying around the house, tidiness is not one of her virtues, you can follow her trail anywhere. The quiet one, who doesn’t talk just to fill a void.

This firstborn, the one who was filled with anxiety, always in distress through the hardest years of our lives, the one whose stomach has never been right.  She, the one, who bore the brunt of my learning to deal with hormones and attitude, who had her phone taken away far more often than her sister and who had to deal with the terror of her mother’s screaming at a situation where she felt out of control.
The one who so often opts out of the system, never typical, always I look forward to what she will do next.  She, the one who opted out of school and has taken over her own learning, who finally found confidence in Math, who with this time is discovering and exploring her passions.  The blooming feminist who cannot stand what is unfair.

The girl who at ten was doing her own makeup , not like I did, but with perfect subtlety so that I couldn’t say, no you are not walking out of the house like that.  She is the girl who can take five random items out of her closet and look smashing, who designed outfits for her dolls out of napkins and fabric scraps, who sits at the computer for hours not playing the game, but designing the hair, makeup  and clothes for her characters.

She is and always will be the little chick under my wing, needing hugs and time close together, my girl who I can snuggle and talk with for an hour before bed, the one who hated to apologize but who would leave notes on my pillow.  She is not afraid to still love her Mom and she makes me laugh so hard sometimes I think I will wreck the car.

I love her so, couldn’t imagine my life without her, and really I can’t wait to watch her, to guide her to the fantastic things she is yet to become.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

stepping away from life

My Grandfather moved on from this life last week.  I did no writing here because my time was filled with caring for and from my family.

You see, I have the most incredible family.  I have told several people over the course of the last week if everyone had a family like mine the world would be a better place.  Care taking is something we do well and something I spoke about at the memorial service as being one of the main things both my Grandfather and my Grandmother taught me about.

I've cried a lot of tears knowing how much I will miss him, seeing him walking outside with his favorite outside cat Buddy, sharing bird watching stories, watching him on the tractor outside, sitting on the porch swing.

But I'm not sad for him.  He lived a long (almost 90 years) and full life and was ready for what was to come.  I'm sad for my Grandmother who is alone after a marriage of 70 years.  I am sad for my thirteen year old daughter who is feeling it very deeply.  I'm not quite sad for me, though it keeps tapping me on the shoulder in odd places.  I dream nightly about death in some form.

I just want to continue to live my life in a way that would make him proud and I want more than anything to take care of my Grandmother.  Last week I spent more time at her house than my own, returning home did not feel right and back up the path I would go.

I had no obligations last week other than being and caring for my family around me, work, school, even cooking were put to the side.  Though it was very difficult, it was the most contented I have ever felt.  Now, as reality sets back in, I feel the crush return. Back to work, back to school, back to the daily business of life and I long to step back to last week when all was needed was loving care.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

the search for quiet

This house (the real one that is) is anything but quiet these days.  Two teenage girls will do that.  In all actuality there is never any quiet in this house, I go to bed earlier than the girls now, and peace, well, that is a thing of days gone past.  Nothing outrageous, just, you know, hormones.  I find myself craving peace even more now, yearning for quiet spaces.

I had considered doing a silent retreat.  Just for a weekend.  Oh, wouldn't that be nice, just some time alone with a few books on St. Francis of Assisi and no one to have to talk too.  I even researched and found a little place not too far away here in Maryland, with rooms or a hermitage.  Then I got a new litter of foster kittens, and oh well, there goes that idea.

My father bought one of those little Amish made sheds for his backyard.  I stopped to see him and went for a look.  I opened the door and stepped inside and oh my, I thought I could stay in here.  Its bare bones., just wood braces and a rough floor, but there was a window on one end and my delight when I found it even opened.  Oh how I wanted one so bad in that moment.  A little shed in the backyard with a window that faced the woods.  A  hideaway, an escape, a little writing cottage, don’t all the best writers have those.  Just a little place to step away from the opinions, the noise, the demands.  Then I feared I might not leave it and the girls would have to wander out to ask me if I was coming back.

I know that the day is coming soon that this house will be too quiet.  When it will just be the cats to keep me company.  I imagine I will be yearning then for the return of talking and laughter and even the occasional slam of a door. 

Being present is what matters most I guess, and finding peace in the midst of the chaos.  Yesterday I began yoga again and daily prayer.  I've been lapsing and I guess it's showing in my frayed nerves and the recurring panic attacks.

I cannot afford the little shed.  There are other needs, braces, glasses, a new car.  But I am tucking it away in the back of my mind for one day.  I am seriously contemplating it.

Monday, March 7, 2016

just now: march.seventh.sixteen

current time: moments before I should be leaving for work

in my belly:   Lady Gray tea in a Panera cup from yesterday

out the window:  a bit of frost, that will disappear very soon

in my ears:  woke up with “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie in my head

by my bedside:  “John The Baptizer” by Brooks Hansen.  I’ve been working through this one for a while.  It’s in novel form and a lot to work through, but someone I’ve been wanting to know more about.

watching:  don’t spoil me, I’m watching the finale of Downton tonight.

wishing:  I could be home more, weekends are a flirt, going so fast and leaving me satisfied but longing for more.

feeling:   appreciative of the coming Spring

learning:  how to put together lesson plans for Em now that she is homeschooling

good things:  hot tea in the morning, spending a weekend morning out with Em, when K comes into my bed in the middle of the night, being so close to help my Grandmother when she needs me, the olive bar at the grocery, my new fluffy pillows

the love list:

want to see The Man Who Knew Infinity, love Dev Patel
there’s a jellyfish cam,
this word: psithurism
I made this so incredibly easy cake this weekend
cute kitten overload

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

the curse of the infp

my heart hurts from all this

talking, talking, talking 

is anyone actually


to what anyone else is saying


I feel like I'm giving up on the world.  I'm watching the way the people around me treat each other. I'm watching my Facebook feed fill with opinions, opinions, opinions that are treated like pure fact.   I'm watching the utter nonsense that gets spoken about who will get elected and why and why not and can't we all just get along.

It just keeps getting louder and louder and louder and people keep getting meaner and meaner and meaner and suddenly everything that everyone does is wrong, not good enough, to be shamed.

It’s hard to be the feeling one
It’s hard to be the empath, the perceiver
The sensitive one,
who cares too damn much

Please, I just need a still small space full of kindness and quiet, just for me. Right now, before my heart explodes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

swift scenes-the forest

{photo from Pinterest, no source listed}

The forest was old.  It knew many secrets.  Secrets that it guarded, given to it by the Creator.  The forest as it grew learned the keys to this world.  It knew what was needed to thrive.  The forest had passed many hundreds of years standing strong and protecting itself and its creation from what passed it by.

The forest was sacred.  As the land around it was taken, through need, through exploration, through progress, the forest remained.  As if some great force was protecting it, it continued its calling.  Its purpose.  The forest housed life, from the long buried earthworms, the most diminutive of insects that crawled across its roots, to the animals that sought refuge inside the sturdiest of trunks and the birds that flew among its guarded canopy. 

The forest was a sanctuary.  Created from all that was good, it grew in its own time and at its own pace.  Life flourished.  Native flowers blossomed unhindered.  The shaded ferns unfurling themselves each year.  The branches lay dormant but each spring flourished in a vibrant green that burst forth in new hope and thrived until the period of decline came, itself so beautiful, heralding a last glorious brilliance of color before coating the soil in a blanket of detritus that would serve it in its rest and retreat the following winter.

Any living thing that came to the forest thrived.  Plant, animal, even human.  Humans were a rare sight in a forest this deep.  The few humans that did venture to the forest left different than when they came.  The ones that came to the forest had open hearts.  They felt a longing to something more primal, some draw to the nature of things, some grasp of the understanding that there is more to what is seen on the surface of things.  The things the forest knew but could not teach, only provide.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

just now 2.24.16

It’s raining.  Again.  I’m not sure if I am glad or not that it isn’t snow.  We’ve had the strangest winter. Our temperatures have continually fluctuated forty degrees in a day.  My daffodils have risen and may perish again this year.  I looked at the forecast this morning and there sat the little rain icon for every hour of the day and night.  We might possibly have a thunderstorm…in February.

Em will be home again today.  She is homeschooling and I worry about her, home alone all day, especially on a dreary day like this.  Though I admit to being slightly jealous.  I must work.  There is no other option when you are the only parent with an income.  I want the Springtime to come soon so she can get outside with some fresh air and sunshine on her skin.  I am so craving open windows and fresh Spring breezes.

Every year at this time I feel like this.  Over winter already.  Especially these strange half-winters.  I laugh as I write this, because I have written this over and over again each February. True it is nice to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea and a book or Downton Abbey.  Oh Downton, what will I do without you.  Every year I make plans for projects to do over the winter, but they remain unfinished, some not even started because I just want to burrow through these bleak months.

The animals, they have the proper idea.  Oh how I wish I could snuggle into a downy burrow somewhere until the warmth returns.  Slow my body, my breathing and slumber.  Oh to slumber.  

Perhaps when I go home tonight I will curl up in a blanket with my alone child.  We can talk about how we wish we were forest creatures, living in solitude.  If only we had tails to tuck up under our chins.

Monday, February 22, 2016

swift scenes i--becoming brave

As a way to get my writing groove moving, I am going to choose one photo from my Pinterest page each week and write a scene for it.  This one came together pretty quickly and I already feel like I might have to revisit these two sometime again.   Curiously, I want to find out what happens next.  I have an idea ;-)

photo collected on pinterest board "kitt-ehs"

“It's okay,” he seemed to be saying to her. “You'll be fine.”

She didn't know.  It seemed too dangerous to be so far away from their refuge, a hedge full of leaves, decaying trash and tangled plastic bags.  It wasn't much, but it was safe.

It was all too much, the sounds, so loud.  The people moving so fast.  Too many things she thought could hurt her. She didn't trust any of it.  Fast-moving persons, fast-moving cars.

"Watch," he indicated.  "Wait."

She settled in on her hind quarters beside him.  Not too close, but close enough.  He had looked after her all this time. Since she had found herself "lost".  He had heard her sad mewling and led her to the hedge and kept her safe.

She sat and watched with him.  He didn't seem bothered by the action around him.  His eyes were fixed in front of him at the door nearby.  

Until it opened.  A big round human stood in the doorway.  This human moved slowly.  Turned a sign on the door and looked over.

"Rocco," the human said, looking over at them.  "Rocco, you've brought a friend."

The human moved closer to them, down the step with a breath and a sigh, and she skittered quickly, pressing closer to him, her heart racing, pounding against his fur.

The human came even closer still and she shivered, wanting to trust, but not so sure.

"Rocco, who is your tiny friend?" the human said bending down.  "Well, you're just a wee mite of a thing and a ginger at that. Let's get you taken care of."

Her friend nudged her.  "Come on. This is it."

She still wasn't sure, but she was braver when he was next to her.  Her friend.  If he trusted this human than she guessed she could to.  She pulled herself up and skipped after him.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

a love of books

I've noticed lately that my girls are not reading.  too much time with the little boxed screen and too little time in the words of some one's imagination.  I need to remedy this.

We were always reading growing up.  If you walked into the house you would find us all in a spot somewhere with a book, sitting over the heater vents or in front of the fireplace or wood stove were favorite spots.  We grew up in an old house and it was typically very cold upstairs. I remember being so lost in a book in front of the fireplace that when my mother walked in and  spoke to me it was like coming back through a portal to the present time and place.

The very first books I remember were the little golden books.  The Pokey Little Puppy, The Tawny Scrawny Lion.  From there I remember The Little House books, the Trixie Belden series. then stand alones that remain favorites, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Merry, Rose and Christmas-Tree June led to a love of Edward Gorey's image.  Behind The Attic Wall both thrilled and scared me, Little Women, The Secret Garden, oh my.  As I became a teenager, I terrified myself with Stephen King novels, many sleepless nights, but oh that writing, and my mother tucked a paperback collection of Christmas romances in my stocking.  In fact on Christmas, we each had a small stack of gifts under the tree each wrapped in our own individual papers, more often than not, mine were books.

Now I read a wide variety of books.  I still have my favorite collections that I revisit every few years, The Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter series.   I began my first mystery series by Louise Penny thanks to the encouragement of my mother and aunt, thank you, I can't believe it took me so long.  I love wholesome little village tales of hope and promise, thank you to the towns of Mitford and Harmony.  I duck into the library and sneak out Amish romance novels and try to forget that there cannot be THAT many widows and widowers in these small communities.  I love reading stories of getting away from life, and journals and memoirs and stories about cats, May Sarton writes with beautiful honesty about all those things rolled up in one.  I love reading about nature and the way miracles happen everyday, thank you David Kline and Bernd Heinrich.  I thumb through cookbooks in bed like they are catalogs. I love to read books by the Christian mystics and Buddhist teachers.

My amazon wish list is 23 pages long and is broken into three separate categories.  I rarely buy books these days, opting towards the library or used booksellers.  I never read fiction on my kindle and most of the time it's battery is dead.  I love the weight of a book in my hand, the smell of a book.  I miss the old check-out cards in the back of the library books.  Before I even started the first page I would go through the card and read the names of the people who read them before me, feeling a common bond with them.  These are my people.

My father has stacks of book collections piled around his house.  My mother fills journals with lists of the books she has read.  My sister, the young adult librarian always has a to-read list a mile long. To us books are life and we need them just as we need shelter and food and clothing.  What a sad, dull world it would be without them.

I have books that are like old friends.  They wait for me on the shelves to pick them back up again, paragraphs are highlighted and marked to bring inspiration or a smile. And they are always there these words, these characters, these homes that welcome and bring me peace.  Most of the books I read remind me that there was a gentler time, a time when people moved at a natural pace and took the time to do quiet things like, cook, bake, sew and read.

We must read more.  A library card is a terrible thing to waste.

Friday, February 12, 2016

choosing to foster kittens

Last year we began fostering kittens.  It was something I had wanted to do, but thought that I wouldn’t have the time.  Foster kittens are nothing but time consuming.  They are small, weak, hungry and craving love when they first arrive.  Some are skittish and hide in the corners, some openly claw their way up your back and settle on your neck.  They are all unique and have distinct personalities.  Even when they are close in coloring and markings, it becomes easy to tell them apart in the matter of a day or two.

Some struggle like Atticus in the beginning, barely half a pound, syringe feeding over the course of long nights, trips to our foster coordinator for IV’s and treatment.  Now his foster parents show me pictures of him, large and in charge and always ready for a snack.

Some like Augustus just seem to love life from the beginning.  He was a constant source of entertainment and now has taken over the hearts and lives of my cousin and her family.  He and his best buddy Sarah are a pair like no other.  The happiness they bring out in each other causes my heart to swell.

They are easy to love, these kittens.  They are hard to lose, like dear Addison who I had only a matter of a week before he succumbed and died.  They were my first litter and when I awoke and found his soul gone and his body cold, I berated myself for possibly missing something, for not knowing.  I was told gently the statistics for kittens to survive coming into the world. Much scarier are the statistics for these little ones in the wild.  Here is a link about Fading Kitten Syndrome and the statistics of why we lose so many.

These kittens came from the streets, a backpack, a hoarder, behind a grocery store, in the hedges.  Some make it, some don’t.  We give them the best possible chance and we teach them how to love.  All my kittens love.  I teach all my kittens to love.  They are hard to let go after all that love.  But as foster parents we do it.  We see to it that they are ready for that new family, that furrever home.  Some take longer than others. Sometimes it just requires patience. Harbor was so spoiled she went to three adoption events, clinging to me and crying.  Finally, the right person came and she settled into her arms and I knew she'd finally found her place.  

I see it all the time at adoption events.  A certain person and a certain cat just click.  In the right hands a nervous kitten in a busy pet store will just melt into a potential adopters arms and we know.  We all know, every one of us that works in rescue.  We smile knowingly to each other and know that the adoption fee is going to be paid and that kitten is going home. 

Winter has been quiet.  No kittens in the house, but Spring is right around the corner and with it kitten season.  I said I would take the winter to decide if I will foster again, but I know I will.  I can’t resist.  When the call comes, I can’t say no.  They need me and in a way, I need them.  They bring something out in me that fills a need.  Caring for them fulfills that nurturing side of me.   I doubted I could do it at one time.  Now I know that I not only can, but I am made to do this.

I would love if we didn't have a cat overpopulation problem.  I would love if people would responsibly spay or neuter.  One day I hope to take a bigger role.  I would love to fill my days with animals like these, but for now I will take what bits I have and give them a starter home.  I can't save them all, but I can take enough to fill my heart and give these dozen each year a fighting chance.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

my blog cannot die

I haven’t written anything on my blog in a long time.  I stopped for a time because I said things got hectic but you know it never really slows down and I miss it.  I changed my vision of it, trying to make it a community blog and smart and streamlined and well, that’s not really my purpose either.  It’s always worked best when it was an outlet for my writing about my feelings and my observations of the life around me. 

Right now, I’ve realized I miss the outlet that blogging gave me.  It was my therapy really, my confessional, my place to let go of those things I harbored inside, whether good or bad.  Sometimes, people connected with what I wrote, but then I felt guilty for not making the blog rounds back to support them because as always, time, time, time.  Some days I feel like my words went out to an empty cavern, echoing back to me that no one really cares about what one little person on a little hill thinks.  What makes me so full of myself?  What makes me think I am special?

They say blogging is a dying form.  That Instagram is the way to go now, and no one reads blogs anymore.  It takes too much time when you can scroll through an Instagram feed.  I’ve tried Instagram twice now and I get it, but it doesn’t work for me.  First I have the worst camera phone ever and second I have a hard time typing on that little screen because I have a lot of words.  I’m a writer by nature more than a photographer.  I love both, but it’s the words that flow so easily from me. 

So I’m going to start writing here again, just me and my thoughts, some good, some bad.  You are welcome to join me if you wish, if not I will be glad to have this diary to look back on and see the progress I have made.  If anything it gives me a reason to make a habit of writing and that is what I think I am missing right now.