Monday, December 17, 2012

And Everything Did Turn Out Alright...

The thesis is complete. My written word, my small story, has been read, accepted, and approved as ready evidence of my graduation with an MA. And it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I always thought I was interesting only to myself or the words that I wrote or spoke sounded good to my ear alone - and to be honest, I was more often than not a much harsher critic than my inner artist could sometimes take. But my thesis was read, by doctors of English and Writing and Gender Studies and Politics. And it was read by my sister, and friends, and my great uncle and godfather. I've even emailed it to a few people interested that live far away. I am proud of my creation - it's probably the closest thing I'll ever get to motherhood. It has given me a taste of exactly what I said I wanted to do in the thesis - live the life of a writer. So here goes. I leave in 10 days, oh what wonderful things may occur before and after my departure...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Keep Repeating "Everything is going to be OK"

Why is it so easy to tell others how everything is going to turn out alright and be ok but not take that comfort for yourself? I have been driving myself mad with worry about paying enough off and making enough to NOT worry when I move that I'm missing out on the time I have left here. I know it's all going to be alright. I know it. But I keep forgetting and allowing myself to be swallowed up with the fright of not having enough to make ends meet. Even if I were to stay in Indiana I'm not sure I would be able to pay off this debt that the great and glorious college bestowed upon me alongside my diploma. So, why not go and not afford my bills somewhere else. I'll probably have a better chance of finding a better job there anyway. If I stay here I'll end up serving food for the rest of my life. I must go, I am going. What I need is a story. A project to get excited about. I need to have something to work on now that I have nothing to work on! Like Meg Cabot said, "Write the kind of story you would like to read." 37 days left...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Taking Care

Yet another phrase that I love: "take care." As if "care" was something you can grasp or hold onto or is physically present and there available to you to take. I took care of myself today. I spontaneously booked a massage and a facial. Mondays, after serving the whole weekend, find me feeling drained, groggy and sore. Needless to say I drifted in and out of snoring fits and unconsciousness during my massage - the therapist told me after I emerged that I would...feel a bit slow today. And that's how I feel - how I want to feel. The days are going quickly by and I have a little more than six weeks left in this town. And I need to remind myself to be kind to myself. I hope you are kind to yourselves today. If not a massage or trip to the spa, take care, take a moment of reflection and quiet. There are so few of them to be had anymore...

Monday, October 8, 2012


A sidenote to those of you that don't really know me - I love reading for more reasons than I can possibly name and one of them is that reading so often is the spark to inspiration. It can give you an idea or thought or word or phrase that will carry you through the day, brighten it, change your attitude, give you a new perspective and make a color that you always thought was just blue, is now cerulean. I read a simple post this morning, no more than three paragraphs long with a description of the writer's grandmother. She said that "she thinks what she says and says what she thinks." At first, I thought she was simply trying to be poetic and fill space and stretch out the well-known phrase "saying what you think." However, it stuck with me and struck a cord. What does it mean to think what you say? We all say a lot of things: "I'd like to run a marathon someday," "I am an informed voter," "I love your hair!" but how often do we really mean the things we say? I know I have certainly fallen victim to the ease of saying something to please a person or please a crowd or please myself and there have been countless times that I have not thought what I have said. I was playing a part. And yes, I know we all play parts, but what would our lives be like if we truly thought what we said? Would we be truer to ourselves? Would the fair weather friends sink back and the true and steadfast ones rise up? Would we be happier? I met a new friend recently and as most new introductions go, we told our stories. Inevitably and I'm not sure how, I always get to the subject of marriage and children. It is probably due to the fact that I am getting older and there are expectations for people my age (oh Bridget Jones, how apt you were). I told this new friend exactly how I felt. I do not want children. I do not believe I will ever get married. I don't judge those that do, I applaud them and purchase them gifts as society demands. And, I am not too silly of a person to not know that I am still relatively young and acknowledge that my opinions on such matters very well may change. As I was standing on my soap box, I realized just how far I had come. Many moons ago, on similar such introductions or first dates or "get-to-know-you-gatherings" or holidays spent with family, I would skirt around my feelings, hoping to not hurt feelings or risk losing a potential date or friend. This new friend, in my mid-twenties, showed me just how little I am willing to sacrifice my own authenticity for their approval. I am me - take it or leave it. I am secure enough on my own to follow my own feet and say what I think (mostly)...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chasing Minutes

I have this terrible tendency to hit the snooze button three, four, sometimes eight times totaling more than an hour slept past my intended waking time. This morning however, I woke to its 7:25 ring, and a short text right after that telling me my sister was sick and unable to make training this morning. I thought for a second how lovely it would be to get an extra hour of sleep so texted the trainer to see if he wanted me solo or just push it til next week. He wanted a workout himself so we decided to skip. I have a very long day ahead of me today - two jobs, a meeting with a friend to feed her dogs before she goes away on her honeymoon, bank and bill paying. So it was incredibly tempting to rest a little while longer. But I didn't. I got up and went for a quick run - only two miles because the changing of the seasons has me short of breath. And then I used the empty room that used to be ours for some yoga. Coffee and homemade breakfast followed and here I sit. Writing this blog. Most days, even the most event-less, I find myself chasing the minutes, unable to fit all the things I want (or need) to do before I have to run off somewhere else. But more often than not - minutes can be found lurking just on the other sides of the comforter, or inside the coffee mug made at home instead of at the drive through Starbucks. I am already planning all manner of things for tomorrow but will take this peaceful morning as a reminder that I can find a moment to be still, write, and prepare for the day. This calm will help me carry on.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


It has been five in the evening for the last thirty six hours or so. The light has stayed the same, a dusty gray that is soaked through with a mist that doesn't penetrate but gives the feeling of dampness to everything - even inside. The air is chilled, the leaves are turning. My dishes have been done almost as soon as they have been used. I baked bread. I went to sleep without crying last night, drowsy before the clock struck nine but unable to focus on the criticism I am supposed to cross reference with my thesis. I am set firmly in between loving this change and chill and shaded light and the desire to leave it behind for the place in the South where I hope my voice will be cheerier or at the very least - less strained and tired. I am less than three months away from this change, one that I am trying to prepare for, but not. What changes are you all making (or avoiding) today?

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I no longer dream about young ironworkers. It is no longer in my father’s house, however large and impressive, where I dream of living. I am not wearing flannel pajama bottoms or eating cereal. I am full grown and fully clothed. I am in a log cabin in the woods with fiery leaves and slats of the autumn sun streaking through the windows. Or I am in a modern flat overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Or I am in a cramped and miniscule studio with one good view in the middle of a bustling city. But the common thread, the recurring image, is a computer screen, or a laptop, or a vintage typewriter, or an empty journal, and ink pen or pencil or quill. I do not know where I am going to eventually plant my wandering feet. I no longer feel the need to cast my dream with a strong, tall, attractive man. I entertain supporting roles and extras, but the life that I picture for myself is no longer dominated by the presence (and more often than not, absence) of a male lead. I do not need him. I want my own home. I am seeking a life that allows me to continue to dream, and put those dreams down on paper. I am looking for a community and culture that inspires the kinds of stories I lived growing up, moving from place to place, and being made aware of the diversity and energy in each person I meet and city I visit. The strings of my soul, the products of my writing, are ready to wrap around a city, a people, and a set of memories. I am ready to become part of the world that I live in, and my writing reflect the beauty of the spaces and people I see every day. I want my words to be distinctive and true like the striking reality of what I see and experience. My writing will be like our childhood game of stringing a tree into a house, marrying the twine into the essence of the tree’s roots so that it is as much a part of its character as the earth that grounds it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I live alone now, again. I rise when I want, no one has to know how late I sleep. I can turn on music when my first alarm goes off and then drift in the music through several snoozes. It doesn't bother anyone. I can go out and get a cup of coffee and only get the one for myself. I can go anywhere in the apartment and I can make the bed because it was only me that was sleeping there. It is so much easier to be kept clean. I remember all of this. This freedom, this order, this way of moving through the day without speaking or being with anyone other than my own thoughts. I am more productive. I am lonely.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What Now?

The apartment is all mine now. It is such a sad thing, I know it will be an ok thing, then a good thing, then an annoying thing because it is so expensive for just little ol' me. But I made this decision and even though I cannot remember why - I made it. The grief and pain is blinding but I am that stupid kind of mature person that knows this was for the best, for now. Automatically and because that is just how my brain works, I have begun thinking of things I want to do now that I don't have a television or another person in this place constantly providing me with distractions, both good and bad. I have already done a great many things that will allow me the room to breath and think. I have rearranged and I have cleaned. I have thrown so many things away and placed other things in places that will serve my purposes only. I really don't have very many THINGS. Once the couch is out of my possession I will most likely be able to box it all up and put it in the back of my car. And what freedom, what great detachment exists in the knowledge that I can drive myself away and have only the things that I truly need. I want to run more and eat better. Of course I do - I wouldn't be me if I didn't see this as yet another opportunity to perfect my body. I also look at this as an opportunity to write and read more. No more TV (not that it has stopped me from having Netflix or DVDs playing constantly on my laptops). I have plans to buy a bouquet of flowers tomorrow. As well as devote an hour - just one - to polishing my thesis. I'm going to start slow so that I don't overwhelm myself with the pressure to DO IT ALL and fast. I want to read again. I always felt so guilty reading when he was here and no, not guilt, I just didn't want to do something that we couldn't share. I loved watching TV with him because we were interactive, we would talk about it, hold hands and learn together. But now, I have neither the TV or him so I have my books and my writing to fully devote to because there is nothing else. And it should be that way. I should, during this time, these next three months plus a year should be all about the reading and writing.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Paper and Ink

I spent the day as most days off should be spent. Late to rise, a quick run, coffee and a bagel with family then a good movie. Home to put away laundry, watch another movie and then a task of collecting and cleaning out books to sell. I found and began reading a book I've been putting off and saving - but I just can't get into it. I find my mind sometimes feels like it moves through genres and places in time life television channels...and it is currently not to set to a suburban-locked and quirky family post-9/11. The hard part is figuring out what channel it actually IS set to. Victorian England? 17th century Israel? Chick-lit circa Bridget Jones? I have a box full of books I have acquired over the better part of the last decade that I know I have no interest in reading again or keeping. However, that box is probably only comprised of about 10% of my current collection. I just can't bear to give the rest up. Some I am keeping because I know I'll reread them many times. Others I am keeping for reference that I may need someday. Some I haven't read yet but I want to. But most just remind me of something - a time spent abroad, a semester spent scribbling notes in the margins, an age that was marked by my obsession with it's hero, lines I'd hope to remember and use voiced by so many incredible female characters. These books are part of my soul. I think that's why I am so against the new technology of Kindles and Nooks. You cannot feel the weight of the ink YOU added while penning in notes about what you think the author meant when they said what they said. You cannot flip through the pages, see a coffee stain and remember the cafe you were sitting in when you spilled your latte. The books I refuse to give up are more than just paper and ink. They are the tangible memories of why I want to write. They exist and will go on with me because keeping them close helps me remember who I was, the innocence I had, the lessons I learned and the places I have been.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Revise, revise, revise!

A beautiful morning, much needed massage, catching up with an old coworker and now incredibly huge progress in the revision of my thesis. The sun is shining again even though during my run this morning around 845, the clouds became dark and the breeze picked up (ideal for a run) but it never did more than a quick sprinkle. About to head home now, get ready for a night of work and to put away the laundry that I did yesterday and make a healthy dinner for tonight. Was bad and not only ate two donuts, but had a cookie for dessert after a healthy lunch. Oh well. I did go for a run and have been doing very well. I am trying to find this new place of dedication. I talked at the beginning of the summer about writing out a writing schedule - keep dates and times like I was attending a job. Maybe it's Panera where I am most productive. They have bottomless coffee and internet and the kind of constant hum that is neither too loud or too quiet but just right for those breaks I need from my own thoughts but boring enough that i am forced to delve into my writing. I'll set some future dates up between me and Mr. Panera... I know that I need to begin thinking about and working on my context piece - which isn't nearly as fun as writing my own story - more of a research paper...something I was never good at doing. But, the sooner I get it done, the better I'll feel. I no longer feel as if the task of reaching 40 pages by August 1st is so impossible. And with these revised and reorganized pieces I now feel like I can totally devote my energy and time to new chapters. Love love that feeling. I'm excited to finish it and begin writing other new things after this. I'm excited to be in a new place and have a writing schedule that isn't going to be graded (oh so much scarier...submitted!). But that's the whole point - to do things that are scary but exciting. What are you doing that is exciting today?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Slept in...again

The one major downfall of my otherwise perfect that I am there late. Sure, I go in at 5, 4 at the very earliest, but I am often turning my key to enter the door close to 1:30, 2, 3a.m. sometimes. Then I have to do the shower and brushing of teeth and checking of various facebook and blog sites...and retire to sleep long after all the other normal people have. And, as a person that absolutely loves my sleep and gets downright angry if I don't fill my 8 hour quota - I am creeping out from under my covers at 10, 11 and on particularly blasphemous days, noon! I always have good intentions of waking at 8:30 or 9 to get some writing done, get an early start at the gym, or whatever it may be I want to do before the day gets hot and breakfast foods are no longer appropriate, but more often than not, I give in to my needs of sleep. Maybe someday I'll have a normal job - or crazy of all crazy thoughts - maybe I WON'T have a job, and I can dictate my own schedule!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

New Dedication

Hello Blogging World. I feel as if I have been a fair (or stormy) weather blogger. I know that my mother and father are pretty much the only people that read this but I also know how cathartic it is to write here. So I hope to rededicate to a more consistent blogging pattern - let's call it the great place of preparation for my departure, shall we? I woke up hesitatingly, not wanting to crawl out of my too-comfortable bed for the yoga class I've been planning on attending since last week. But, with the ever-so convincing mantra now forever playing in my head "You never regret working out, but you certainly may regret not going." So I went. And it was wonderful. I needed it. And it was challenging in a way that reminded me that there are things that I can learn and be challenged by in this town. I so easily get lost in the idea of "this town is absolutely pointless and there is nothing here that I can be interested in or have fun doing." This pose was certainly the hardest and scariest I've ever done - but stoked to have been able to do it! That silly notion was also put to rest when J and I went kayaking yesterday for a couple of hours. It is something I've always wanted to do here and knowing this, J (did his best) to set it up after my return home from Austin. It was a perfect day. Light breeze, full sun, pleasant kayak-renter-guy. And I loved it. Got a great tan and arm workout in the process too. So there, second thing that can be enjoyed in this town... Began thinking about all the things I will need to do to prepare for my next great adventure and I believe working and saving are going to be the biggest parts of that. Oh, yes, and also the whole "finishing of the thesis" thing. I would like to reach 40 pages by August 1st. Let's see how that goes. I will also not consider this blogging a distraction but more of a jumping-off point. Something that gets my fingers warmed up for typing and my mind flowing with words and ideas. Because, let's face it - you readers (mom and dad) are much easier people to please with my writing than my director and professors there's less pressure but more freedom to just, well, write.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Back to the Beginning

I just returned from a week long adventure deep in the heart of Texas. I spent three days and nights in Austin, and four in Beeville with my brother, sister-in-law and their two kids. It's been over three years since I've been back and a full twenty five since I was born there. Returning, alone, was something that I felt I needed to do, explore and return to my roots. Of course, I wanted to see my family - but mostly I wanted to see what the city of Austin was all about. I'd heard nothing, I repeat NOTHING but good things about it and everything they all told me was absolutely true. I will load many pictures soon and share more stories later - but for now, let me say, my heart has found a new, second home.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Teacups, tall hats, tit-mouse and tales...all of these things and more are why I love the mad hatter and hare the best in Alice and Wonderland. The Queen scared me, the twins irritated me (even then I didn't like children) but the long, long table with teacups overflowing, chipped, piled high and spouting steam always made me long for a way to pull up one of those high-backed chairs. Sitting around a table with friends and loved ones, telling jokes, laughing at their stories and practically knowing exactly what the next story would be and the pleasant surprise of a new one. That is the place I would want to rest if I ever fell down the rabbit hole...

Thursday, June 21, 2012


After only a few hours sleeping, getting up for a one-on-one training session was not something I was particularly looking forward to. However, I did it. I was even early. My sore quads and droopy eyes continue to remind me how much work I put into this morning's session. And even more of a reminder of how much work I've put into transforming the little (not so much) ol' body of mine. I never thought I would run a 5K once a week. I never thought I would budget and prioritize a twice-weekly personal training session. I never thought I would feel (gasp) athletic. Truly, it has been something that has helped me stay sane. I may not get around to working on my thesis everyday, or doing the dishes, or catching up on all those books I planned on reading this summer. But I rarely miss a workout. And I like that about me now. It gives me strength and peace and that's all any recently-turned 25 year old can ask for. Isn't it? (and no, I'm not either of the blondes in the photos above and below...just inspiring)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The tears are coming

I am nearing my 25th birthday. 25 has always been a year of importance to me - some have 30, others reach 27, 48 or 60 and think back on their lives and consider their futures. Mine is 25. This is probably because I truly do cherish and hold the value of youth high, the weight of age and forgetfulness, slowing down and losing touch frightens me so I suppose by beginning to look back and plan forward should begin earlier for me than others. Turning 25 next week terrifies me. I feel as if I no longer have any excuse to live a life of a child without anything significant being done or experienced. I can only serve food and go to school in this Midwest town for so long before I self-destruct. I do not want to be numb. I want to be enthused by everything and everyone that I meet and encounter. I want to write about my experiences and I want to have experiences to write about. I love my family dearly and will miss them terribly, but I just know there are other families out there waiting for me...other groups that have arms wide open waiting for my arrival. And yes, I am terrified. I do not want to go anywhere alone and I feel like there is a greater part of me that wants to remain here, play it safe, and grow old in the veritable midsection of the country. And perhaps I can. Would it be financially possible to own a home here and afford to travel the world? I don't have any answers right now. Apologies for the rambling but I find myself in a place of rambling, scraping for answers and direction and the discipline it takes to be productive and happy. The tears are coming...farewell for now.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Most of the time, when I set about organizing and putting things in their right place, I'm procrastinating. However, today, it really needed to be done. I had about 6 steps full of books and papers and magazines that I placed there days, weeks, even months ago because I thought how smart I would be that I would just grab a stack on my way up...when in reality all I did was get creative and learn how to walk, step and hop over my piles. My "medicine cabinet" aka, hall closet, had been taken over by random samples, half empty (or half full depending on the likelihood that I would use the rest of said product) shampoos, lotions and perfumes, hair ties, headbands, deodorant, vitamins and all manner of travel makeup bags. I threw nearly half of everything that was on the shelves away and organized the rest with their respective fellow products. I also went through my magazines. Now, I have a very difficult time throwing old magazines away because I always need something to read while working out at the gym. I kept the good ones and threw away all the rest - I still have about 30+ back copies of Self, Women's Health, and Cosmo which I intend to donate to my gym before moving away (I still do not have a location picked out). The point of the matter is I did not feel as if organizing today was part of an avoidance of other things that should have been done. I now have the freedom to go to the gym at 8, come home and eat breakfast, nap for three hours, watch Sex and the City for two and then set about throwing things away and organizing in preparation of the aforementioned move. It feels good not to see clutter and I've gotten rather addicted to throwing things away - I think of it as a sort of reverse-hoarding tic, perhaps one that needs to be checked before I've given my sister the option of taking and using some of my no-longer-needed things... I'll save the pictures, paintings, clothes and shoes for her..I doubt she would have any interest in a two year old lotion that once smelled like lavender but now only smells like the plastic bottle it resides in. I hope you all are enjoying your day and also have the freedom to liberate yourselves from the unnecessary!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Walk the Dog in the Sunshine and Rain

Last full day in Seattle - and I really don't want to come home - to reality, responsibility, reason, rules...I'd like to stay here forever, eat and drink and walk around for hours (although my four hour "walk" yesterday left much to be desired, soaking pants, sore feet, and a general disdain for the incessant rain). The walk down is always much easier
than the walk up
But, as long as there is a perfect glass of wine and the book you have been saving for three years to read, then its worth it.
J said yesterday how sorry he was that I had to be here alone. I am not. I don't have to be here alone, I chose to be. There have been moments of sadness, loneliness, and the wish that I had someone to share in the cuteness of all the dogs that populate this magical city.
But, even though there were those brief moments and forecast full of rain and cold, there were more moments of happiness, contentment and breakthrough of the sun.
I wish you all the freedom to take the plunge, spend the savings, and head out to a new adventure. You'll never know what you learn about yourself! <3 V

Monday, May 21, 2012

Getting Lost

I have taken a trip by myself again for the first time in nearly six years. I am in Seattle, folks, and have virtually no direction, no plans, no itinerary other than a coffee shop here, and a chocolaterie there to visit. I intend to do a great deal of writing, resting, snapping photos and well, eating! Sometimes we just need to get lost, throw our hands up in the failed attempt at looking for that perfect french bistro to have a first dinner in, and venture into a dingy diner. You never know the deliciousness that they may cook up, or the magnificent views that you might see. I am sure I will be posting much more in the hours and days to come, but for now, salut! Here are a few shots of what I have seen thus far...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Living in the Moment

Barely woke up in time for 6am yoga - but I made it with six minutes to spare. Poor sis's car wouldn't start so she got up early for no reason and no yoga...there's always next week. Just like last week after an hour stretching and posing and holding, I thought that I would be ready to crash for a two hour nap before 10am personal training - however, I opened my eyes from savasana and felt energized and ready to be productive in between workouts. So I came home, made some green tea and ate a pear and did some laundry. I tidied up my room and the living room and decided to make a trip into Chicago for some Whole Foods action and some delicious Intelligentsia coffee. There have been things that have been hanging heavy on my heart lately, worries that I can't shake or figure out or know what to do with. But I was reminded today in yoga, as I have been in the past of a teaching that reaches across practices, religions and faiths - and that is to live in the moment and let tomorrow worry about tomorrow. I so quickly let myself get wrapped up in what might happen or what should happen or what I want to happen that I miss what's going on around me. I think that's why I yearn for a place where there aren't many seasons because I find myself hoping for a warmer day than this one and miss out on the warmth and the sun that is already shining down. So, as the sweet small girl teaching class this morning whispered for us to keep our intentions close and focused, I will try to remind myself everyday, to just be, here, everyday. I don't need to make a decision for something that might happen down the road and I don't need to worry about how happy or unhappy I could be based upon any decision or choice that I make. I just need to be happy today and trust that I will find happiness tomorrow, in some small or large way. And if I make a mistake, or have a bad day, that's ok too. I can move past it knowing that there is a new and fresh start right around the corner. I hope you all take the time to live in the moment today too. From my learning heart, to yours.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New layout

So, I am officially NOT a fan of this new layout. It is cold, it is generic, and I feel as if I am missing some sort of connection to the page that once cradled my thoughts before sending them out for your few eyes to read. Which, probably means I will begin to post less, irritated with change, unable to accept any kind of thing that is different from what I have gotten used to. I am such a conundrum sometimes - all I can think about right now is the incredible change that is going to soon occur in my life when classes are over and all I think about is writing my thesis. And THEN another change will occur when school isn't even a part of my life at all - I will have a Masters. And even another THEN, I will be moving. To where you may ask? I have no idea, but that's ok. It's going to be somewhere far away and lovely. However, there are some things that are going to change that I fear. I fear that I will not be able to stick to the structure of a designated time to write. I fear that I won't move away as soon as I want to and I'll get locked into serving for years (which is in effect another fear of change - a fear that if I try something new, like writing, I may fail). So many fears, so many plans, so many hopes. What are you hoping for today?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

So close

My eyes feel so heavy, they droop lower with each line I read. I went in to work for a sick girl last night and was out until 1:30...which didn't truly give me the rest I needed for an 8am training session and then marathon study afternoon. I am making progress but still feel as if there is so much to get done before beginning a long, long weekend of work. Three doubles in a row, Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning at 6:30 and surely ending close to 2am...I pray for a break in between - of at least two hours or so to either rest, take a walk, or eat. I will be fine - I've had practically this entire week off. But of course, it is now crunch time for school and even this brief and gifted 7 minutes away from the texts on literacy and autobiography theory feels like a cool shower or a soft down pillow cradling my weary head. I hope you all have a lovely weekend. This will probably be my last post for a few days...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I woke up this morning earlier than I normally do on Tuesdays. Tuesdays are generally my days off - a day where I sleep until almost ten, attend a torture session with our personal trainer and then meander the day away either shopping, catching up on homework, getting out of town for a minute or on my most indulgent days...nap for hours. But this day I have planned many things because I know that I have days this week that are also free and without work until Friday. So I decided to get up early and begin by writing and reflecting on what hopes I have for this day...

-Personal training in an hour
-A healthy and hearty breakfast
-Grocery shopping
-Mail in state taxes (gross)
-Meeting with professor to discuss direction for thesis and hopefully gain an insight into why I am unable to secure a third reader!!!!
-Complete outline for Thursday's presentation
-Revise the many drafts I have that will be due in a few short weeks
-Have dinner with a lovely friend and pick her brain for an "expertise" for another final paper - looking forward to what this paper will be.
-Bed early...

The sky is rippled with overcast today, the wind is strong and on it blows a harsh chill. Our midwestern weather does not disappoint in its tendency to be unpredictable, fair and then harsh and more often coming in like a lamb and out like a lion and sometimes brings about the personalities of ostriches and billy goats. I am grateful for the cold and clouds though, it keeps my mind from wandering and wishing I could be out lying belly up in the sun, daydreaming and warming myself on the beach.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Glorious Free Time

I do so enjoy the days when I take advantage of my free time. I slept in until 9:45 today, meandered into the shower listening to music and then saw a hasty text to meet my mother and sister for breakfast - to which I quickly went. After beginning my first half of the meal as the finished their last, I was left alone to enjoy my coffee, get my upcoming work schedule and found myself here, at Barnes and Noble, getting the many things I have to do done. I work in a little less than two hours and have checked a great many of my to-do's off of my list. It's such a great feeling and cannot wait until my list is comprised of not much more than working on my thesis and enjoying the beauty of the warm summer. I can't wait to catch up on "fun" reading, movies, tv shows and many walks and activities spent outside. It's going to be a glorious summer and I am truly blessed to be able to enjoy so much free time - even with two jobs and a full load in school.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting it all done

All the necessary steps are beginning to be taken for the next phase in my life. Before, I would merely have to purchase the textbooks, read a few chapters and make sure I had some scrap of unscribbled paper to take notes on in class. Now, as I enter the part of my education where I write my thesis...I am finding myself drafting proposals, gathering and conferring with reading committees, writing countless emails and researching how my little, insignificant ideas can be placed in the world of literature and writing out there. I feel both more important and adult-like and at the same time childish and wandering around in a vast new arena with rules I don't yet know.

My goals are vague but I know that I have some. I suppose all I have left to do now is keep working on my studies and simultaneously attempt to move my project forward. Draft, revise and revise again.

I hope you are all well. Perhaps I'll take a day away, drive to my old school to be inspired by the changing and growing trees, and feel the peace that will come knowing my sole purpose there will be to write.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Life of a Writer

Coming up with just a few short weeks (6 to be exact) until I am done with classes I have begun thinking about what is next. I have to write and complete and defend a thesis (of which I have written none nor written my proposal) but essentially I am looking at a summer filled with working, writing, and preparing to make the great leap of moving away for a short or possibly long time. We still have not picked a place but that doesn't bother me. I feel as if wherever we do go will be an adventure and I have no problem moving back home should it not work out. I have burned no bridges.

But I have been asked, more and more, every day, what I am going to do when I finish my degree. This question almost feels as if it is my final exam, my ultimate test to graduate with a Master's. It's as if to earn this, I must know what to do with it. That is simply not the case. Finding the time to write even this simple blog is a challenge and I don't even have any readers! (except you Mom and Dad, hello.) But I do have high hopes for what my life is going to look like not only after I complete my classes and final papers, but what it will look like when I move somewhere new. Naturally I will find a job, either in my field or out of it, but I believe my great, grand, magnificent answer to all those wondering faces is that what I intend to do - is live my life and write about it. I want to have the time and freedom to try and get published and from what I've heard and read - that is a job in and of itself. So, if it means I need to work in a Starbucks or some restaurant or something somewhere that will pay the bills and have the freedom to leave work at work and come home to write and submit - then that's what I'm going to do.

And I think, honestly, that's the reason I want to move away. I am not a fan of the Midwest, true, but the winters aren't all that bad. This town isn't all that dull. It's just not as inspiring. And I know myself, if I stayed, I would work constantly. Having two jobs again, I would end up working six days a week, dawn til dusk. And to NOT do that is what I've been saving for. Of course I'll work wherever I go, but I also want to have days off, nights off, weekends off, to observe my surroundings and what those surroundings are doing and stirring in my soul. I want to write about that. I want to write about being displaced and actively experiencing the unfamiliar. There is a familiar face on every corner and I already know their stories here. I want to meet new faces and have the opportunity to envision their stories without already knowing them. It's going to be hard. It's going to be scary. But it's going to be worth it if I can get even one experience, one story, one glimmer of inspiration and at the very least AFFIRMATION that I was able to get out, leave, move out on my own. So let the official count-down begin. In roughly six months I hope to be packing up, heading out, looking sharply around every corner for inspiration and hope of something magnificent.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Today I am spending my hours selfishly. I do not work today. I do not have class today. I have no plans. There is a bit of homework to be completed but not too terribly much that it will be a bother.

I started out with yoga, coffee, and a bagel. Now the strings of Adele, Duffy and Nora Jones are crooning through my laptop speakers, weaving in and out of the bands of sunlight streaming in between the living room window's blinds. It is a beautiful day. Perhaps I'll pack a picnic, go to the park, and sit and eat under the trees. Allergies be damned, I will reenact those lovely days eating outside in Grant Park in London, gloriously alone, without guilt trips or obligations.

Today I will be selfish.

Today I am off the grid.

Monday, March 12, 2012

High Hopes for High Temps

Day one of spring break was interesting to say the least. Words that can be used to describe it include surprising, relaxed, disappointing, laughter, Tichu, cheesecake, small victories and exercise. I liked it and it was a good day. I didn't do any homework except begin the documents for my papers that are due next week. I would love nothing more than to knock everything out and think that I have a good shot at it. Training in the morning then a short drive to a sweet B&B to catch up with my Irish twin. Still waiting for an answer on a great and exciting opportunity so take this small post as a check-in amongst the business of work and school and everything else involved in my small life. I am loving the warmth and the storms and the intermittent sunshine. Are you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another One

I feel as if every few weeks, months, years, I have a rekindled desire to start afresh. Whether it be a diet, a workout regimen, a writing goal, savings account or whatever needs my focused attention. So, here I am again, hoping for a more disciplined life. I want to start eating well again, and dedicated study and writing time. Waiting until the last minute has never really hurt me when it comes to grades, but this semester feels completely different. No longer can I b.s. my way through talking about a book I read, I actually have to produce something worth while and intelligent every week for all three classes. Bright side...I'm only 2 and a half short months away from never having to do anything like this again...hopefully. I can't wait until summer. Yes, I'll be writing my thesis, but that will not require me to be in class or answer to anyone other than a single professor once every few weeks (at least I think that's how it works). I dream about novels read for fun, evenings spent watching all the shows I want to watch but feel to guilty to because of a looming assignment. No one I know is still a student at my age, or even younger. Sure, they have things that keep them busy, but I have all sorts of plans for the hours and days to come that are no longer filled with SCHOOL.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Oh, the doldrums of winter in the Midwest. It has been a biting cold day, one that I had to enter before I had fully woken up, late and rushing after my alarm was silenced. I got bad news about taxes owed, will-power to eat healthfully fully diminished out of lack of habit I'm sure and I haven't been to the gym since Friday. Training tomorrow should be a hoot.

I need a goal. I think that goal should be something along the lines of training for the upcoming 10K in June. That way I'll have the motivation for a pay out and the required nutritional restrictions to ensure I build my running body properly. Tomorrow will be a day of errands. I want to go to bed early tonight so I can get a head-start on them before our workout at 10. Packing and preparing for a trip is never really fun and I always have the lingering feeling that I will forget something along the way.

So off I go to do what I do best, make lists of things to do, make plans, and dream about ever getting them done.

Night night.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I wanted today to be big. I wanted it to be grand. I wanted to come home after gym, errands, class, coffee with a giant smile on my face. I somehow don't think that is going to happen. All I felt in our training session today was irritation and defeat. All I felt after getting home and showering was exhaustion. All I did during my break was read a few assigned chapters for tonight, think of a few questions for our presenter and take an uncomfortable nap in my sunny car. My delicious coffee isn't doing much yet, and my least favorite class starts in 44 minutes. I was tempted to go out and buy an iPhone, or a new laptop, or spend a couple hundred at Urban Outfitters on a couple pieces of clothing to brighten my day. I didn't do any of these things to be wise and save for the oh so hazy future. I am working much less than I ever have in the past few years. I am taking more classes that require writing daily than I have ever in my college career. I am working out and training my body harder than it ever has been trained before with VERY slow results.

I need a vacation.

I need some fun.

I need a relief from the incessant routine of my everyday.

I want to play hooky.

I am leaving for "vacation" next Wednesday to spend four days with my family and respective boyfriends, wives and children. While it should be fun, I fear it won't be very restful. Remembering the last time we spent an extended amount of time with my brother and his family, it was all about them, what and when they wanted to do things and no matter how little I am a children-person, or activity person, or any kind of person that will inevitably disappoint them or cause me to spend the entire time doing things I am not thrilled about. The thought of curling up in a corner by the fire with a book seems ridiculous. It will be fun, I hope. I'm just in a funk. When is spring? When is spring break? When can I have a free day without papers, bills, deadlines, work, food journals and obligations???

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I feel incredibly excited about this year. Looking forward to sharing exciting things to come.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oh, Karl

He's so sweet and innocent surrounded by so much terrifying darkness. I don't know why I don't protect him better and always encircle him with such menace...I think its a balance issue...

See what you think...

"Berries in the Snow"
Karl really did enjoy looking after the Ice Plantation. It made him smile every time he circled the complex and confirmed that the Graces had not yet penetrated his barriers. He had figured out years ago to tie balloons filled with paint to the invisible strings. It made his job much easier to trudge round and round, looking for an explosion of color marking trespass. The snow was fresh that day, crisp and confetti powder that in daylight shimmered in a million microscopic prisms. The crunch, crunch, crunch beneath his snow shoes echoed off of the trees and cedar castle. His iron-tipped club (for this was the only weapon that worked against the red-throated beasts) was securely fastened to his belt, next to a canteen full of cocoa and a whistle for trouble. It never occurred to Karl that there was no other Karl or guard like him that would come to his rescue should the whistle prove necessary. It never crossed his mind that the whistle existed to let the ice people know that their borders had been breached and Karl had failed.
It was Karl’s job to look after the ice people, their eyes like diamonds and their teeth sharp and layered like those of underwater hunters. They existed in threes; one male, one female, and one child and they never touched each other and especially not Karl. Their voices sounded harsh like the static that plays through a station without songs. They always wore white and only by the color of their oil-slick hair could you see them in the snow. Karl would sometimes get lost and sink in the beauty of their dark oil hair. The sun reflected on their heads colors of cerulean and laurel green and like the seal that swims towards the curious, Karl always found himself covered and choking in a spillage of chastisements for taking his eyes off the borders. They terrified and amazed Karl. He always preferred to stay closest to the border and far enough to stare at them unnoticed. It never occurred to Karl that those he protected were actually afraid of him and his warmth. It never crossed his mind that he was being used and exploited for his size and willingness to serve. Karl was like a giant boy monster, eager to please and easily amused.
Because Karl had not encountered any colored warnings that day and it was nearing the time of his final round about, his mind began to wander. He was not ready to return to his lonely hut on the edge of the grounds. His feet carelessly followed his mind, slowly beginning to swerve in and out and around the line that separated the safe and unknown. His elephant legs skipped over the invisible fence easily, leaving the cautionary balloons undisturbed. On a single hop out, Karl noticed something in the distance. Through the snow and stony woods that surrounded the Plantation he thought he saw leaves. Karl left his post to seek it out, look closer, and see how living leaves could be growing in the middle of the snowy cliffs. The sunny day was beginning to wane and snow was starting to fall quickly upon him. However, instead of the darkness bringing with it the cold, Karl began to feel warmer. The closer he came to the leaves, the more he felt as if he were again in his small thatch hut on the edge of the grounds, huddled around his modest fire. Karl removed his jacket and stopped to untie his snow shoes, finding it easier to walk with his toes outstretched. He suddenly felt a sharp sting on his shoulder as he passed beneath a low-hanging spiked branch. Karl barely noticed and continued towards the shrub. It never occurred to Karl to remember to bring his club as he loosened and dropped his belt along the way. It never crossed his mind that he may need it sooner than he would have liked as he led the Graces behind him as his guiltless blood dropped like berries in the snow.
As Karl approached, the small shrub radiated such a vibrant bottle green and boozy scent that he fell to his knees before it, dizzy with its beauty. It seemed to have risen up from the ice just for him. Karl knew it had been waiting for him, all this time. It was different from the black trees dripping ice like daggers. It needed Karl to take care of it, helpless and cold alone in the woods. Karl removed his scarf and then his shirt, warmed from his large body, and wrapped them around the abandoned shrub. The heat was coming off of the plant like a fire as his body sifted deeper into the snow. He began to think about the ice people and their terrifying beauty as he stared deeper into the heart of the shrub. He wondered why they never touched each other as he stroked one of the fuzzy leaves, its skin as soft as a lamb. He thought about them slowly circling, seemingly fearful that if they slipped or tripped into each other, they would shatter and fall to pieces in the snow. It never occurred to Karl that they were all already shattered and scattered around their cedar shrine. It never crossed his mind that the ice people had never seen so much terrifying color as the explosions of paint surrounded their home. Karl was kept company with the Graces’ gifted flower as they easily passed through the invisible lines, setting the grounds to a kaleidoscopic of hues. The whistle lay quiet, soon buried by the falling snow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

So Many Other Things

There are so often days where I would gladly trade what I have to do with other things I would like to do. For example, I should be doing my reading for school next week, when all I really want to do is finish reading The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. I need to be writing drafts for papers that will be due this semester, but really all I want to do is journal and work through The Artist's Way. I should be tidying up the apartment because it's going to drive me crazy if it gets any worse, but really I would like to just leave it and hang out at Starbucks all afternoon. I should be happy to go into work tonight and make money to pay bills, but all I want to do is buy that lovely pair of boots I found online...for a modest sum of $275....I should be thinking about what I want to write my thesis on and really get going on it, but all I want to do is research flights and hotels to Seattle, Denver, California and Europe. So, I procrastinate and write here in this blog, doing neither the necessary or the fun things. I hope you all have a wonderful sunny day. I'm going to try and be productive now. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Great Start

It's only 11:36am and it's already been a lovely day. I got up at 6:30 to meet sis at the gym at 7, worked out for an hour, home, showered, and now have been at Panera for two hours completing an hour of dedicated writing. I was worried for a moment there. I was a bit groggy and sleepy from such an early rise and unable to think of anything new or interesting to write down but I just made myself start typing. And you know what, I'm pretty pleased with what I came up with. Even if it isn't particularly "good", the practice of writing and disciplining myself to write every day is a good thing. So, now, with an hour or so until my appt for hair color and cut, I think I will reward myself with a little nap. Hope you all enjoy this beautiful sunny and warm day. I know I will. I've been thinking of posting portions of a story in a sort-of periodical style here...haven't decided yet if I'd like to do that. It would definitely keep me accountable to writing consistently but I am afraid I won't like the story or I won't know how to keep it going? So here's a little sample of what I came up with today and we'll just see if I keep it up. No promises.


She made the effort to close the door quietly as she left her house that morning. At around 7:20 she was sure her mother and sister would still be sleeping and didn’t want them to wake up just yet. She walked around behind the white house with chipping paint and climbing flowers towards the small shed where her bike waited for her. It was an older Schwinn without any speed settings or fancy brakes, just a mode of transportation and economy since she had not yet been able to save enough for a car.
Kate turned seventeen that summer of 1996 and lived in a small fishing town in Maine. She had been homeschooled since she was eight and developed incredibly close relationships with her mother and sister Sophie. Having graduated early after choosing to not take much of the summers off, Kate had begun working for a local bookstore when she was fourteen. Now that she was waiting to hear back from colleges, she was working as many days and hours that she could get saving up for the adult life she was so ready to lead.
The sound of the pine needles and twigs cracked and parted beneath her bike tires. The dew was still heavy on the leaves and grass and kicked up slightly behind her as her bike made its way to the cliffs. She loved this part of the morning when the birds started waking up and calling out to each other across the tunnel of trees as she passed through. She was thankful she had remembered to grab her sweater on the way out, the cool night air was still lingering as the sun was just barely making its first streaks through the tree line. Her white Keds pedaled on and she looked forward to the coffee and scones that would surely be waiting for her at work.
The smell of lilies and roses greeted her as she turned the corner onto the path that led to the Tattered Edge. The store was located on the lower floor of an old Victorian house built a century ago and remained in the same family since its construction. Agnes was the last surviving member of the Sterling family having lost her son a decade ago in a car accident. Kate wasn’t sure how much she still mourned his loss; she never mentioned it and was afraid to bring it up in case it caused too much pain. Not to mention he had died without marrying or having any children. Kate wasn’t working for Agnes then but she remembers the rumors that circled the town about the fate of the house when the elderly woman also passed away. It was a historical landmark and its location on the cliffs was envied from the locals and hoteliers alike. Many thought it was a waste she had converted the bottom floor into a bookstore when a Borders had been built downtown a few years earlier. Agnes seemingly did not regret her choice after retiring from teaching a few years ago. Money wasn’t an issue and never had been. Her father had been one of the wealthiest factory owners in the state. His only regret in life was that he was unable to produce a son. Not without lack of trying, both within his marriage and without, his only offspring was Agnes.
Kate opened the door of the large home as carefully as she had closed her own. The key that hung from a ribbon was bronze and heavy in her hand, much unlike the small metal ones still clipped to the back of her bag. Agnes had begun sleeping later and later but never forgot to set her coffee pot to be ready by the time Kate had arrived. She could smell its strong aroma as she walked through the door and Percy, the calico cat that haunted the shelves and stairs of the house circled her feet.
“Ya, I know. You want your milk” she said to the cat as she walked to the kitchen.
She opened the refrigerator and saw a note on the glass jar of cream. It was written in the flowery hand of Agnes and said “Please place the tray of scones in the oven for 40 minutes while you open. Do not let Percy in the front room, he has been torturing Wallace. –Agnes” Kate smiled as she took the note off of the jar and poured a saucer for Percy and set it on the chilly tile floor.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Awake My Soul

There is a particular Mumford and Sons song that I love and always find myself humming, even if it's been days since I last heard it. "Awake My Soul", a short song, but so good. That simple line does more for my motivation than any tight jeans, looming deadline or shift to get to. Awakening my soul is exactly what I intend to do this year. I've read so many facebook statuses, blog posts and general murmurs of every person I encounter about how "This year they will________" fill in the blank. Sure, I'm hoping these personal training sessions and dedication to diet will pay off in some sort of weight lost and health restored, and of course I'd love to reach my savings goal so that I can work less, travel more and dream of all dreams, move to somewhere far away.

But mainly, I want to enjoy my life. I only get one. I want to be happy every day. I want so badly to write things down, be it here, on paper, in my journal, on the walls, or on the back of a receipt. I want to use the voice that I know lies within me somewhere. I want to find the key to unlock the room of potential for creative outpouring. Most importantly, I need to figure out this soul. It is so important, and I've wasted it worried about money and pleasing people and making sure that everyone else is happy. What about my soul? What do I do about it? I will not list my intentions for 2012 here. I simply hope to soon share many revelations and surmises of the creative process that I hope to embark upon this year. I yearn to feel alive, grateful, humble, and curious.

I want to matter.

I wish you luck with yours and beg your support in mine.

Awake my soul.