Dear Old Blog,

I saw your name today for the first time in months.  livelaughgrow.blogspot.com It was written in a very special place, inside the pages of a dear friend's freshly printed book.  A real book!  With our names in it!

Which got me thinking about how I never really said goodbye to you, and I need to.

The first place I was ever brave enough to publish my thoughts online was a xanga.com site during college.  I remember how powerful it felt to put my words into cyberspace, even though almost no one knew they were there.  The potential for someone to discover them was exhilarating.  It made me careful, but not cautious.  I could write things there that I would never say to a real person.

Swayed as I am by public opinion, I followed the masses from xanga to blogger, where I found you.  I remember picking just the right name for you, like a child.  And on my honor, I chose your name before placards and keychains everywhere were emblazoned with the words "Live Laugh Love."  It was My Idea, and the right third word was: grow.  Because that's what I was doing with you.  You were a safe place for me to grow as a writer and a person.  I met other writers that way.  Got my heart broken (as usual).  You introduced me to my husband, sort of, in that the words you kept safe for me were the first parts of my heart he was able to see once he knew I existed.  I never imagined I was telling my husband about myself when I told you, but it made this place all the more sacred.  

The last post I ever wrote was about summer, pregnancy, and David.  I was just emerging from some of the deepest loneliness of my life, and I celebrated by coming to you.  That's always been how I know I'm ok.  If I can write about it, I'm ok.  When I have abandoned the pen and page I know for certain: there is drowning and no life boat in sight.

I'm sort of glad I didn't know that would be my last Real Post, because there would've been so much pressure.  What would I write about?  How would I say it just so, so it was final and right?  But writing about sunshine while my firstborn son grew fingers and lungs inside me: that was right.  I just wouldn't have found it if I had been looking.

This same thing happened to me one other time.  During my most uncomfortable years between college and learning how to be a twenty-something, I found safety in a friend's home.  Really, it was his parents.  They lived in a house with an addition that was added on to that was then added on to.  There were at least 6 cars in the driveway at all times, half of which were in various stages of disrepair.  And the driveway?  It was dirt, with giant craters and sharp rocks on the ready to puncture any low-profile car's oil pan (mine).  But that didn't stop me from pulling my car, ever-so-carefully, into the driveway, knowing that inside I would find family,  good food, and love.  They loved me.  

As with most of the stories from this season of my life, this one was complicated by unrequited love and the awkwardness that enters immediately when someone's mother is more interested in your being there than the son ever would be.  In the twisted story I told in those months, the night he came to tell his parents he had a girlfriend was the same night I became stranded at their house and had to spend the night.  In his room (since it was empty).  I remember lying under his loft bed, small reminders of his presence and absence around me.  A few clothes, the smell of his cologne, his Bible, all Not Mine.  At all.  I cried.  I slept.  I did not rest.

A few weeks (or was it days? I don't remember) later, I was folding laundry (theirs) with their Mom.  We were chatting, like we always did, making piles as we went of each son's shirts and socks and underwear.  Somehow we came to talking about how one day would be our last day visiting like that, because we both secretly knew I needed to make room for the Girlfriend, and that my own heart needed space to breathe again.  We both cried, talking about this.  It would be so sad, that Last Day.  If only daughters could be successfully added without the permission of a son, I thought.  I would add myself.  But it couldn't be done.  So we cried.  I drove to my apartment that day, thinking about the way the continents were shifting.  

And I never went back.

It wasn't like I meant to leave forever.  It just sort of happened.  I didn't say goodbye, because I didn't know I needed to.  Like here.

Anyway, so I guess I'm finally saying that goodbye, to both of you.  And thank you.  I know I have been changed for the better.


P.S. You can find me now at plumeriapost.com.  It's a work in progress, like me.  


:: so, ::

It's summer now. Good thing, because I hated Winter and Winter hated me back. I avoided it as much as possible, staying inside more than a human should and curling up like a cat in the rectangle of sun that would come through our bedroom window every mid-morning.

And I slept. Actually, I think "hibernate" is a more accurate word. I slept through most of January, February, and March. Woke up long enough in April to realize that it was still snowing. And why? When would it end?

But it's summer now, and I love summer. Something new happens in me when it's warm. I get warm too, and open myself up to possibility. It's been a while since I did that (which I'm ashamed to admit). I'm ready for change, which isn't my usual way. I'm ready to find a favorite coffee shop with David, to have "our" places and "our" Fun Things that we do regularly enough to say it's something that we do.

Fun Things have been the recurring theme of the last few months. Rather, their absence has. Medical school and nursing school -- the collision of those things in our lives -- have robbed us of what most normal people have: fun. I'm not just feeling sorry for myself, I'm being honest about our life. Yesterday David decided he will be postponing his next boards exam so he (and we) will have more time to study and -- oh yeah -- some time to live in the meantime. He made a schedule in his Google calendar. Every day on that schedule is me, "Fun Things with my Love." I actually started crying when I saw it. Which is when I realized how much of a strain it's been on my soul to wait every day hoping he will have time to enjoy with me, then going to bed another night with no time converted into memories, just hours spent hoping.

Hoping isn't all bad, but it's certainly not for the faint of heart. And glorious day! My hoping has turned into happening.

So here I am, in a too-warm house, writing it all down so I don't forget: the best is yet to come. (because, we're busy creating it!)

:: I blog all the time in my mind ::

Doesn't that count?


:: lansing ::

I love Lansing in the summer! We went for a bike ride at dusk, straight down Michigan Ave. and right at the river. There were fireflies blinking on the grass and people having drinks at the sidewalk restaurants. I never thought of it before, but it feels in downtown Lansing sort of the way I imagine France to be -- only with fewer accents and baguettes. At any rate, I love it, and it seems to love me back.


:: phoenix ::

Somehow it is July, and the only words I've written in ink on paper have been in a woman's hospital chart. I am a student nurse. I'm tired. I'm happy.

David is in his first week of his first rotation: Internal Medicine. He loves it and is attacking it with the vigor of a climber on the first day as they set out from base camp at Mt. Everest. There's nothing but confidence in that moment -- and excitement, which will hopefully be enough to sustain even the weariest one on the most challenging day. He will conquer.

And although I'm to be writing a ten page patient assessment (or rather, because of this), my mind is brimming full of opening sentences for books without faces, without plots. I want to write even fiction when a health history is the alternative. Please -- someone make me write a poem or thought-provoking opening paragraph to an essay! Instead of dying, it would seem my creative side is a phoenix rising.


:: just ::

I need to be up in about five hours, and need more than the usual amount of thinking and brilliance once I'm awake. This is probably why I can't sleep - no matter how I fold the pillow or how methodically I breathe. I am being held captive in Today, begging for passage into Tomorrow, and hoping this midnight writing will at least bump me up to business class if I ever make it on board.

For some reason I've been thinking a lot about 2006 as I lay here folding and unfolding my pillow. That was a particularly bumpy year for me, with highs and lows like an EKG beating in my days. I was visiting 2006 in my journal yesterday and came across an interesting bit of self-analysis. I wrote that my fatal flaw was that I didn't want to be alone, going into unnecessary detail about how that little fear would keep me from ever being un-alone. I was convinced it was the prison of my own making, a self-fulfilling prophecy. I thought of it like taking a candid photograph, which is impossible the moment someone knows there's a camera in their midst. Smiling at the camera is nice but isn't candid. Wanting companionship is great journal-material but also happens to be stronger than 100% DEET as far as companion-repellents go.

At least, that's how it seemed in 2006.

If I've learned anything about love & relationships since then (and I hope I have), it's that there isn't a fail-proof method for either attracting or deterring them. I don't mean you can't ever end a relationship or that you can't keep from getting into one. I've found ways to do both, albeit clumsily. What I'm talking about is that fatal flaw business, which is not about doing but being. I thought I needed to be something or someone different. Clearly, that was the problem all along, right? I wasn't her. I guess I'm glad to feel, in 2010, that I am her. And looking myself over carefully, I see that I've been her all along. That there wasn't something terribly wrong in 2006 that I expertly mended between then and now. I'm just me.

And I'm really happy to be.


:: worth ::

Some nice person left me a comment today, and now I feel like a writer again. Thank you, Nice Person. Writing is what was supposed to be happening in between everything else, and really, because of everything else I'm chasing after. Incidentally, there has been quite a bit of chasing and not much documentation at all. I've hardly written a word. It's almost as if none of it ever happened. So for record's sake, this little post will be the first page in old library books, stamped with just the essential information. Most people will skip over it; a few will find it fascinating that no one at all checked it out for two solid years and then three different people read the book in a month. I'm writing this for the latter.

  • I started nursing school. I did it. Or rather, WE did. All of us. Everyone who told me I'd make a great nurse. All of the sick people in Gerai who let me see firsthand what suffering comes when no one knows how to sterilize or bandage. And the crazy poet who never stopped talking. Maybe her most of all.
  • We planted a garden. Spinach, peas, carrots, kale, swiss chard. I'm most proud of the swiss chard because it is pink. Turns out I like pink things, even leafy pink vegetables. It will make the prettiest salad.
  • I've been married for five months. Five! Someone asked me today what I thought the purpose of marriage is, if it's to have children and populate the world or if there's something deeper going on. I'd have to say, at this five month mark, there's been no earth-populating and yet I know we're not stagnant. We're busy figuring out how to speak the same English. What "now" and "later" and "on time" mean. How to be nice when it's 88 degrees and the electrician still hasn't come to put in the ceiling fan.
  • I am in bed by 11 now. Most of the time. Sometimes even 10:30!
  • I started a book about third culture kids today. Although I've known about this book for a while, and even talked about it at length with a stranger in the Jakarta airport last summer, reading it for myself today made me teary-eyed. In a happy way. It's nice to be re-reminded that I'm not alone, not half as weird as I feel, and every bit as important as that Nice Person made me feel.
The end. (for now)


:: normal ::

There's nothing wrong with my life. I am healthy (except for a broken tooth... more on that trauma some other day when I'm ready to talk about it), have a refrigerator full of food, got plenty of sleep last night, have a list of things I could and should be doing, and am loved. I have friends to talk to, a bright future, journals and photo albums filled with the vibrant back-story. There's nothing wrong with my life.

So why are there still longings, stirred sometimes by something as simple as a song? I used to think that if I felt alive when I was on stage singing that I must then be made to sing. Other people are quick to agree -- you should be doing this, Mandy. The same is true of writing. Putting words in order, the best words in the best order (poetry), reaches places in me that otherwise are unstirred. Am I then made to write? Should I wake up every morning and fill pages up with me?

I realized recently that I have a hard time being honest about my life. I have no trouble telling you, if you are in front of me and we are talking, just exactly what I think and how I made an idiot of myself in this way or that. Or perhaps I will demonstrate on the spot by saying something no one ought to in such a place or time. I do things like that.

But it's harder for me to talk about waking up in the morning, the complete lack of motivation I have in the moments of my life that add up most. The fundamental ways I fail by letting things like an empty toilet paper roll frustrate me. Love keeps no record of wrongs.

I always wanted to be a shooting star, and I think I finally figured out why. Because it's easy, in one brilliant moment, to be perfect and beautiful and important. It is much, much harder, on the other hand, to maintain my regal posture whilst doing the laundry and stirring together my third curry of the week, or sitting quietly writing answers to a Bible study that no one will ever even read. It is so much harder to be good when you know everyone has stopped watching.

I think it is possible to die of boredom, or monotony. We wait all day to watch the sun set. I guess I want to stop waiting, to find quiet nobility in being normal.


:: August 7 ::

So I'm somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, about an hour from Taipei, flanked by two of the greatest, also most fantastically bored, nieces. I love these kids. Even when Ellise doesn't stop asking questions and Kaela says she needs to go potty in ten minute intervals (and doesn't -- she just wants to walk down the aisle).

Ellise has taken a huge interest in the safety information card in her seat pocket. I think she knows every airline procedure for a water landing, down to taking off her high-heeled shoes before sliding down the inflatable ramp.

When the girls were sleeping, I was thinking about what I'd do if the plane really did crash in the water and I was trying to save them. It just seemed so obvious that I would rather die myself than left one of them suffer or drown. I love them.

And I wondered if this is what it might feel like to have my own kids someday.

:: August 2 ::

A strange day. A goodbye sort of day. I cried at only the inappropriate moments. When it counted, I couldn't find any tears. Two people cried at me and I just stood there, helpless to conjure up the proper emotion. I am deficient.

:: niece 3 ::

Selene comes in about a week -- Selene, who is under ten pounds right now and hasn't learned to breathe yet, and will someday smile at me, maybe sing with me, be one of my favorite people. I'm ready for you, baby! Please come early so I can see you before I go to Bali!

(She didn't come early.)

:: july 31 ::

On this very last day of July, I am actually in bed with plans to sleep, and it's just after 11. I have not been getting enough sleep. I am tired, tired, tired, and ready for a vacation. Fortunately, that vacation is just 3 work days away from me. I love you, Bali. I just wish David was coming too.

Speaking of David, he is wonderful. I don't use that word lightly, either. He is my quiet in the middle of a crazy life, or my laugh when everything is going dark. He is so kind and generous and hopeful. He thinks I'm beautiful, too, says he forgets and then stares at me in wonder when he's reminded. It's really like being a princess, only instead of a whole country of devoted peasants I just have one adoring subject. He's my favorite subject, too, comes up in all sorts of odd conversations. And the magnificent part is, I don't even feel badly bringing him up. It's like I'm supposed to. (I guess I am.)

:: July 14 ::

I went to see Coldplay with Jessica, as her "adult." I love being all grown up. :)

Coldplay was as it should be -- mind-bogglingly superb, with music that everyone sings word for word and a show put together specifically to inspire awe.

I loved every second of it.
The Things I Let Slip

It isn't the usual things
which go noticed. I never
take a sick
day. I'm dressed and pressed
have three job
titles none of which quite
No, it is those other quiet
more obliging guests,
letters which sit
never ripped open.
Questions, nice ones, like how
do you do? I don't have enough
room for any
thing new.
It's the essences, the blood,
not the bones.
I'ts me that's slipped.

:: July 4 ::

Happy birthday, America! To celebrate, I decided to spend half the day working out how to get my beautiful nieces a visa to leave this blessed land. Not forever, of course. They'll be back.

:: June 30 ::

I am one the edge of crying. I feel so pressed on every single side, sides I didn't even know I had, or had forgotten about. I'm tired. I want to sleep all day. I have been going -- going, going going -- for months. Maybe years. Lansing is my only rest. David is my safest harbor. I am so grateful to be anchoring there soon.

(I love you, David.)

:: june 25 ::

Somehow, in the time it took me to blink twice, this week has come and almost gone. No one told me online summer classes would take up every millisecond of my "free" time. I'd also forgotten how much I love Vacation Bible School. I'll miss it, alot. I hope I'll be able to do things like it in Michigan. Am I really leaving? I don't understand that yet. It all feels like fiction to me. Maybe one day I'll have kids who will read this and their only existence will depend on my walking forward, with any courage I can muster, into their future. Into my future. Let's go, all of us!

:: June 15 ::

It's nighttime everywhere in America, even in Hawaii. I'm very tired, mostly from trying to fit reason into my thoughts. We all live by rules, whether or not we admit to them. Movies are entertaining because people in them do more than just entertain the thought -- they act on them. Tonight, I am not acting on about 7 different very interesting scenarios. I'm in a queen-sized bed with polka dotted sheets. There is no theme music. There will be no credits. And thank goodness -- I don't know who I'd blame for all this normal.

:: baccalaureate ::

I'm sitting in a baccalaureate, looking at the backs of high school heads. They're all walking through what I did nine years ago, but I feel like we're walking together. The winds of change are blowing -- they're tousling my hair. And it might not be my day, but it's my graduation too. I'm leaving so may things behind, learning to live without alot I thought I needed, learning to stand on steadier legs. I am ready for what comes. I am just ready, inside.

"History will look favorably upon me,
for I intend to write it. " Winston Churchill

:: May 31 ::

"Quit running away and chase your dreams -- "

I feel like that's what I'm taking the risk to do. I need to write. I need to start blogging again. Not only big things. Boring things. Silly things. Any things. They're all my life, and my life is valuable.

I think school has pushed alot of things out of the way. I have lost a few things, and I want them back. They are:
- writing poetry
- blogging
- living in a clean room
- hanging out with friends with no time limits
- "Take care of yourself, take care of each other, take care of this place."
- writing letters
- sitting in the sun
- loving David better

:: May 27 ::

I'm finished with Anatomy & Physiology -- just like that. Two little tests and I'm free. I'm a little shaken by the speed of life lately. I haven't had my seat belt on. God, I need you. I am so tired.

:: content ::

I always thought when I was single that I would be content once I was in a relationship. Not surprisingly, I have found a great many things to make me discontent even in these last blissful months. I never would have accepted that before, but now I think I was just masking a different issue. I thought was completely happy except. I didn't have the one little thing that would make everything else glow.

Sadly, there is a deeper problem at work -- a heart unwilling to just be. And see, that's the real problem. I am almost content, but. And that does not go away. In fact, it can be worse in a relationship because there are now two people to cause problems, to steal my fragile happiness.

:: butterflies ::

I don't live in a constant state of butterflies, but when they come, I love them.

:: May 1 ::

Tonight a strange wind is blowing, quite literally. There's something about the dark that doesn't settle well -- I've always wondered why a perfect world needed night. I suppose a perfect world could enjoy it best, with all its glory and none of its worry.

:: March 15, again ::

Somehow I ended up in an "economy plus" seat on this United Airlines flight. I'm not fancy so this is maybe the first time that's ever happened and that by no special doing of my own. So there's extra leg room. And as compensation for my good fortune in last-minute ticket purchasing, I also happen to be seated by the largest human I've ever shared company with in an airplane. So Fate, we're even. Thanks.

:: March 15 ::

The ides of March. Yesterday was pi day, 3.14, which was also David's 30th birthday. And the day before that was the day he asked me to marry him. It's been a big weekend.

And you would think I would write. Normally I write out of overflow. Either that or out of absence. This weekend has been both of those extremes. I suppose maybe they've balanced each other out. It hasn't felt like balance, though. It's felt like crying, slow-dancing, shaking, hoping, praying, praying, praying.

Friday. It was Friday the 13th, actually, a really dark day. I was at Uncle Max & Aunt Carolyn's in Detroit. David was in Lansing, studying. He took his exam, and by the time he had come to pick me up there was an email sitting quietly in his inbox, waiting to punch us in the stomach.

He didn't pass. Three little words. Three terrifying little words. What does this mean? We knew before he took it that failing could mean the end of medical school. But he wasn't going to fail -- he was going to study and do really well. I was almost comfortable. I was trying to believe I wasn't nervous.

But he didn't pass. So we walked around all day, doing menial things together, holding hands. We bought a cushion for his papasan. And a lampshade. We went to see Confessions of a Shopaholic. After the sun set, he told me there was a little surprise for me at his house. I was afraid he might be planning to propose. That, honestly, was the very worst part. I hated that I was scared about that. It's just that I was scared in general. A lifetime commitment is frightening all on its own, partly for the shadowy, nameless hardships waiting to be shared. But when those hardships have a name, when that name is Today, then it makes the idea of life sound like a bitter pill.

So I spent the whole time mulling it over. Am I ready to sign my name to his insecurities and imperfections and -- yes -- failures? Do I want to be here tomorrow? In a hundred tomorrows? Am I strong enough for this?

Anyway, at the end of the movie, I started crying, but it actually felt like sunshine breaking through the clouds. I had been praying all day, remember walking into a bathroom that day thinking -- what really matters in a relationship? What does Jesus' heart value? God, can you please make me like You?

So in tears but with great sincerity I told my broken boyfriend: you're going to lose alot more and win alot more in life, but I know I want to be there for it all. I do.

(And it's true.)

So I suppose I said yes before he could get on his knee and ask the question.

:: new post ::

There. I did it. I pushed "new post," and with that I'm back in this relationship. It's a tricky thing we're doing here, me trusting nameless yous with things I might not be brave enough to bring up even over dinner. But that's the beauty of it, I suppose.

It's not that I don't want you to know what's been going on. Maybe. I mean, I didn't consciously stop writing here. There are just some places I've been that I wasn't sure I could take you to. Life is safe in retrospect, though, so I've decided we should have coffee and catch up. And by that I mean, I'm going through my journal to find the signposts that lead us back to today.


:: ok ::

Feeling much better today, although wishing so much weren't based on "feeling." I have been a smorgasbord of emotions, gorging myself on each one. Pity me, I am alone and friendless. Kiss me, I am your love. Go away, I need to be alone. Help me, I am a wreck.

Even I can't analyze this properly. Even I am confused. I am simply grateful that: today, I feel happy for the first time all week. And even though I don't know quite why, today that is enough.


:: sick ::

As convenient as it is to spend every waking moment with David, I need to create space. I was just thinking about being apart, about the intense longing that constructs and the monuments we make of being Away.

But I haven't been away at all. Apart from a few weekend trips -- blissful separations -- it has been all David, all day. I think I'm love-sick, but in the worst kind of way. I'm all sticky and drenched and feeling ridiculously empty. Which makes everything else feel awful too. It's like clouds covering over the sun. One minute I'm fine, the next it's a storm I'm too afraid to put a name to. I'm thinking thoughts no bride-to-be ought to, and not the naughty kind, the turning and running kind. I start to feel trapped, though I know well that I'm not. And I feel lost, swamped in things To Do, but none of it matters if the things I feel are all wrong. I'm wrecked.

And he, careful, constant Heart, wants to repair me with scripture, or with the power we hold to make the right choices. Well, the only best decision I could have made today would've been to find a little breathing room. It's too late now; I'm suffocated.

And the worst part is, it hurts David to see it. I wish I could spare him of that -- I do. (I love you, David.)


:: boards, part I ::

David got his boards score back today: he got 165 and needed 180 to pass. Those numbers might be off by a bit, but the gist of it is: he didn't pass. So after about a month of worry-free living, I am back to a familiar burden, slinging on my back the cares of this entire spinning planet. White Atlas and I both know it's futile, we go on. Only this time, I am too tired to go on, so I'm stopping here to rest, to unload, to learn better, lighter ways of living.


:: goodbye, bali ::

A baby is screaming. We haven't even taken off yet and this kid is fighting himself into a stupor. Why do his parents let him? Or is it not a matter of letting? All I know is, I am ready to fashion a muzzle for the screaming thing.

A man was sitting in my seat when I boarded. He didn't even give me the choice to let him stay -- just stayed sitting there. Told me in broken English, "I'm travel with my family." I suppose I wouldn't want to be in a row with a mom & two kids. Plus, they're directly behind The Screamer. So I walked away from my glorious aisle seat to find his replacement: naturally, the middle seat in the middle of the plane. Perfect.

A really boring documentary about the music of Johann Strauss is playing as people jockey for space in the overhead compartments. I don't know why they put the least interesting shows on when people have no choice of watching or not. I guess it could have a wide audience since everyone is probably equally bored by it.


:: new management ::

She teaches class the way an auctioneer sells off an estate.  There is no silence, as though silence would punish us with its presence, would take something away from us just by existing.  But sometimes silence does us good.  Sometimes it pushes us to do what we wouldn't in the noise, make us say I'm sorry in the rippling wake of angry words.  

She wrote an angry word -- no, a whole angry sentence -- on the wall of the girls' bathroom.  They closed it for the day to paint over the sentence, and I might not have thought about it again except that My Name was the noun, followed by a common state of being verb and a predicate nominative (I learned that in 7th grade English, the same year I learned how much it hurts to be called fat).  It is one thing to tell the truth, to offend with a mirror, but it's other broken glass to say: this is, when, it isn't.  Pushed into the skin and bleeding, in stillness, in any ordinary silence.  

So it's a good thing this woman isn't letting any silence in.  Good thing.  


:: too many coats for one checked bag ::

If the entire state of Michigan freezes over this weekend, I'll be fine.  I just packed a suitcase with the dead of winter in mind.


:: 100% beautiful ::

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting Viviana, David and Veronica's brand-new daughter.  She's pretty tiny, and sleepy, but perfect for holding.  I took their wedding pictures a little less than a year ago, so it was pretty crazy to be holding the new addition to their family.  Especially since I've known David before there was ever Veronica!

But I'm so glad there's both Veronica and Viviana now, David's two beautiful ladies.  I'm so happy for you! 


I should have known chocolate chip cookies could be a spiritual experience.  I mean, they are glorious in pretty much every way.

So today, I made cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies.  They are delicious and warm right now, filling the house with that Taste of Home smell.  And I'm also sending them away, today to someone who will be more excited about me, the cookie maker, than the cookies.  I got a little teary-eyed thinking about that, about how many cookies I've sent off in cardboard boxes, to be consumed entirely out of sheer enjoyment of the cookie with very little thought to me, the one who stirred them all together.  

And I was thinking about that, getting emotional about cookies, when I realized that I do the same thing to God.  Maybe I was even doing it right then, being exceedingly pleased with the cookies without thinking about Him, the best cookie maker ever.  

So thanks for the cookies, God.  They are delicious, but mostly:

You Are.



On a bottle of pomegranate flavored Honest Ade:

"To achieve great things, two things are needed; 
a plan, and not quite enough time."
- Leonard Bernstein


:: of late ::

I feel like I've been taking alot of pictures. I also feel like I'm losing my mind. While the latter is unconfirmed, I thought I'd share some of the things I've gotten to see this past month. 

And of course my extraordinary nieces, Ellise and the Bear-bear:


Somehow just rolling the windows down and turning the music up makes the whole day smile.


It smells like formaldehyde in here
From all the preservation
Of a Death Thing I've been
Doing lately,
Which is just a waste of time
Unless it's research we're conducting,
And let me tell you
I have journals-full of theories proven:
I deserve a medal of distinction
For my study on the extinction
Of your kindness when I walk into a room.
And though I am a creature of 
The perpetual habit of caring,
I'm going with my baser instincts on this one:
It's time to leave the lab.


I just watched three cigarette-smoking teenagers fish money out of a fountain.  What kind of person steals someone else's wishes?

:: on disappointment ::


I am feeling largely apathetic, which is a pathetic way to approach a day.  I am in the process of being broken, bit by bit, because I'm of little use in this over-confident state.  I handle disappointments by deciding I never really wanted that in the first place.  But I know.  I know.

Mostly I want to be loved.  I am afraid of failing.  I want to go to a safer place, a place where achievement doesn't matter, where what I know doesn't make a hill's bean of difference. (that's right: hill's bean)  Mostly I want to grow down, back into childhood, back into when I didn't understand how things worked.  Now I feel like I'm in a corridor of doors, finding most of them locked -- no.  Finding that they are opening and closing constantly, allowing only some in while denying the rest, and always based on the things I try to tell myself I don't care about.  I don't really get life.  I don't.  

I guess the good news is, I won't be lulled to sleep by any of my life events!  But like an air raid is a sure fire bet that it won't be a boring night at home, this is no consolation.  

A part wants to just go home.  The other pushes on.

:: the good thing about wearing my heart on my sleeve ::

At least you know I have one!  (and I do, have both heart and sleeve)


:: bali morning ::

Woke up this morning and went walking on the beach.  I love it here.  I want to go buy beautiful Balinese things -- and eat.  I want to understand all of my relationships thoroughly.  I want to see my life rolled out like a scroll, and have some white-out on hand.  God, I want to choose you first.


:: indonesia ::

Ah, Indonesia, how I love your smells and abundant green grassy areas and staring people.  I am a princess here.  I forget that until I am the only white one, about one airport away from Jakarta.  Then I am crowned again and begin casting benevolent smiles all over the place, tipping my royal head to the shy brown babies who just want to touch me.

They love me.  They really love me.


:: on the road again ::

I must look honest as I have been left so far today to watch people's bags, computers, and (right now) an iPhone.  

I always say this when I'm traveling and thus must say now: I love traveling!  I love meeting people and hearing what they're going to do (one lady is headed to Singapore to set up payroll for a brand new casino; a guy who manages a Bubba Gump's on the east coast is going to Malaysia to open one there).  I love hearing languages I don't understand spoken in little waiting room bunches, mostly families, often arguing.  

The iPhone guy just came back.  He tells me I'm a novelty here because I'm in a room full of brown people (I'm in Taipei).  I hadn't noticed the staring, but in this moment they might be noticing more than my fair skin.  They might, for example, be wondering why I smell like everything the Duty Free store sells (**note to those who have traveled with me before: I just made my usual stop there for face and fragrance renewal**).  

And I would muse some more but the waiting room seats just cleared and a line appeared in front of me.  Apparently, it's time to board.  


:: something big ::

I'm at a women's retreat and she's talking about plans.  She just said the magic words: God has big plans for your life.  Word. For. Word.  And we're getting the formula right now -- quick!  Write it down!  (Why do I sound so jaded?  The answer belongs outside of these parentheses.)

I just don't think we should be the subject of that sentence.  God has great big plans.  True.  Period.  And like any cause, once you're in, it doesn't matter if you're the secretary or the right-hand-man, there is an excitement in the air.  We're part of something big!

Indeed we are.  If only we talked more about God and less about ourselves.


:: kaela ::


:: balboa park ::

The girls in my small group had spring break last month, so three of us spent a day in the park.  The following is the proof.  


:: kaela bear bear bear ::

Everything was fine with the present-opening at first....
... until it just wasn't anymore.  She was past consolation, and I can't even remember why.  But that's fine.  It was her party so, as we all know, she can cry if she wants to, cry if she... anyways.
Party?  We're there.  Birthday crowns?  We're on it.   

In what was a smashing success of a 1st birthday, Kaela-bear is now one year old.  She can't tell you that yet, but she's working on it.  First she'll learn how to say "maahhn-dee!"  It's a matter of priorities. 


I just like white better.

(that was for you, Brian)

:: extraordinary ::

Something extraordinary. She said she's waiting for me to do something extraordinary. And that's not to lay pressure on my cocoon lest my shimmery-wet beginnings get bent. No, she's just waiting by my branch for the someday emergence. Because she is so sure I'm coming out of that cocoon glorious.

And I'm terrified that after all this time I'll turn out to be a moth, whose wings are only almost pretty when they're resting (just the opposite of a butterfly that shines in its flight and folds it all up for repose). I always say -- yes, I'm teal and purple and you won't be able to imagine how fluorescent my wingspan is! But inside, when I'm going to sleep, I just wonder quietly to myself: will there ever be a coming out?
Sometimes I say stupid things. Really. Stupid. Things. They just come flying out of my mouth and I want nothing to do with them, want to yank them back into the silence of having never been said, but I can't.

And I haven't learned anything profound about this lately but am just writing because I said two Stupid Things today and can't get them back. By telling you here I have now shared a bit of the burden with you, so thanks for lightening my load. I appreciate it.