Thursday, October 28, 2010

Six a.m.

For those of you wondering when the city awakens and adorns its hustle-n-bustle persona, I can confirm that, at least on the streets of south Minneapolis, it's still asleep at 6:00 a.m.

Nope, not many folks up and about. But we were.

Up and down our street, dark houses. And while last night I dreaded the full hour earlier we'd both have to rise this morning, it actually wasn't bad. (Go figure.) No doubt the jumbo coffee I'm slurping helped.

On the way to South, we didn't pass even one car. We saw no people on the street. It was way cool, like we owned the city. Like we were responsible for flipping the switch and setting the day in motion.

Soon, I drop my boy off, saying the things I say to him every morning at this point, that I love him and to have a great day. (Because he's sleepy and a teenager, I have reason to believe this irritates the crap out of him, but I'm hoping he'll look back on it warmly when he's an adult.)

I watch his zombie-like shuffle, first to Door 1 (locked), then to Door 3 to the band room. When he's in, I drive off, singing along to Jazz 88 in my jazziest voice. (The coffee's really kicked in.)

At this point in the story, it's 6:20 a.m. and the streets are alive with cars and people are waiting at bus stops, many smoking (yuk, gross), some huddled in groups. I decide it best to heed what the orange indicator light is telling me, so I pull into the the new Holiday station on Cedar. It's lit up like Vegas. I consider putting on my shades (I don't).

About $30 later, I have a full tank. On the way, I see...

to be continued...

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Well-Balanced Life

For some time now, I have been undernourished. It has been a crazy five months. The first thing to go, always, is self-care. And suddenly, kaboom, I'm not getting my minimum daily requirements for a well-balanced life. It's beginning to show.

This begs the question: What nourishes me?

Love. Every day. Huge doses, given and received.

To be cherished. Every day. By the person you cherish in return. Provided there is one.

Friendship. Good ones. Solid ones. You are always and only who you are with them.

Community. Strong, surrounding you in love and safety, joy and fun.

Vocation. One that fulfills you and makes a positive mark on the world.

Avocation. Doing something for the pure passion and joy it stirs in your heart. For me, music.

Sleep. Rejuvenating, blissful, warm, snuggled up behind that person you cherish. Six to eight hours... which I will now put into practice.

Sweet dreamzzzzzzzzzzz...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Oh, crap. I've become just another deadbeat wannabe blogger....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In absentia

I've been absent from this blog for 10 days now. Too busy to string together two thoughts, let alone words. (Not too busy to eat nearly an entire bag of medium-sized M&Ms, though.)

Once I am beyond the birth of our research at work and statewide tour, I will be back, right here, to write, write, write. In July, maybe sooner.

Maybe I'll write from the road. Document what I see and hear. Hmmm...

Road stories. Yes. Stay tuned.

In the meantime...

Peace to you all. xoxo

Friday, June 4, 2010


by Mary Oliver

You are young. So you know everything. You leap into the boat and begin rowing.
But listen to me.

Life without fanfare, without embarrassment, without any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me.

Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and your heart, and heart's little intelligence, and listen to me.

It is not worth a bent penny or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied.

When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the sharp rocks -- when you hear that unmistakable pounding -- when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming -- then row, row for your life toward it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I was chiseling near-petrified matter from a skillet the other night, mentally bitching about cat hair on the counter and in my eye. I was doing what I often do in these moments of pet-owner outrage: plot out my revenge against her (Winnie, cat) and imagine the feel of squirt bottle in hand, finger on trigger, locked and loaded. (I do this, true story.)

Noises all around. GLEE on the kitchen tube -- (warning: unintentional rhyming ahead) -- Atmosphere rapping in the living room... my next-door neighborhood hacking up a loogie and ejecting it somewhere (sorry, it happens).

Life in the city ain't always sex-in-the-city pretty, my friend. (Whaddaya gonna do?)

Somehow, cutting through and above this cacophony of sound, I hear: CLICK......CLICK...

I can't immediately identify the source of the sounds, so I do what any 47.5 year old girl raised on Nancy Drew would do: I investigate.

Crouching low to the ground, I creep cautiously toward a lime-green canvas-covered folding chair propped unsteadily in a corner (I really did this). In its semi-folded state, I theorize that the CLICK......CLICK's may simply be the result of it incrementally unfolding due to the gravitational pull of the Earth's core. (I thought I was so sci-smart, I really did.)


Clearly, wrong. My investigation continues. I snap my head approx. 45 degrees to redirect my focus, and this time, I find it. "It" plural.

CLICK......CLICK... These were the sounds of a single insect putting every ounce of its waning energy into a futile series of exoskeleton-contorting SOS's.

It's un-doer, a perfectly round-bellied spider, was deftly spinning the bug around and around, weaving its filament-of-death tighter and tighter with every rotation.

CLICK......CLICK... Help!
CLICK......CLICK... I've been captured!
CLICK......CLICK... Losing all circulation, can't move....
CLICK......CLICK... Fucking spider. (final words)


I watched all of this with a slack-jawed horror. I was mesmerized, even slightly terrorized. Since, I've wondered and worried when this will show up in a future nightmare -- me, the bug, spun.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Honor & Remembrance

Maybe you woke up as I did this morning, wondering who you would spend time remembering on this Memorial Day. (Did you? Have you?)

I don't have any veterans, past or present, in my family. My dad, who is still living, was in the National Guard stationed in Greenland in the late-1950's for less than one year, but I don't think that counts. (Does it?)

Unlike so many families across the nation, we are not one with a long history of service to this country. I don't know why, and frankly have never thought about it until now.

Perhaps there is an underground pacifist thread that runs through the bloodline that no one has bothered to tell me about. Or maybe joining a military branch is something that is proudly passed down through generations and generations of a family, beginning back before recorded history, and if you miss the boat, you miss the boat. I'm not sure. (Do you know?)

What I do know is this: I have never fully appreciated the sacrifice that men and women in generations past and present have made to defend our country and democracy. It's true, I just haven't.

This was not done with intent or out of malice, but with the unconscious disregard of one who is free and almost always safe from harm. One who has never gone to bed living in an actual war zone, wondering if a bullet or bomb will hurt or kill her children in the night. One who has never been told she can't question government through protest or whose freedoms are grossly restricted because she is female.

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

This is all a very long way of thanking the women and men, far and wide, who have put their lives on the line for me and for this country. I deeply appreciate it.

Peace to all.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

47.5 and counting...

I don't know how it happened. Okay, not true. I know how it happened. Aging: every year, a year older. So, here I am at 47.5 years old, wondering who hit the Fast-Forward button on the cassette of my life.

Yes, I'm a little perplexed by the number. In my heart -- you know, if I avoid mirrors -- I feel the same as I always have. I could be 25 or 20 or 15.

But the reality is that 47.5 is showing in my body and mind.

I have age spots that require daily camouflage with spendy concealer and foundation. The wrinkles around my eyes have me scrambling for anti-aging products.

Gravity is pulling my cheeks in a way that if I don't intentionally smile, just a little bit, I sport an air of disapproval.

I have exercise-resistant belly fat and an absentmindedness that makes me wonder if I have signs of early Alzheimer's.

Maybe the worst? I have hair growing places on my body that should be genetically impossible for a woman. We have periods for 20+ years and push babies out of our vaginas. You'd think by my age our "dues" would be paid-in-full.

But that's life's little insider joke, isn't it? When we're young, we don't believe we will age. We just don't. We think that this is something that happens to other people, that the aging gene skipped a generation. And then, 47.5 happens. The truth reveals itself.

So? So... I inhale, deeply, slowly. I exhale, slowly, and all the way. Then, I search my heart and draw from what I've learned along the way: to accept what is and feel genuine gratitude for the journey.