Showing posts from 2011

Part 2, What I Would Have Included

This year, more than any year, I think Christmas is about families. And not just family parties and matching pajamas, but the creation and maintenance of families, and the way God meets us as we participate in the wild, thrilling, sometimes heart-wrenching events involved in building them. I can't seem to get enough of thinking about this, so, as promised, I'm posting the quotes I would have included, had I but world enough and time. (If you don't know what I'm talking about ... see my last post.) As I mentioned, there were dozens of beautiful, meaningful, deep deep quotes I wanted to include, but just didn't have time or space. And since I want to hold onto them, and since I think they're beautiful and you might too, I'm posting them here. This is a long post, but I've resisted the urge to split it into two. I think the stream of them is important. Thank you, many many thank yous, to those who sent these thoughts to me. I hope they deepen your sense of…

And Pondered Them in Her Heart

I was asked (or did I volunteer?) to do the script for a church Christmas activity for the Relief Society (the women's organization). I thought and thought, and couldn't get the idea out of my head that I was to ask women I know about their experiences with birth and family, that the words I would get would illuminate the spirit of Christmas in a way I needed to learn, and ultimately share.

Writing it wasn't exactly as neat and tidy a process as I had hoped/planned. Firstly, every single email I got back on my request made me weep. Seriously. Every.Single.One. And not just because just about everything baby-related tugs on my sad little heart lately. But also, and mostly, because they were all so deeply, astonishingly beautiful to me. I could have never guessed what a flood of beauty and spiritual reality I was opening gates for. I think God wanted that flood for me. But there was nearly a week where I was just sort of swimming in these words, riding them up and d…

Thrifted Autumn Outfit

Do I wear a lot of this orange sweater in outfit posts? Possibly yes. I think this might be because I'm not your typical orange wearer, so when I wear orange I think, "Heyyyy, I'm wearing an OUTFIT." Does that make sense?
Anyway, I thrifted this dress sometime back. It went like this: it was a half-off sale, and it was a frenzy in Savers. I mean, people were excited. People were filling cartfulls upon cartfulls. And I filled my cart with shockingly (and I mean shockingly) lovely dress shirts for Sam that came out to $2.50 a piece, and that was filling my heart (and cart--ha!) with joy. And then I thought, hey, shall we check out the dresses? And this was my strategy: if I love the fabric, it goes in the cart. My sewing skillz extend to cutting off the bottom and making a skirt out of it. And this one, oh, isn't that a nice fabric? Look. Up close. See how it looks like a psychedlic wonderland? It does to me anyway.

Someone homemade this dress. And it was barely w…

Apple Picking, Yellow Leaves, Little Brown Bear

When I wear this hat, I somehow feel like a little brown bear. It changes my personality, makes me milder. (I guess I'm thinking teddy bear, not actual bear.) Is it silly? I don't even care if it's silly. It pleases me. I once got a compliment on this hat, shouted out at me by a hipster Harvard student. "Excellent hat!" he said, as I crossed the street, headed for the giant Anthropologie. That was a pretty good moment.

As was apple picking last weekend. Simple little orchard about an hour away from our house. And the day was just right for it--a bit crisp. And the yellow of these trees is just what I love about a New England fall. We came home with two enormous bags full, and we're making steady progress. Apples with every meal! Baked apples! Crisped apples! Apples! Apples! Apples!

Promotional Device

Sometime earlier this year, I got an email from Tyler Chadwick, who asked if he could include several of my poems in Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-first Century Mormon Poets, to which I said, um, yes yes you may. The book is out now, and I just got my contributor's copy this week, and I have to say that it's beautiful.  I don't mean that my poems are beautiful, I mean the book itself, as an object, is gorgeous.  If you're so inclined to see what's going on in contemporary Mormon poetry (and how could you not be?! ;), I recommend this book. 

On a related note, if you're more interested in seeing what Mormon fiction is up to (and again, how could you not be?! I hope it's clear I'm kidding ...mostly), Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction was a great read. 

In all seriousness, I can say that Mormon Literature goes well beyond Jack Weyland.  There's some really good stuff out there.  If you're interested in recommendations, shoot me an email.

Thank you.

Thank you, really, to all of you who commented and wrote me emails.  They really mean a lot to me.  And mostly I'm just checking in to say I'm feeling better.  The way I came to feel better seems important, so I thought I'd record it:

*I prayed, and it wasn't pretty.  This was flat on my face, weeping aching praying, saying, over and over again, "You have to fix me.  You have to heal my heart."  (Yes, precisely in those words.  I can get a bit sassy and demanding in my praying.)  I felt broken and I felt like I spent all day trying to fix it and everyone else was trying to help me fix it, and no one could do it.  I wasn't asking to stop grieving, just to be functional and believe in good things again.  I felt deeply then, more than perhaps ever in my life, that there was this gaping hole in me that I needed God to fill. And, after many days of praying like that, and a turning point conversation with Sam (up next!), something lifted, shifted, filled, open…

A Great Hope

Since I last posted here, we found out I was pregnant, and then, about thirteen weeks later, we lost the baby. 

While I was pregnant, I was very very sick.  I mean, so sick that the smell of my own hair made me gag.  My doctors ultimately gave me an anti-nausea medication which they also give to chemotherapy patients. This made it possible to eat without feeling like I wanted to cut my toes off, but didn't exactly bring back my energy and liveliness.  So mostly, while I was briefly pregnant, I didn't do much besides sleep and feel ill, and stare sort of dumbfoundedly at the idea of my being a mother, of all things.  We wanted the baby, had planned it, as much as one plans such things, and slowly, slowly, we picked names and I talked with my mother-in-law about what color to paint the nursery, and I bought a moon-shaped lamp from the thrift store.  Somehow I was nervous we'd lose the pregnancy from the beginning, in the way I worry everything good will be taken from me, so…

At the Dentist

I had a dentist appointment today, which I wasn't exactly dreading but also wasn't excited about.  Mostly I wanted to call in sick for the whole universe, so the dentist was no exception.  And although it's a nice place and my chair of doom was facing a set of windows looking out on ivy-covered red brick buildings, and although they had cheery music on, I could feel, as soon as sat down, that I wanted nothing to do with the foolishness that would ensue.  I suddenly felt like all of this fuss about our teeth must be absurd, since my teeth are working just fine, thank you very much, and what if I just suddenly tore the little bib off and in an instant became one of those people that simply does not do the dentist thing?  What then?

But I stayed, dreading and dreading it, as the faces began hovering over me, and a pina colada flavored stick of numbing gel met my gums, and then the sting of a shot, and strange orange glasses they made me wear over mine, I assume to prevent too…

Simple Meal: Fish Tacos

Sam and I bring home fresh flounder, a small head of green cabbage, fresh salsa, a perfect avocado, red red tomatoes.

While he sautes the fish, I cut up the veggies on a bamboo cutting board.  I like the way they look once I've cut them--little piles of color--the red of the tomato, deep green of the avocado, light green of the shaved cabbage, black of the olives, the whites of a few hearts of palm and of diced, sweet vidalia onions.

I mix a little mayo with the salsa, which sounds disturbing, but is actually the loveliest fish taco sauce.  Sam has me squeeze a lime on the fish, since his hands are covered in fish juice.  He inadvertently squeezes a paper towel full of fish juice onto the floor and there is some panic about our house smelling like that forever. He adds a bit of chili powder and sea salt.  I heat the corn tortillas in a little pan, spraying pam first, and adding salt as it heats.

I fill my tacos so full I can't begin to close them, planning to eat what spills…

Oh, that's self reliance?

I got an iPad some time back, and I am loving it.  But I needed some kind of cover for it.  There's a little special cover that they sell with them, but it flops open if it's in your bag, and I can't have that, so I was using a plastic gallon-size ziploc, and thinking I would have to buy another cover and thinking it was going to cost me 40 bucks or something to get a decent one, and then it hit me: I sew!  I know how to do that thing.  And I have fabric that I fell in love with sometime back and haven't put to use.  And 30 minutes later, I had an iPad case.  I can't describe how happy this made me.  To have a problem, and to have made my own solution and carried it out and had it be pretty to boot.  I kept walking around my house saying, "I made a thing!  I made a thing!" and Sam kept saying, "Yep, you sure did."  It was a happy evening.

I took pictures.  And Sprouty insisted on modeling.  She is the queen.  We must obey her every whim. 

(A not…

On Cleaning

I'm not good at cleaning.  I mean to be.  I want to be.  In my daydreams I am.  I often spend time mentally cleaning my house, imagining putting things away, moving through the rooms like a whirling, order-insisting robot, arranging everything in its pristine position.   

But that's not actual what I'm like.  At all.  Chaos and entropy reign in my house, especially when I'm working full-time. Occasionally I pretend to be that robot and I spend hours upon hours and more hours cleaning everything, and by the end I'm exhausted and cranky. 

And here's the problem with not being the robot, with having a messy house: it makes me sad.  Not like in a literal sense.  I don't look at the messiness and sorrow for it, though a little of that might be involved.  I mean that I've noticed that if I come home on Friday and everything is a dadgum disaster, I feel hopeless and overwhelmed, and I won't even realize it has to do with the messiness.  I think the world…

My Inner Style Appears to be 1950s Housewife

I've been thrifting lately, too.  If you come to visit me (and well you should!) I will take you to some gems.  A friend took me once and I am hooked.  Absolutely hooked.  If I could, I would go every stinking day.  I feel my insides get sort of restless and look around and say, isn't it thrift-o-clock yet?  Don't we need more vintage skirts?  Don't we don't we?

I mean, I found Prada shoes, my friends.  Prada.  And a long wool bright fushia pink skirt that will be my best friend come winter.  And and and.  Lots of stuff.  When you get rid of your entire wardrobe because of its too-big-ish-ness, you need some new threads.  And buying all those new threads, even on the cheap at my usual cheap joints, is pricey.  Which is why I'm into four dollar shirts.  And seven dollar dresses.  (If those prices seem high for thrifted stuff, remember we are in Boston, after all. Those prices are miracles around here.) A bit of dry-cleaning or throwing it in the washer/dryer to …

Outfit+Adventures in Sewing

There once was a shirt.  It looked like this:
It grew too big for me.  Much too big.  But I liked the pattern so much--look at those delightful, firework-y bursts of white!--that I saved and saved it, thinking I must someday do something with it.
Yesterday, I did something.  Before work I took that gathered bottom of the shirt and turned it into the top of a skirt.  This was very exciting.  I used the sleeves to give it a bit more length, at which point I had the following: 
[I'm shy about the pictures, so I'm posting the awkward ones ...]
Not too bad, eh?  I rather liked how it turned out.  I may have gone a bit crazy adding color, but I'm having way too much fun to tone things down.  The skirt is actually just the top piece.  I also made the little lacey petticoat type skirt over the weekend, which is what's underneath here.  I've been wearing it under skirts and dresses that are just a bit on the short side.  I wish I had one in every color.  Might have to make mo…

Dear Man Who Stole my iPod