Wednesday, April 27, 2011

peeping out of the woodwork

Oh man, it’s been awhile.

I’ve officially transitioned into the inured-to-the-present-living-in-the-future mode. This is neither good for the blog nor good for my soul. My teaching (finally finished today) has become stale. My projects at work need thoughtful conclusions. My mind is already in Kentucky.

The last couple weeks have been full of house hunting and offer making. J and I chose a sweet little brick number, but then in the last few days, we’ve been racked with indecision and may well end up in a more rambling tri-level from the 30s. We can’t decide. Either way, though, we’ll have a home soon, a place to nestle in and try out cohabitation for the first time in our relationship. It seems extraordinary that this two years of distance is finally -- finally! -- over. J gets to Philadelphia on the 17th and then we’ll pack up and drive west into the hills.

The real reason that I felt compelled to inch out of my silent shell was the arrival of this fantastic wedding treat:

It's a lovely tiled silhouette of me and Josh (mind you, it's a much more flattering silhouette of me than actually exists) with the Whitmanian "Camerado" from our vows underneath. I'm totally smitten with it. It comes from the wildly talented hands of my high-school-roommate-turned-art-teacher Maggie. I'm loving the fact that soon we'll have an actual real house in which to hang it. I think that she should start up a little side business...

Okay, I'm headed back into the shell now. Perhaps I'll come out again soon, especially if we survive an actual home purchase. No matter where we end up, we have lots of home improvement in our future.

Friday, April 15, 2011

{This Moment}

headed to Kentucky this morning with the newly-blocked, quickly-finished Ishbel in tow. Balm for airline travel = lacy madelinetosh shawl. Bring on delays, the pat-downs, the misery. Happy weekending.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

still looking

Finding bits of beauty on my way out of this city. Kentucky-bound this weekend to find a place that feels like home.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

tick tock

It can’t possibly be true. There’s no way that I’m really 35 today. It must be some kind of mix up, some cruel calendrical confusion.

Last night I was talking to a novelist who, reflecting on his career, offhandedly noted, “life is long.” It instantly reminded me an ex-boyfriend who, reflecting on our years of mutual torment, used to coax me back into romantic revery by saying the same thing. At 25 it seemed true enough. At 35 it feels patently false. Those ten years, for instance, well, they’re gone. And save for a dozen new wrinkles, I have little account of them.

A dissertation? A PhD? Somehow they don't add up to a decade.

When I told the novelist that life felt anything but long, he said that having his two-year daughter changed his account of time. It reminded me that when you’re a child, each day and each year feels a like a century. Having a baby, he said, was like resetting your own internal clock back to a child’s time. I hope that’s true.

My celebrations today are modest. I bought a cheese danish that I’ve been thinking about since January. Each morning when I buy a desiccated, painfully healthy, whole grain roll, I longingly admire the cheese danish. In early February, I decided that I’d splurge on my birthday. And so it began: 3 months of cheese danish imaginings.

I think it might be perverse to dream about a danish for three months. It might be the sign of instability. Or it might just be a way to pass the days. Because that's what it feels like I'm doing here, at the end of this post-doc, passing the days, waiting to move on, to leave behind, to start again.

Mid-life is just time to do that.

Friday, April 8, 2011

a day, a year, a life

O happy day.

This might just be your hardest fought birthday yet. But I’d hardly call you an old man. As I awoke this morning, I tried to imagine you gathering your gear for an end-of-season Vasa visit. I thought about how it must feel to strap boot to ski and enter the soon greening woods. I tried to feel the snow glide beneath my own feet as I saw the solemn Michigan skies above.

I couldn’t begin to feel what it must be wonder if this ski and the next might be the last, the last of the season, but surely not the last of a life. The snow will return before long.

I realized recently that I’m old enough now -- the wrinkles can attest -- to remember your life at my age. And as I flipped through ancient imagines this morning, I tried to see me in you. My form, though, seems to be my mother's, even as my mind often resembles your own. I see your peace on the water, and peeping out, I too float amongst the lulling waves.

I can just barely recall this day in Washington, at the National Zoo, when I saw a monkey for the first time. You must have been just a year or two older than I am today, with three kids already and a whole lot of life in front of you.

[I also realized that I've married a man who now strives to capture the very style you seem to have perfected in 1982. But that's another story altogether.]

For now it's celebration and good cheer.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

a long time coming

I've been meaning to get to this project for a long time. My friend Maura has been making these -- and at one point selling them as well -- for years. Recently, I found myself in an art supply store, with a coupon in hand, and about five baby showers on the horizon (ahh, the joys of being in my 30s). I wanted a project that was less time-consuming than a sweater or a quilt, something I could whip up in no time and maybe include with an old-fashioned, store-bought present. This is the first attempt, for a baby who burst onto the scene a bit ahead of schedule. I think it needs a companion with a "gets the..." and a picture of a worm.

I intended this to have just one bird, but I accidentally dribbled paint on the side and so had to add the second purple winged thing. I'm not sure what I think, but I do have many other designs in mind, any number of which depend upon a convincing rendition of Abe Lincoln's mug.

Monday, April 4, 2011


It's Emily Dickinson this week. That always means a lot of furrowed brows, a lot of tentative glances, a lot of shots in the dark. It seems only fair to deal with Dickinson with a belly full of chocolate goodness. And this chocolate goodness isn't half bad.

I give you the "Asteroid" (source: an email from an email passed along from another email with a scan of an old recipe)

1 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup almond or peanut butter
1 cup malt-sweetened non-dairy chocolate chips (or just regular old chocolate chips)
3 cups crispy brown rice cereal

In a large sauce pan, heat rice syrup and peanut butter until creamy. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat and stir in brown rice cereal until well-incorporated. Let cool a bit. Shape into balls. Let cool on wax paper. Makes 1.5 dozen balls.

They're out of this world and low on the glycemic index. Yes, I am teaching Dickinson and combatting obesity all in one fell swoop.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

looking up and down

During a period of unabating creative malaise (a.k.a. the end of the semester), I find myself looking for bits of beauty wherever I can find them. Before I leave this city, I hope to discover just a hint of something beguiling beneath the grime --

First up: the first bold gesture of spring.