Sometimes in the most unlikely of places, you will find a tiny treasure that represents a world of potential. Look carefully! Pay attention! It is not always in plain sight. But there right under your nose you will find something that holds promise of sweetness and goodness. Something that promises that this sweetness, this goodness, it is yours for the taking.
Maybe you have been hunting for a long long time. Maybe you just stumbled upon it. Maybe the bright colors caught your eye and made you stop and look again.
You hold it in your hand, turn it over, can’t believe your luck. Even before you open it, even before you you know that its biggest promise is that the cold dark days have passed–at least for now. The sun is shining again and there is work to be done!
Happy (belated) Easter.
Glass of tequila on the table, just a squeeze of lime and two ice cubes. Glass of tequila and an orange cat sprawled on my lap. Work clothes still on, even the sandals, moving through the evening not a moment to change. Oh look, there is a stain on my dress. My glow-stick bracelet from a favored child’s birthday still glows bright orange–a color of canned sunshine.
The humid air thick with the smell of French soaps brought as a gift from a Paris summer weekend while I walked a dog in the heat. Some of the lights have burned out. Shadows hit the walls in interesting ways. I could watch them dance all night if I wanted–me and my glass of tequila, with the cat on my lap.
But sleep is coming fast unless I keep writing and then sleep will never come. Blow out the candles on the altars–trust that angels or altar gnomes will keep my prayers while I sleep. Close the computer. Stop now. Stop now. Stop.
I am a word girl. While I love visual art, can get lost in the movement of dance and revel in music, when it comes to making meaning of the world I find myself here. At a keyboard. Or with my nose buried in someone else’s poetry. My friend Jeff laughs at me. Whenever he is playing a new song he has written, I listen once or maybe twice and then demand to see his notes with the lyrics. Moved as I may be by the music, I need to take in the poetry of his words. I dive in there to open up more space so that the music can better seep in.
For the last few weeks, I have been exploring quiet places. Covering ground that seem ordinary and extraordinary all in one. It is impossible to articulate the wild ride I have been on. If they are paying attention, I think, many of my friends are confused. I am fine, life is good, and yet, I am so quick to well up, the shut down or to just grow quiet. Normally flowing over with affection, I am not so quick to rise and hug. I am ebbing a bit now. But its not a contraction. More like a centering, a stillness, a 40 day rest and coming home and being yin. I am moved, but not sad. I am grieving but am not lost. I know deep in my heart that everything is fine and have been trying to sink into the easiness of the world.
There is no way to explain what happens when you are growing while it is happening. Its a story that can only be told with a glance in the rear view mirror further up the road. Whenever I try and explain what shifts are happening in my heart right now, I find myself wordless. I stumble thinking that it seems both so big and so small all at once and that if I even tried I would sound so crazy it would defile this growth spurt. And in these moments I love that I can stop being a word girl, even if it makes me a bit wobbly.
This song is grounding me these days. While I have long loved it, I cannot tell you what the words are. Every time I hear it, I feel an expansion in my chest and feel a road roll out before me. Blue winter light filters in through snow dusted cedars and pine, the sun sinks low. I roll down my window and breathe in the crispness. The reaction is purely physical now matter how many times I hear it. Its a tingling expansion that moves from my chest out to my limbs. It is melancholy and joyful all at once. It is hopeful and content. It is not just grounding me. It raises me up above the trees, the weeds of words in my mind.
Max, my son, was named after the boy in the wolf suit in the Maurice Sendak story. From the moment I first felt him move inside, I somehow knew he would be my wild thing. And I loved him and his untamable spirit with every bit of my soul. No other name would do.
Where the Wild Things Are is one of my all time favorite books. I loved it as a child. I loved it as a teacher. I love it as a parent. And now, I cannot believe that they are making a movie out of it.
What is life if it is not an epic journey in a boat we create out of hope and fear? Who are we if we are not all sweet tender children in wolf costumes, angry and imperfect, but authentic, taming our monsters and loving them all the same, embracing our fears and then setting sail back home to ourselves to our hearts to everyone who loved us exactly as we are,fierce costume or not.
I cannot wait.
It is raining now and quiet in this house of mine. Downstairs Odette and her friend are laughing their heads off watching a Nigerian comedy. I can hear them all the way up here. My sick boy is sleeping next to me — finally falling asleep after the cramps in his tummy started to unknot. I am relieved.
There is an undecorated Christmas tree in my living room and the office is full of boxes. The new printer I bought was knocked over by the little girl I was watching and is upside down, but not broken–I hope. The living room is full of toys and papers and the dining room table is loaded with things I can’t quite decide what to do with. I think there are crumbs on the floor so I dare not look down. I am working late into the night again at a job that is interesting and my throat hurts. But not so much. I have no clean underwear and I am wondering if I have it in me to throw that load into the wash so I can wear some tomorrow.
There are so many things going through my brain right now. To-do lists and stories mostly. There are no fewer than three coats here on my bed and no fewer than 3 books on the floor. I had Peruvian chicken with the really yummy spicy green sauce for dinner. Thats good stuff.
In a few minutes I will send one last email and be done for the night–done with my paid work that is. I might just call the rest of it a night too and curl up with a book. Or maybe I will wash my underwear. Or maybe I will pick up my guitar because I haven’t played her in two weeks and I miss it. I don’t know.
This is me, right now, December 16th at 10:38 pm. Completely and utterly a lovely mess and completely and utterly happy.
Number of dogs belonging to hospitalized people I love that I will walk today: 2
Number of bags of dog poop I have thrown out (before lunch): 3
Number of servings of soup I made and froze this week for delivery: 12
Number of children I will pick up from school or the bus stop to cover our babysitter who is recovering from her surgery: 6
Number of crazy (but purely lovable) dear male friends who thought he might be able to WALK HOME from OUTPATIENT SUGERY on the bottom of HIS FOOT who I tracked down at the pharmacy and drove home: (thankfully only) 1
Number of times I stopped to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the beautiful life I get to live, the people I love and my ability to give to them, and my healthy beautiful child who has made me laugh several times already today: at least 100.
Seems like its been a pretty good day.
My dearest Jackie, who breaks all the rules, brought me a birthday gift tonight. This rockin’ Celtic T-shirt fits me like a glove, and resonates at exactly the same frequency of my little Irish soul. I am never taking this shirt off!
The words around the heart say: Like all things that are precious to us, we tend to keep our emotions under lock and key. Love itself is far too beautiful a gift not to share with everyone.
After a dinner of perfectly grilled kebabs, kick butt fish stew and the best carrot salad this side of north Africa, after a homemade ice cream cake that beat any other I have ever tasted, we sat in a circle and they, my beloved tribe helped me to create my list. My list of things to do before I turn forty. What’s beautiful about this exercise is that in adding an item to my list they pledged to do something (big or small) to help me get it done, to be my a co-conspirator, an angel to assist me, to hold my hands and jump feet first with me into the wild and messy river of my life.
In the spirit of love for them, in the spirit of my love for this life, I embrace this to do list, this plan. I hearby pledge to wrap my heart around these items and sink into the joyfulness of them.
- Take a kayak lesson on the Potomac
- Learn to throw a pot
- Perform at an open mic night
- Sing a duet with sweet Andy McD
- Learn to Irish step dance
- Go see Step Afrika
- Take Max to see Sweet Honey in the Rock
- Start to build my Goddess garden I have been dreaming of
- Paint my living room and hallway
- Create (and dare I say perfect) a gluten-free pizza dough recipe. (Homemade pizza and Eric’s homemade bread are the only two things that will tempt me off my healthy gluten free path. This gets me 50% of the way there! )
- Explore acupuncture and my calling as a healer
- Start that girls’ (age 8-11) knitting club I have been talking about
- Ride a roller coaster
- Stay a night at the Purple Fiddle
- Learn to swim
- Run a 10K
- Learn to count to ten in three African languages
- Finally master the f’in F chord
- Teach Max to knit (my sweet boy added this to my list, saying he would help by doing the learning!)
- Go out to hear live music at least ten times (this is an easy one which just makes me feel productive!)
- Figure out how to live migraine free
Wanna jump in with me? What do you think I might do in this crazy wild messy year before I turn 40? Lets do it together.
Hello. My name is Meg. And I am a Weeds addict.
Not weed people. Weeds. The Showtime TV show.
I am sitting here long after most reasonable people go to bed, desperately clutching the phone, waiting for Jackie to call–like a junkie waiting for a dealer to phone her back. Must-get-my fix.
In order to keep the habit under control, Jackie and I promise we will only watch TOGETHER. Its just social. Really. But we call each other late at night with shaky voices–“Can you come over tonight? Are the kids in bed? Are you up for it?” and we promise ourselves–we’ll just watch one episode. Just one. Honestly. But then we can’t help ourselves and before long we are sprawled out on the couches, strung out on good sh*t brain candy TV, popcorn and chocolate. Looking longingly at the DVD of the next season, looking nervously at the clock–can we watch one more and still get up with the kids? Can we keep living this double life?
Jackie walks into the house declaring, “I think I may be trading in my marriage for Weeds…” Oh the shame of it. But I gotta go…My girl is waiting for me.
Tomorrow is another day.
I don’t often write about my job here on this blog.
Its very important to me, my paid work, but it’s not the kind of thing I talk about here.
I don’t blog about politics or income inequality or the financial markets even though I think about these things all day long. When I decided that I wanted to blog, I very consciously decided that I would keep my “professional life” and my “writing life” separate.
But every now and again those boundaries start to blur. After all it really is just one life. And its mine.
When I count my blessings, when I sit in gratitude, when I think about the abundance in my life, I am thankful for my work.
For starters, I get to spend my days fighting for justice for working people. I get to join my skills with the skills, courage and smarts of nurses, janitors, security officers and public employees as we work together to build a better life for our kids. I feel passionate about my work. But the blessings don’t stop there. I adore my colleagues–they are some of the smartest people on the planet. They are also some of the kindest and most loving folks too and I cherish the fact that when I walk into the office, I get to spend the day sharing ideas, dreaming up schemes and being creative with them. My mentor and boss is the cream of the crop–He pushes me to be my best self. Over the years he has become a brother and dear friend. Really. My work situation is ideal.
But really…one of the best things about my job…is that once in awhile I get to do something like this.
I still can’t believe they actually pay me…Will someone pinch me please…
If it seems I have fallen off the face of the earth this week, I haven’t. Its just been a busy, crazy, wonderful, falling down nutty week–full of activity and drama. There was hockey to watch and sob over, live music to go see, a sweet 6 year old boy to cuddle, and an amazing party to plan. I can’t wait to tell you about this last one but its got to happen first. I am almost afraid to speak of it, for fear that I will somehow attach some expectation to it that will just ruin it for me.
I remember when Juan’s Tio Gordo and Tia Fidelina built their new house. It was a spectacular house in a modest village–two stories high with balconies dripping with bougainvillea. People came from 5 villages away to see it, to celebrate its birth. We too went down to Veracruz for the house blessing. The event was bigger than a wedding and wonderful in all the ways that happy occasions are but I personally found the rituals around the party were more delicious than the party itself. There was the shopping for the perfect ingredients, the purchase of a big spoon worthy of a witch’s cauldron, to stir mole for 500 over an open fire. There were two nights straight of cooking, grinding corn, cooking mole over coals, forming tamales by hand. There was the afternoon setting up the stage for the band. And then the magical party itself.
Its gonna be like the next few days. It started today as we passed emails around, solidifying our plans. Tomorrow Odette and I will rise with the sun, get Max off to school and we will start to shop and then chop. All afternoon sisters will come in through our front door wielding knives and will join us in the chopping, the wine, the singing. Then at 6 we will take our food to store in a big industrial fridge at the photo studio where we will work to set up our fete. Ten of us will drag tables and lights and music equipment around and transform a photo studio into something else. When we wake the next morning there will be more cooking, more running to the liquor store, more final preparations. And then there will be a party. A party for a very special woman, my housemate Odette. A simple and beautiful person who walked through our magic door and changed all our lives in ways we cannot even begin to explain, ways we are all still trying to understand. Bands will wander on and off stage, bread will be broken and wine will flow and in the end, we will have raised money for her girls, preparing them a home for a someday soon reunion, building them a family to walk into, preparing them a place of rest.
Thinking about it all I just feel giddy and grateful.
What are you looking forward to this weekend?