Friday, March 29, 2013

Life of Pi, gratitude, and actual pie

Spring is coming. Ohhh, yes, it is. I heard frogs. I saw geese being all settled down and mate-y. I see buds on the trees and the light is changing. It's a'comin'.
I feel full of delicious aliveness and excitement. i've pulled out summer clothes, only to put them away again...but still. They've been unearthed and there are plans in the works.
Nik'l and I went to the 1.75 movies today and saw Life Of Pi. Beauty and trauma and beauty. I loved the book and the film was wonderful and mostly true to it. Faith, chaos, beauty, fear, determination, survival, love, loss, grief, nature, religion. So much and so many remarkable moments and such huge beauty. It made me feel grateful to be alive. It made me grateful not to be in a life raft. It reinforced my deep deep repulsion to hyennas.
And now to make pies and relax into a beautiful evening with my love.
Easy. Easy.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

St. Patrick's is better than Valentine's Day!

In 2008, I spent my first St. Patricks day with Nik. Part of the day, anyway. We weren't dating yet, but got together in a small group for boiled supper and guiness at Ulrich's Pub. I wasn't crazy about the guiness, or the pour of Jameson I sipped, but the two, when sipped one right after the other elevated both flavors. The first of many culinary awakenings I've had thanks to Nik. Yum. We walked a bit and then she was gone. Off with some other friends and I spent a disproportionate amount of time that day trying to locate her again.
2009. We've been dating 6 months. The weather is glorious. We revisit Ulrich's and declare it 'tradition'. Nik turns to me mid parade and declares, "I'm going to propose to you on St. Patricks Day! In Ireland". It was touching and way cute and I laughed because at the time it felt impossible. That I would ever get engaged, or go to Ireland!
2010. On St Patricks day I wake to a ring and a promise. The ring is by Annie Adams, a local jewelry designer I love. And it resembles a compass, which has its own sweet and particular significance for Nik and I. Here is Nik being snubbed by Charles Schummer that day..
2011. We are in the midst of planning our trip to Ireland!! And I know we'll get engaged there..because she promised.

2012. My Mom had just passed away and I was feeling particularly, keenly appreciative of Nik, and wallowing in love. We were also a mere 5 months from our wedding! A cold, lovely year..lots of anticipation.
Us w our friend Sean that year.
And here is 2013!! Time has passed sweetly, and I feel grateful every day..but this particular day, St Patricks day, is full of extra sweetness and love. Our version of Valentine's day, I guess. Let the green hearts commence in flying from my eyes...

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I've been reading A Place Of My Own by Michael Pollan. It is making me think of silent, small structures with open windows full of birdsong and fragrant breezes. Of perfect order and beauty and potential.
He talks of daydreaming, saying that it is necessary to have a space in which to daydream that is private. That to really lose oneself in it there must be a closed door that ensures it's sacred silence. I love this. Though I find daydreaming within slices of silence, regardless of whether the door is opened or closed.
When I think of daydreaming, I first think of my childhood, and car rides. Sitting in the back seat, staring out at the passing world as it flew past the window unseen. I remember being so wholly engrossed as to feel frustrated at reaching our destination. There was something for me in the movement of the car (or school bus for that matter) that was especially conducive to daydreaming. I can't begin to know what used to occupy my mind on those trips.I can't recall who was in the front seat, or where we were driving to. Just the sensation of wonderful, self contained imaginings.
In my mid 20's I daydreamed about having babies. I imagined my body changing in pregnancy, and the miraculous little moments it would bring. I imagined the different ways I would have those imaginary babies, always at home, always with a fierce powerful joy at my ability to birth. The longing of those daydreams would often bring me to tears. I would sit, staring out the window of my apartment and cry and cry, with my chest swelling under the strength of my desire for babies I didn't want to raise. For nearly all of those imaginings culminated with the birth.
In the last few years I daydreamed my house in Vermont. I actively searched for it online, finding rough little spaces on a good piece of land and filling it in from there. I imagined the flow of my days, starting with the care of my hens before breakfast. I imagined working in my wee small studio, and looking out the windows at views full of trees, and our gardens, my little flock, my love blissfully planting or harvesting, or moving dirt. I imagined creating paths and private spots throughout the property where one could hide with a book. A hammock inside of a mosquito net. A nook between trees. A swing that arches out over the stream, a shady arbor, a labyrinth. And again, I ache with the longing a daydream creates in me.
I marvel at the magic of the daydream. In my experience it is future oriented, and always marked by a desire as yet unmet. It is different than the anticipation of an actual event, like a trip somewhere. I may imagine the things I'll see, or the way I may feel, but I won't fill in the blurred spaces with specific details. And remembrances are different too. Nostalgic longing feels softened by time and also warped by it. Embellishment or omission may happen there, but the parameters of the actual event are ever present to give memories their shape. In the daydream all things are fluid. My unicorn may be a dappled palomino. I may be a wolf on land who becomes a fresh water mermaid as soon as I wade into any lake in Vermont. I may have goats that don't cause mischief and pigs that don't smell really bad and not one but Two Great Danes who barely drool at all! Ever!
Give me a daydream. I'll start with imagining a door..

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Roller Derby, Friendship, Citrus

Seven-ish years ago I saw a tv show on A&E called Rollergirls. Having loved roller skating as a kid, it was so cool to me! I called my friend and said, let's make this happen in Buffalo. She connected online to a third woman, who had been on a roller derby league in her home state. We three met up at Spot coffee one day. Seven years later...the league has grown to four home teams, a travel team, a 'queens court' and a JR league for girls from 8-18. Pretty amazing stuff. My part in the Queen City Roller Girls ended years ago. I was completely invested and passionate in the first year. In love with it. But in subsequent years my interest waned. It became too political for me, to stressful. My love of it was the skating, and when I stopped skating...meh. I'm proud to have helped start the league, though. One of the other co founders was ousted and written out of the history for some bad behavior. Ousted, I could understand. But I felt that the re writing of the history set the precedent that it's alright to write all of us out. The third founder stuck in and is still super active, and she co founded the JR league. Different paths for us all.
Last night Nik and I went to a bout. And it felt lovely to see so many welcoming faces, to feel so much love, to laugh over shared histories. Some of these women I had called my friends, and through the evolution of time and events I would now call them acquaintances. As I moved through the process of leaving the league by degrees that felt strange at times. And stressful, and sad. Now it feels just fine. I love the league. I love it's place in my past. I love going to watch bouts, and reveling in the joy it brings to the women who are involved. So good, so so good.

We brought a new friend with us. (she gave us beautiful citrus that her mom picked from their yard and mailed from California) It's strange, the making of friends past a certain age. As kids it's effortless. You say, 'let's be friends' and they say 'okay' and then you're buddies. You hang out, you play tag, you argue over rules, then go right back to playing. As adults there seems more to navigate. Trust for one. We are so much more guarded as adults. There's also the latent teen-angsty-ness (that is the best word I've ever made up) of wanting to be liked. But it's been easy to get to know Jena. She's open, and funny, and really interesting. It makes me happy to make connections that feel genuine.
And I miss my unican friend, who is in paradise...and has the flu. Which has prolonged her stay in paradise. *sigh* is going to be 50+ degrees I must go. We're off for a hike today!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What defines success..

A few weeks back I was thrown for a loop. Every so often I search for my Etsy shop items through a general search. I check to see how soon they come up, what tag words I could be using, etc. In doing so I found a woman who is making my bridesmaid boxes. Same concept, same materials, similar style. She makes lots of other things that Other etsy sellers were making first too, and I'm not the only person whose idea she has borrowed. But the point is... it threw me for a loop. I felt threatened, I felt sad, I felt panicked. After some time, some talks, and some tears I decided it was a matter of stretching beyond what had become routine and to make new product. To improve, to change, and to work harder. All good stuff.
In the course of making these changes, and searching for my new listings, I stumbled across her again, and this time I looked at her sales. Oh, geez...this woman has made over 700 sales to my 136! In about the same period of time. I lamented the perceived theft of sales that ought to have been mine. I agonized over it. She is so successful!
And then I looked at her feedback. Which is 100% positive. But there were few comments, which offered brief and general praise of her fast shipping and professionalism. Then I read my own feedback. And I was overwhelmed with the beautiful outpourings of the women and men whom I've made things for. Sweet feedback, personal feedback, long comments about how I made them feel, how special they found the boxes, how much they loved them. And I felt so utterly successful at what I do. And while I would love to make more sales than I currently make, I feel so proud of the fact that I value more than just the exchange of goods for money, and that the people I work with feel that.
 Bridesmaid Invitation Boxes

 New Proposal Ring Boxes

Thursday, March 7, 2013

slump, withdrawal, and spring cleaning

Afternoon slump happening here. I've been extremely productive all morning, and suddenly...phwump! I want a cup of coffee, but have read that the best way through is cheese. Yes, cheese. So maybe I'll have some cheese...cake! Mmmm. Cheesecake and a cup of coffee. I wish I had some cheesecake. I'm in full torte withdrawal. Pappy's 70th birthday came complete with the most remarkable cake Ever. And we got to bring some home, but alas. The last of it disappeared in a humm of ummm noises last night.

Spring is fast approaching here in Buffalo. The geese are returning, the Robins are singing, and crocuses are..croaking.
As is usually the case come spring time, I'm eager to go someplace for a change of scene. I want to open the windows and move the furniture and build an addition onto the chicken coop. Oh, wait...we don't have a coop...yet!
For now I'll have a cup of coffee, and dust something.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Monkey Mind in a Hamster Wheel

My brain is continually spinning out ahead of me like a little dervish. I keep reeling it back in with list making and breathing and trying to talk my way to the root of it. I am moving around under a big canopy of worried thoughts and future responsibilities and things beyond my control. But when I try to look at it, all I see is the dervish, spinning and blurry.
I don't want to feel this way, and so I am trying to pin the source of it down with writing. To grab hold of one anxious thought at a time. Frustrated at the slippery seeming impossibility of this exercise. I feel like Captain Ahab, harpooning that damn big metaphor just below the surface of clear seeing, being pulled along by it, having no control. Only I have both of my legs, I am not adrift at sea, I am not battling a corpse-cheek colored whale of disproportionate size.
I am...flo.
I am...anxious today.
because...I feel responsible for another home and other kitties and I am going away over night and must therefore leave my responsibility in the hands of others.
...I feel anxious for those other kitties because I think that I'm the only one who'll love them up and clean their litter every day and continue to give them food security.
But in reality..
I am leaving for approximately 32 hours. The person taking over for me is a capable, responsible adult. The boys will not die for lack of my coos and pets and kisses. They will be fed. Even if their litter boxes don't get scooped tomorrow, there are 4 of them. They'll be okay. They'll be okay.
I'm okay. It's alright to go. It's alright to let go. Control. Releasing my need to control it all.
*pause for silence*
*pause to listen*
*pause to breathe*
I feel better, calmer, able to breathe silently and let my mind drift without it spinning away from me. I feel present here, at home, at the computer. Bijou is playing on the bed, throwing a twist tie around, and flinging herself after it. Nik'l is silent and reading in the kitchen. Boris dreams of opposable thumbs and catnip gardens. All is well and beautiful.
I'm ready to go on with this day. And if I feel anxious I will remind myself that it's alright to go. That this moment is all that there is, and that all is well in each given moment. That the point of my power is right here.
Last night we had supper with a neighbor who we've wanted to spend time with for quite awhile. And it felt really lovely, and she brought us tulips. Spring is so near. So so near.