Friday, December 17, 2010

#reverb10: Lesson Learned

December 17 – Lesson Learned What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)

Lesson(s) in song

Certain songs have a way to express feelings, ideas, and hopes when I can't fully articulate them myself. I am usually listening to music in some capacity: in the car, on my iPod, on Pandora radio, or songs I create in my head. Here's a list of song lyrics I've come to love in 2010 that exemplify the lessons I've learned about myself this year...

My mind is open wide
And now I'm ready to start
                  - Ready to Start, Arcade Fire

It takes an ocean not to break
                  -Terrible Love, The National

Home is wherever I’m with you
                 -Home, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
               -The Dog Days are Over, Florence and the Machine
Cause you and your heart
Shouldn't feel so far apart
              -You and Your Heart, Jack Johnson

Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
Even if it leads nowhere?
            -Chasing Pavements, Adele

These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday
          -Nightswimming, R.E.M

Thursday, December 16, 2010

#reverb10: Friendship

December 16 – Friendship How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

My favorite frenemy

From "frenemy" to my person,
You taught me there's more to a person
 than meets the eye.
You helped me take chances and have fun.
Let us ski, surf, laugh til we cry.
Let us enjoy our youth.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#reverb10: 5 Minutes

December 15 – 5 Minutes Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)

Give me just 5 minutes..

...Deciding to write and push my boundaries creatively...Skiing almost every weekend with Alissa...Learning to surf...Standing on the beach after my run and watching the sun rise over the Atlantic in Long Beach Island...My dad calling me his jewel..Running my first 10k when I thought I couldn't do it...Becoming closer with Mrs. M, a source of inspiration...Cuddling with my dog, Maxine, for almost three hours the day after Thanksgiving...First time being a costume manager for my high school's production of "Anything Goes," and continuing this year with "Phantom of the Opera"...Reading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Never Let Me Go...

5 minutes is just not enough; I must have had a good year...


Monday, December 13, 2010

#reverb10: action

December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)

Next steps, in no particular order:
Aha! Inspiration! Let me revel in your vision.
Oh no! I have to act on it! It can't be done!
It can though, just take the first step!
Make a list, come up with a plan.
Then, without warning, comes the cold feet.
No, I'm afraid!
It's too difficult, too much work!
I reassure myself, quietly and calmly.
Yes, it is difficult.
You're right, it is hard work.
But it's the plan, the first step in the
right direction,
that makes it that much easier
to turn ideas
into action,
and later, hopefully,


Sunday, December 12, 2010

#reverb10: Body Intergration

December 12 – Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

Sunset at the top of Jiminy Peak...

What a serendipitous reverb prompt, for last night I went skiing for the first time of the season. It was a surprisingly mild night and the trails were perfect for zipping down the hill. It being the first outing of the season, I anticipated some trouble getting back into it and finding my center, but it was like I never stopped skiing. Maybe it was muscle memory, or maybe it was the perfect fusion of mind and body, being oh so sprightly and agile.

I go through the majority of my life feeling uncertain and unconfident, but skiing is one of the few activities where I feel powerful, confident, and adventurous.I am not sure why that is; I guess everyone has a pursuit that gives that sense of accomplishment and power.

When I ski, it's like my mind and body come together, supremely focused. I concentrate on my form and the edges of my skis, anticipating jumps, reacting quickly to ice and mounds of snow. My mind and body work cohesively together, like partners in crime. And yet, when my body is working so hard, I reach a point where a part of the mind is free. Free to wonder and wander the world around me.

When I'm on a trail by myself, surrounded by snow-covered trees, I feel as if I am the only one on the mountain. Snow blankets and muffles the sounds save for swish of my skis as they glide through the snow. It's those moments in life where I feel the most alive and free.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

#reverb 10: Things

December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

What my life doesn't
need is quite simple,

Needless conflict;
Hatred of self and others;

See, how simple, is that?
Some can't be eliminated,
they are a part of life that can't
be controlled.
But maybe they can be alleviated
for a time to reach clarity and compassion.
For myself and,
more importantly,


Mag 44

Ode to Childhood

Take me back to a time,
all bundled up in
warm snowpants and mittens,
admiring the freshly fallen snow.

A time where I would
gather my brother up,
chubby cheeked with envy-evoking dimples,
and bring him outside.

A time where would we
take our metal rail sled
that belonged to our
mother when she was a girl
and push it the road,
each of us taking a side.

A time when we 
would sled down
our grandparents' quiet road,
a steep hill, perfectly inviting
for a good sleigh ride.
We didn't think of the danger,
only the fun.

A time where my little brother
would sit in front of me
while I steered the sled with my feet.
The wind whipping our
faces as we flew down
the snow covered road.

We'd reach the bottom
by colliding into a snow pile
made by the plowers.
We would laugh,
brush off the snow,
and run back up without care.
We had so much energy
back then.

Take me back to the time
when life hadn't touched
my brother and me.
Where all we cared about
was having the perfect
sleigh ride on a perfect
winter's day.

Magpie Tales

Friday, December 10, 2010

#Reverb10: Wisdom

Note: My computer died on me last night, so no Decemeber 9  #Reverb for me :( But moving on!...

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

Why is it easier for me to think of all the foolish decisions I’ve made in 2010? Maybe because I’m too hard on myself. Or maybe because the impractical decisions seem more fun and adventurous at the time. One decision, however, I know was the wisest was one that had been on my mind in 2009 and was finally made at the beginning of 2010.

Break ups are never fun  (how cliche of me to write about a break up!). But sometimes necessary to free yourself from others and recapture the you that was lost in the mix. My boyfriend and I had been together on and off for about four years. He was the rebound of another relationship and so that feeling of waiting for the next best thing stuck with me for most our time together. 

Caring and thoughtful in his own way, with a temper and stubborness I couldn't seem to match nor shake. We stayed together when I was in Australia and we stayed together living an hour and a half a part. My intuition, my "witchiness," told me we weren't right together. But other, more convincing parts of me, stayed with him.

We started the break up "process" in a car, on the way back from his parents after Thanksgiving last year. Another cliche, breaking up in a car. It was ugly and sad. An awkward since we still had about an hour to go.

We left our status uncertain, full of doubt on my part, yet full of hope on his part. I said I needed time to think. He respected that. What I really needed though was to get some courage and just end it. We talked throughout the month of December. I knew it was crushing him, stringing him along, but I couldn't do it. I knew it was right thing but I also knew I didn't want to be alone.

We ended things on a cold January morning, on the phone rather than face to face. I don't think he could see me, knowing it would the last time. I remember getting out of bed, shaking off the tears, and cleaning my apartment from top to bottom. It was as if I needed sort some of cleansing ritual to move on.

It's been hard, being alone, but I don't think I'm lonely. That's how I know it was a wise decision. This year led me to new things (blogs, road trips, surfing, blind dates, to name a few) and I haven't felt more myself in such a long time. Yes, there have been plenty of bumps and trials this year, but I've  realized that I can take them on, even if there are some meltdowns along the way.

Now, remember how I said that foolish decisions are more fun? Well, in the course of the year my ex-boyfriend and I have met up a few time. Awful, unwise, silly, I know! But sometimes those unwise decisions are made in the hopes that you'll learn something from them. I'm just waiting for the lesson...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#reverb10: Beautifully Different

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

"You have a freak flag...You just don't fly it."

Something must be fundamentally
wrong with me,
because this prompt makes me cringe.
Is it really that hard
to think positively of myself?

So, going against the grain
of my natural inclinations,
I'm just going to let my
freak flag fly!

I love to laugh,
the kind of laughter
the comes from the belly
and I don't care if I laugh
when I'm all alone.
I make sure to laugh even harder.

I love to make people
laugh with embarassingly
awkward tales of my silliness.

I persevere
and I hate to give up.
I think people respect and admire
that about me.
Even if I have
a meltdown
every now and then.

Like my mom and grandmother,
I have witchy hands,
kind of ugly, but strong,
which really means
I am intuitive and perceptive
(so they say).

These things may
make me a little eccentric,
a little adventurous,
but the freak flag in me
lets them come out.
And people like me
all the same.

reverb10: join in on the fun

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#Reverb10: Community

A little late in the game, but better late than never....

December 7 – Community Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

When I think about the "communities" I belong to and am excluded from (by choice or otherwise), not much has evolved over this year. Except one: becoming a part of the community of words, with their shared  powerful, and life-altering ownership we all have over them.

Last January,  I was having probably my fourth or fifth quarter-life crisis. Boyfriend gone. Job in the dumps.  A foreboding gloom in my mind that matched the early twilight of winter. My stepmother had such a simple proposal. Take three months and don't make any decisions. Figure out what you want for yourself.

And so I did, and started a blog in the process. I found the "community" of words and ways to use them in a way where I could create, reflect, and be honest when I couldn't  in other communities I belonged to. And I found other people who felt similarly. Reading others' "community of words" helped me see the world in different ways, and forced me to think about who I wanted to be.

Communities can be seen as concrete, physical places. But to me, communities are also in the shared ownership we all have with words; how we use them,  how they continually change and challenge us to think beyond what we see, but rather what we feel...

As I see 2011 on the horizon, I wonder what's in store for and what communities I have yet to be a part of. During the tail end of this year, I began to run more diligently than usual, and hating it less and less. I even completed my first 10K! I realized that the hard work and dedication you put forward using your body makes you feel better inside and out.

So when I think about how I pushed the mental, creative part of me this year, I wonder how I could challenge my physical, corporeal capabilities this year. It may be a disaster, but I know I'll have this community of words. I'll always have somewhere to belong.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

mag 43

I dreaded this moment.
I thought, if I stayed out here,
the moment would melt like the
freshly fallen snow
from the night before.

I peered inside the clean window
and saw people milling about
in black attire.
The attire in direct contrast
with the newness of the snow.

I saw everyone,
save for one.
One whose absence felt
colder and more hollow
than the biting cold
out here.

Entering through that door,
a door I've entered many
times before,meant
 I'd finally have to let you go.

Let me linger here
just a little longer.
Let me breath in the
crisp air.
Let me smell the
clean of snow.
Let me remember you
just a lttle bit longer.

Magpie Tales

Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Snow

Secret to youth:
Snow cascading joyfully;
Cheeks scarlet with cold.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

made my day...

My step mom (who's more than a stepmother, really), Kelly, gave me a shout out on her beautiful blog, Mrs. Mediocrity.

It made me smile and I realized that it's the little gestures like these that show how love, beauty, and understanding emanate from people dear to you...

barking at the moon

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three Words

Inspired by Three Word Wednesday


I traveled to the 
other side of the world
to escape you.

I collected treasures of 
sun-soaked beaches, 
delicate shells,
lust evening breezes,
peace of mind.

Yet, on those nights,
when I lay in cool sheets,
I think of your quiet gesture:
brushing my hair 
back from my face.
My memory's effect is immediate;
I forget to remember 
why I left in the first place.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

i'm a visitor here myself...

Poem inspired by: “But here’s something I always forget about travel loneliness…When you finally accept that you are on your own, when making friends no longer matters and when you turn your attention to other subjects, it vanishes. “ –Matt Gross

The Heaviness of Mementos I Keep

Sometimes I feel as though I’m a tourist in my own life.
Destination after destination, looking for keepsakes of my travels.
I collect faces and their expressions;
experiences and their many sordid lessons;
various mementos that signal hazy memories
that float up in my mind.

I walk through a crowded street. 
I overhear fragments of conversation
 not meant for my ears.

With a memento in my hand,
 I walk to the end of the street.
Beyond the street lies a mosaic-encrusted set of stairs

 that leads to
 a cliff overlooking a vast, blue sea.
I walk up the stairs to the edge of the cliff.
The salty, warm air wraps its arms around me.

I gaze down at my memento.
It represents quiet memories,
stringent loneliness,
misremembered companions.
I see you somewhere in it,
lurking below the surface.

I drop the memento in the water
and watch the current slowly carry it away.
As the sun warms my face and shoulders,
I feel buoyant and radiant.

I turn around and walk back to the street.
The once-crowded street is quiet as I walk
on its cobblestoned-back.

I peer inside a dusty yet fragrant café.
I see a familiar face, smiling and beckoning me in.
I amble in.
Ready to stay awhile on this trip
that is my life.

....Pictures taken in Australia, 2006.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mag 37

In the late afternoon sun,
I am like the crumpled sheets in our bed,
Ready to be made.

The luminescent light that reflects
from your bronze eyes
bares down on my soul.

Sometimes it's hard not to look away.

......Inspired by Magpie Tales



Thursday, October 14, 2010

baby, what's your sign?

I came across emma tree's beautiful blog yesterday and read the following:

"life is just overwhelming at times,
and we are all standing on a corner
with a sign in our hands needing something".

She, as well as Graciel , posed the challenge to show off our own signs.
Below are mine. They were taken at work, with the camera on my phone. My real camera has met an early demise (but work with what you got, I say)...

I have never been the assertive type. I am a person that will let things happen to herself than make things happen. It feels easier that way, somehow. I was once described in high school as "unobtrusive, but always there." That rather apt description has followed me throughout life and was starting to be a disadvantage to my personal and professional life. I would go out of my way to be agreeable and easygoing, but I was losing space, literally and figuratively ( for example, the area I worked with students at school consisted of a student desk wedged between some filing cabinets and the area for the coffee maker and refrigerator).

I need to elbow my way in and take up some space and be a real presence. In conversation, in the classroom, in decision-making, and in my life when I have the power to make something happen rather than let something happen.

Laughter is one of the keys to my survival. If I don't laugh at least once a day, a vice-like tension starts to build in my chest and I begin to traverse the slippery slope of frustration and sadness. Laughter gets me through the day. When I want to cry (which can be often), I try to laugh. To quote "Garden State:" If you can't laugh at yourself, life is going to seem a whole lot longer than you like."

The rat started out as a running gag. Members of the Reading Department would place it in work areas, unbeknown to people. When discovered, it would give a slight fright and a good chuckle. One day, it disappeared and was forgotten about (or so I thought...). One morning, as I was preparing for students, I wandered out to my bookshelf and found....RAT MAN. It startled me and a laugh, starting in my toes and working through my belly, erupted in raucous fashion. I laughed and laughed until I cried. I don't even know why. The absurdity of it all, perhaps. But those laughs are the laughs I yearn for. Through laughter (and the friends who make you laugh), things don't seem that bad.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

inspired by indian lake


The path before me is lined
by withering birches and
carpeted with leaves of
crimson and gold.

It meanders toward
the shore.
The water lapping
gently at my feet.

If I look far enough,
I can see the horizon,
lined with peaks and possibilities.
Possibilities that seem infinite.
Yet, here I am
on the rocky shore.
Limited by how far my
feet can go.

My feet stop at the
clear blue water,
but my thoughts
quietly guide me
to the promises of the horizon
and what lays beyond it.

The sun's rays
dance on the water's calm surface
and envelope me in a warm embrace.

I smile.
And I wait.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

journaling saves prompt: "i don't want to write about..."


Enduring the Night

The keen sense of
my solitude stings,
piercing the foundation
I've built for myself.

The quiet emptiness of the night,
with words left unsaid,
were once a comfort.
But that which comforts you
can cage you in the end. 

My loneliness is
crowding the spaces in 
my heart. 
Which leaves no room for
the possibility of
someone or something new
to burst in.

I'm waiting, hoping, 
that the familiar pangs
will heal on its own.

But for now,
I remain with my 
constant, quiet companion.

And endure the night.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Waves colliding with the sand.
Stone edges, once sharp to the touch,
now worn smooth by the
relentless sea surf.

You are the waves
that crash onto the shore.
The foam that lingers
on the sand.
Like the hand that lingers
on mine.

I am the rocks on the beach.
Once roughened but
now worn with softened angles.
Soft like your eyes as they rest
on mine.

Sometimes it's easier to
relent to the pressure and
the crashing cacophony
than to battle the breaking crests.

Because the longer you stay in
my heart and in my head,
the easier it is to yield to the quiet
of the outgoing tide.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Into My Own"

One of my wishes is that those dark trees, 
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze, 
Were not, as 'twere, the merest mask of gloom, 
But stretched away unto the edge of doom. 

I should not be withheld but that some day 
Into their vastness I should steal away, 
Fearless of ever finding open land, 
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.

I do not see why I should e'er turn back, 
Or those should not set forth upon my track 
To overtake me, who should miss me here 
And long to know if still I held them dear. 

They would not find me changed from him they knew-- 
Only more sure of all I thought was true.

-Robert Frost