Sunday, November 23, 2008

Out of Town

I've gone to the West Texas town of El Paso...

And will return Thanksgiving. To eat.

More on all of that later.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Reading too much? Staying up late at night? Here's your warning.

So here are some problems associated with with reading too much, too late at night:
1. Getting up in the morning.
But, honestly? This is always a problem.
2. Referring to oneself in the third person.
"It's time to go to work," she thought idly, as she hit the alarm button for the third time.
3. Narrating life as it happens, even after eliminating the third person.
I answered the phone with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, seeing as it was Monday morning.
4. Using ridiculous words and phrases in normal conversation.
"Oh, I do apologize. I'm feeling rather addlepated this morning."

I'm working on it. I think I need to read something instructive tonight, something non-fiction. I think I'll read more of Eden's Outcasts tonight. Not likely to make me any more normal, but maybe likely to help me sleep. It is a good book. But scholarly.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Unpaved Paradise

Roxie and I were here for a couple of hours today.

On the way home, I heard about these dome houses on NPR's Studio 360. Why don't we all live in these? They look quite nice, and they are cheap, and good for the environment. Mom, I know you read this. You should have one of these in your backyard as a guest home. On the Cal-Earth website (linked above), they have the plans. No? I can see the West Texas winds blowing over those domed roofs...

I also went to a "Fall Festival" and bought some Christmas gifts. And some Paper White Narcissus bulbs. I'm going to try and not kill the bulbs, but I'm not guaranteeing anything. This is what I plan to do with them. I've been promised that it's very easy. We shall see.

And now Rick Steves is talking about tracing Odysseus's steps while I knit.

I hate to be a total nut, but I agree with the Southern California woman on Studio 360: "Everything is beautiful. The world is beautiful."

Let us celebrate Earth's beauty and build dome homes and grow flowers and knit our own clothing.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Word of the Day

Addlepated--having a muddled or confused mind; foolish, silly, or illogical.

I found this word in that romance novel. HA! I learned something from it, after all.


If You Need Me, Look in Some Words

Currently, I am inhabiting poems by Mary Oliver. I've known this one for a while, but I fell into it again today.

"The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

--from New and Selected Poems, 1992, Beacon Press, Boston, MA

If you're reading this, you should go find another poem and read it, and then tell me about it. The world needs more of us living in poems.


Oh, How I Identify

As I head off to work this morning, to a drawer full of dark chocolates and a refrigerator of Dr. Pepper, I feel like this:


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why I Need to Learn to Spin

This is why.

Seriously, how cool is that? The only runic inscription of its time, on a spindle--a mark of ownership!

This is what I like about knitting. Even if it is just a hobby to me, once it was very important. I feel linked to others when I am knitting, others going back so far into the runic inscriptions.

I will spin someday. I will, I will.

(Because I need another hobby. I'm going to be single forever.)

(Oh, and thanks to knittyBlog's "What's What Wednesday" for finding this article...lots of interesting stuff there.)


I'm Not A Snobby Reader Anymore

I am expanding my reading horizons.

So I read the Twilight Series. And the woman I borrowed those books from had a drawer full (yes a drawer, not a shelf) of romance novels. Romance Novels. And I took them. And I picked up one to read.

In one of my senior seminars in college, a girl read romance novels and wrote a paper on them--I can't remember what conclusions she drew. I do remember how the rest of us important English majors laughed at her. Romance novels? Smut.

But I like it. This book is actually not that poorly written. I mean, there are moments that are silly. I can't take any kind of written sex seriously. But overall, I was really surprised by the quality of the writing.

And I don't hardly know what to do with myself.

What is wrong with me? Have I been out of college too long? I'm going to have to dive into some Dickens very soon, just to edify myself. Or Austen.

But then, there are those books that I can't get into. I love mystery novels, but there are two popular series that I have tried to read. I used to think that too many writing classes had ruined my ability to enjoy reading.

Now, I'm not too sure...


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First Rejection Letter

I have been a bad bad writing student all these years.

I had never sent in a story to a review. So, a few weeks ago I sucked it up and sent one around.

I thought I wouldn't hear anything for months, or maybe not at all. But yesterday I got an e-mail that the magazine was "unable to find a place for my submission." Is it weird that I am excited about this? There are several more places that I'm waiting for rejections from, too.

Finally, I can start that rejection letter scrapbook I've been thinking about all these years.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

And I say thank you for fighting for me. Thank you. Because we all want the same thing. We all want peace.

And though we may not agree on how, we agree.

So thank you, all you service men and women for putting your life on the line for this country that we all believe in, for the future. Thank you for your work that allows me to have my opinion and to believe what I want--because you fight for those rights.

I honor you today--may we all wage peace together.


"Wage Peace" by Judyth Hill

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Celebrate today.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Thought for the Day: Hopeless into Wholeness

I can't believe my world these days.

A year ago, I was feeling pretty hopeless. I mean, I have always been a glass-half-full type of person, so if you'd talked to me I would have told you things were looking pretty good, that I had a good job, that things were looking up.

Things are always looking up.

But these days, things are more than pretty good. Aside from the occasional lonely moment (there's always something), I am feeling great.

I love my job. I live in a pretty apartment in a city with a lot to offer. Friends visit regularly. I have enough time on my own to read books, to paint. I have enough money to have cable television and pay for my own Internet (sometimes it's the little things).

And then, last week, the country elected the person I had hoped and dreamed about since last year. I am very hopeful. Even with the terrible economy, even with crises all around us, I am inspired by this message of change, of "yes we can," of working together. I am hoping desperately now that our nation will be able to come together rather than ripping apart, that we will embrace bipartisanship, that we will be able to remember what a very few men did over two hundred years ago. Franklin's words still ring true--no matter what else, we must "hang together" or surely we will "hang separately." We are Americans, and I am proud, again, to be one of this group of pioneering people. It makes me want to learn even more about our history, about where we've come from. I'm finally excited about the future, and that makes me feel that I need to learn more about our past.

And so I haven't been blogging because I have been doing all these other things. I have been praying. And reading. And painting. And knitting. And spending time with my family. And writing stories.

This is the biggest development yet since moving back here--the writing.

A few posts ago I talked about my life and how much reading and writing used to be such a big part of it. Maybe I had to take a break and live for a while. Maybe I just took a break.

I stopped writing when I met the Boy and the Boy left and then my computer crashed and I lost the six years of writing that I did have and then I got all mopey about writing and felt sorry for myself...and mopey-ness and pity don't get you anywhere. In fact, they are the best writer's block around (unless you're Hemingway--but ugh, who wants to read that, anyway?).

Hope does feed creativity. So, as the nation grows and changes I, too, will grow and change, and I am trying, trying harder than I have in a long time. I am daring to hope again that I will be able to write something worthwhile. I am daring to think that my future might have something to do with my past, too. Acceptance is important.

As a nation, we accept that we have made mistakes, that we have caused irreparable scars because of the way we have treated each other. I am not comparing my personal "scars" to these, but I do believe that all of us have done things that we need to think about, and forgive ourselves so that we can forgive each other and move on.

I bet that if we all look back to the thing that made us happiest, where we felt the most like ourselves, it would be a good place to start. It's hard to be divided if we start from a place of wholeness within ourselves.

I'm moving toward wholeness. I hope that the nation is, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Oh yes, I have it.

Thank you, America.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Too Hot

Right now? 65 degrees Fahrenheit
The high tomorrow? 81.
It's November and I've got the air conditioning going.

Oh I wish it was cold and I could layer myself in hand knits! And drink hot tea...

I may have to make iced tea, instead.


Catch Up

Shall we have another list?

1. I am having trouble blogging because I saw a satire of blogging (as in "and then she said to me..., and then I said to her..., and we were all like..., and then...) and my father turned to me, laughing, and said "It sounds like your blog, Shannah." Sigh. I suppose I must learn to write only when I really have something to say.
2. Speaking of writing, I am doing that, too. And, surprisingly, enjoying it. It's so much more fun when I know it won't be picked over by a class workshop.
3. I finished the Twilight series. It was very, very good. It was so nice to be transported to another world. It's been a long time since I've read a book that I couldn't put down. I would highly recommend the series. All the books were page turners, indeed. I was surprised by the twists and turns--in a good way. There are some little things that bothered me, but since I am as yet unpublished and sans English degree, who am I to criticize?
4. I am halfway through two Christmas gifts. I feel waaay too proud of this.
5. Tomorrow is the election and I am filled with nervous hope. I am praying for our nation tonight...praying that we can all have the "audacity to hope," that we can elect someone new and different. I think there is opportunity for real change here, change for the better.