Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Eyes Are Healing

Sometimes you crack me up
in unexpected ways
and the crack begins to
hatch wide open
whatever misconceptions
I've been sitting on, incubating,
light in so that i can see
a different angle of you that I
had always missed before,
another color, a different shape
or intricate pattern
in the kaleidoscope of all
your stained glass.

My eyes are healing

but last week I had a touch of pink eye
and as a result
I wore less makeup.
I was not shocked by the sight of
my own face.

He says, "You don't need to be so dramatic"
be he's wrong.
sometimes I do need
to be so,
and that girl in the mirror,
I like her, most days,
and I am not surprised
so much, any longer,
when I recognize her.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Fairy God Mother

(Pre-script: To pair a song with this post, I tried to think 'What would Anne Lamott like?" I'm still not sure, so I'm just going have to make an executive decision..."Unwritten" by Natasha Beddingfield seems completely appropriate. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and read the post. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

I've been reading "Plan B Further Thoughts On Faith" by Anne Lamott. I just picked up this book on Christmas Day at my parent's house, and immediately wondered why I have never read Anne Lamott before? We were obviously meant for each other. My analysis is that she is a naturally gifted writer, natural without trying too hard, wickedly hilarious with endearing sincerity. I love her. I love her writing style. Here are a few quotes:

"...Your sick, worried mind can't heal your sick, worried mind. Well, maybe your mind is lovely and pastoral and you do not suffer from paranoia, hypochondria, a bad attitude, and delusions of victimized grandeur. That is very nice, but we don't want you in our cave after the bombs fall, you are going to annoy us to death." (pgs 129-130)

"The universe was pulling out all the stops-torrential rains and power outages for days-and it made me crazy, especially when acquaintances would enthuse about how they were enjoying the lack of electricity, how close together it was bringing their families. (Thank you for sharing but you can't be in our cave, either. You and your families will have to be in solitary, with your little board games.)" (pgs 130-131.)

"I still have terrible moments when I despair about my body-time and gravity have not made various parts of it higher and firmer. But those are just moments now-I used to have years when I believed I was more beautiful it I jiggled less, if all parts of my body stopped moving when I did. But I know two things now that I didn't at thirty: That when we get to heaven, we will discover that the appearance of our butts and our skin was 127th on the list of what mattered on this earth. And that I am not going to live forever." (pgs. 172-173.)

I plan to be at the library this week, checking out as many Anne Lamott books as I can find. I need to read up and learn, and someday, over the rainbow, in my wildest dreams, I hope HOPE HOPE to be as good of a writer as Anne Lamott. I'm just wishin', wishin' upon a star! She is like my Fairy Godmother of writing skills. That is a huge compliment from me, because I am very picky about a person's writing skills, and will not tag Fairy Godmother status on just anyone.*


*In fact, I have never given any one Fairy God Mother status ever before. Although now that I think of it, Mya Angelou would be up there, too; her writing is THAT good. Mmm, Mmm, yes.

New Police Officers Needed!

(Pre-script: This post is best paired with the song:""Superman" by Five For Fighting. Please go down to the playlist and click on that song, , then come back and read this post. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I just cleaned out my email inbox and was surprised to see a message that was said it was from: "Police Officers Needed!!" and the title of the message was :"Ever thought that YOU could become a police officer?" Um, Sorry, but you got the wrong girl, police force. I have hazy childhood memories of watching CHIPS with my parents as a young child, when I thought that any TV show that was named after an often forbidden but much desired snack must be awesome. Also at that age, my brother's and I would play a sort of version of being police officers, which mainly involved chasing each other, hiding from each other, shooting each other when we found each other, and if you were the one to get shot, then you had to lay frozen and dead for about 30 seconds before you could get up and run again. These days, the only part of law enforcement that I could maybe pull off would be the running. But knowing that the running would be because I would have to chase somebody, possibly some huge burly criminal who is angry that I am chasing him and does not in any way value my life? And then maybe I'd have to point a gun at that person? And have enough of a voice left to say something in an authoritative tone, like "Freeze?" Y'all, I would be terrified, unless I had gone through the training, in which you learn to not be terrified of things like that, and I don't want to lose my healthy fear of things like that, I want to stay soft and sensitive to things like violence and horror and drug deals and dead bodies. I sort of want to keep that part of myself intact. So to whoever sends those emails, I think it's safe to say that I am just going to pass on this one.


P.S. My friend Francesca might be a decent candidate, though; she is an avid reader of crime and police novels, so she at least would probably have all of the correct lingo down before going into it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Reasons why SHE typically does.

(Pre-script: For this post to fully make sense, you must first have read the previous post, titled "Reasons I typically Don't." If you have not read it yet, please take the time to do so now. You'll also want to go down to the playlist and click on the song," Beautiful, Scandalous Night," which is the last song on the playlist. It's cool, I'll wait.) Align Center
(...still waiting...)

Today, as it was Christmas, I received some wonderful gifts, such as these: My children received some wonderful, personalized monsters, such as these:
Y'all, these creative bits of wonder came from the generous, loving heart of my sister in law, Sara.
She made them.
she made them.
Even the necklace.
The cute little sachet? Smells like Heaven, assuming that Heaven contains a bit of lemongrass, lavender, and sage...and if that very lavender, lemongrass and sage was grown in Sara's own garden, by Sara's own hands.
But when I told her she had talent, she said "No, I just have a lot of time." Um, I'm pretty sure that me+a lot of time would never equal:(Now please excuse me while I bang my head repeatedly against the nearest wall.)*


P.S. In return, I gave her a snazzy striped shirt which I did not make, but which I also wore, because I am a dork like that, and proud to be.

P.P.S. This post was written in a state of awe and wonder.

*Oh, and don't worry about the head banging thing; I have never banged anything hard enough to actually cause any damage to it or my head.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Reasons I Typically Don't...

(Pre-script: To get the most out of this post, first go down to the playlist, click on the song: "Superman," by Five for Fighting, then come back and read this post as that song plays. Don't worry, I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Top reasons why I don't typically "make" Christmas gifts for people:

1.)The one time I tried to bake rum cakes, No matter how many trips I made to BevMo, (with a designated driver, of course) I couldn't keep the bottle of rum away from my lips long enough to have any Rum actually make it into the batter.*

2.)I'm just not as creative and crafty as all y'all, and that makes me feel inferior, and really bad about myself, like I want to bang my head against a wall over and over, and I don't think that's a good idea, so I just don't even go there.

3.)When I try to think of some idea of something to make, I realize that it would cost a fortune in both time and money, in the necessary lessons and supplies that would have been better spent on some awesome already made item I could just drive to the store and exchange for cash.

4.) No one wants some crummy piece of paper with a drawing of a stick figure on it, with the mistakes I tried to erase still clearly visible because the eraser never fully erases the mistakes, unless you erase so hard you erase a hole right through the paper where the mistake was. And then you just have a crummy piece of paper with a drawing of a stick figure and holes.

5.)Any craft idea that might involve Elmers Glue would be too distracting; Oh, I might start out task oriented, but once glue actually started drying on my hands, all I would be able to think about would be the peeling the dried glue off of my hands, and then I would get caught up in putting glue on my hands, letting it dry, peeling it off...over and over...and the whole craft would be lost. BUT now it occurs to me that maybe I should give everyone containers of Elmers Glue...with instructions...for the experience of peeling dried glue off of your hands. It was entertaining in 4th grade; it would still be entertaining today. Think about it.


* Joking peeps; can't you take a joke?! GOSH!! (It wasn't rum, it was tequila.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Before I knew myself

Before I knew myself
maybe I knew better.
Ideas unformed
were beautiful in rawness unrefined
dreams whole and undigested
perfect in their state of possibility.
before I knew myself
I was less ruled by the
fears I had yet to acknowledge
I was impulsive,
willing to look
now I sit back in my Lazy Boy and
point to the book with the answer
to the question
I stopped asking long ago,
but it's not right
I am not wise to let go of the girl
who knew she didn't know
before I knew myself .



Friday, December 19, 2008

The perfect man always greets me with a smile and a bunch of cookies.

(Pre-script: To get the most out of this post, read it as the you sing the line "In the meadow, we can build a snowman, and pretend that he's a...cookie jar." to yourself over and over again. When you get tired of that, go down to the playlist and click on the song "Winter" by Joshua Radin. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I am a person who is always thinking decoratively. I am always thinking decoratively, Gentle Reader, but just not always following through with my very creative, completely innovative, mind boggling decorative thoughts.
"But Michelle," (I hear you, my imaginary reader, asking),
"Michelle, Why, are you not the following through on your very creative, completely innovative, mind boggling decorative thoughts?"
Well Gentle Reader, I could say I'm lazy; that it's easier to think about these things than to follow through with them, and that the days just seem to fly by so fast. All of those things are true, Gentle Reader, and lest you have forgotten that my little peeps are 9,7,4, and 2, let me remind you: My little peeps are 9,7,4, and 2.
(Insert deep breathing exercises here.)
So at this point in my life, I say: decorating, schmecorating...*(for the next few years, at least, I think, at which point I will either put all of my fabulous ideas from over the years to practical use, or else come up with a better which point we might go back to square one, which, you will surely remember, is: "I'm lazy.")
Y'all, Derek's mom gave me the cutest cookie jar last year for Christmas. I immediately liked it so much; the large roundy-ness of it was automatically soothingly aesthetically pleasing to me. I in fact liked Mr. Snowman so much that I was not emotionally ready to take Mr. Snowman down when all the other Christmas decorations were taken down and packed back in the garage; I figured he could stay on my counter throughout the duration of winter. Snow falls all winter long, right? I mean in places where it actually snows? So a snowman cookie jar is completely appropriate for that duration of time, right?

Y'all, I think I left Mr. Snowman up until July.
By the time July hit it was like, "Hey, look, I've got a bit of "Christmas in July" flair happening in my kitchen...mmm hmm, right next to the basket-o-junk and charger. (Don't judge me...don't you judge me...)
Maybe this year, this little guy will stay up all year long. After all, Mama doesn't own any other cookie jars,** so why not? If a person is in my home, reaching for a cookie,*** why shouldn't he or she pull the cookie out of a happy cheery snowman?**** I think he or she will have a happier cookie experience that way, don't you think? I think. Feel free to stop by next July and find out for yourself.


*Unless you count the many ways the 9,7,4, and 2 year old have taken it upon themselves to "decorate..." But I'm not counting that.

**Please, do NOT take it upon yourself, whoever you are, to get me a cookie jar. It was a great one time gift; I generally discourage the idea of kitchenware or holiday ware as a gift, or holiday ware that is also kitchen ware, unless a person specifically asks for it...and, like I said, I'm happy with Mr. Snowman. He doesn't need to be upgraded.

***If there are cookies in my house, they will more likely be found in the plastic wrapping they came in, in the cupboard, where I cannot see them and lose my ability to think about anything except for trying to keep myself from devouring the entire package. If they are the homemade kind, they do not typically last long enough to actually make it from the counter into the cookie jar. (Don't judge me...don't you judge me...)

****Oh, I thought of a reason...because if you have to take the cookies out of a round pudgy fat man before you eat them, it can seem a little bit...cruel, in a not so subtle way. hmmmm.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Angel that feeds you cake

(Pre-script: Before reading this post, go down to the playlist and click on the song " Only Hope," by Switchfoot, then read it while that song is playing. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

"He (Elijah*) lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold there was an angel touching him, and he said to him "Arise, eat." Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake** baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you." So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights..." 1 Kings 19:5-8a.

Must have been some cake.

Some days life is too hard. Being responsible for 4 little people + 1 husband? Y'all, the journey is too great for me. Often I just want to run away; to go sleep under a tree somewhere by myself. Some days I just want God to send an angel who will bake me fresh cake, wake me up when it's warm, and tell me to eat it, then send me back home, restored and refreshed. And some days, I think he does, though I never perceive it.


*I added that so that you wouldn't have to guess who I was talking about; I know that not everyone has memorised the Old Testament.

**I bet it was some sort of honey cake. I doubt that "angel food cake" would sustain you very long, and manna had a honey taste to it, so possibly all heavenly food is honey flavored. (Plus, honey is a great natural energy source.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Driving the children to school and home

(Pre-script:To get the most out of this post, first go down to the playlist and click on the song "Winter" by Tori Amos, then come back and read the post. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

There is snow on the hills above me
as I drive the children to school this morning
and on the hill to my right, a spot
where the sun has peaked
through the cloud cover
just to the right above me on the snow covered hills
(and oh the ways a heart
can break
can mend
can ache
can bend)
In a few hours I
will pick them up from school
by then the sun
will be shining everywhere too bright
to see
(that in itself a different sort of ache)
I will need to wear sunglasses
the hills will still be snow covered but
less so, and we will drive home
sit unmoving in the driveway
for a minute or two to collect our
thoughts, packbacks, stray coats and purses,
the moment of transition from van to house is the hardest, I think;
being exposed to the chill in the air as we scurry
to get ourselves and all of our things inside
exchanging warmth for warmth but the cold
in between that makes us appreciate
the warmth at the end
then, close the door knowing we're home now, and
then what?


Friday, December 12, 2008

Grieving a loss

A runner is a person who hates running just as much as everyone else
but runs, anyway.


P.S. I miss my toenail.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm not going to write you a Christmas Poem*

(Pre-script: To get the most of this post, read it as the song: "Blackbird" plays. Go down to the playlist, click it on, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

If you have come to my blog looking for my most recent Christmas poem, you will not find it here; not today, at least. If you want to read a Christmas poem, I recommend "Twas the Night Before Christmas," or any number of Christmas carols read without the music. They're all pretty good, and I have nothing new to add to them...not today, at least.
Besides, someone else already wrote the poem about the kid who saved all his money and bought his mom red shoes because it was all she ever wanted. I have no idea how to top that... Not today, at least...


*To be read to the tune of the Sara Berealis song in which she sings "I'm not going to write you a love song."

Trust me, you don't want to eat this

(Pre-script: As this blog contains no Christmas music, I suggest reading it as the song: " Only Hope," by Switchfoot plays. Go down, turn it on, then come back, and view this post. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Do you have any idea how many germs it takes to make a gingerbread house? More than you care to ingest. Please, just look at the gingerbread houses, do not eat them...
...and just in case you wonder, none of us have ever been confused enough into thinking that Jesus was born in a gingerbread house. Refer to my earlier statement about the germs. The stable would have been much more hygenic.


Christmas-Shmishmas (A train of thought post...)

(Pre-script: as this blog contains no Christmas music, I have no particular song to pair it's reading with. I have, however, always been partial to the nostalgia of the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; the original "Meet me in Saint Louis" version, where Judy Garland sings "Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow" as opposed to the more current lyrics...SO sad. SO perfect.)

Y'all, seriously;
I don't trust anyone who says that he or she doesn't like getting presents. I don't believe that person. I think the person is saying that to try to sound in some way removed or above and beyond such silly human which I say, "whatever, Trevor; and to think that we could have been friends." It may be that you are super rich and anything you might ever want is at your fingertips in 5 minutes...I don't know anyone like that personally, though, and I also do not envy that life, because how would you ever enjoy or appreciate anything? You wouldn't.
And seriously, please don't ever say to anyone "We're just going to focus on Jesus and the meaning of Christmas, not the presents." Because I think you are only going to create resentment towards Jesus...and WHY do those two have to be at war with each other? I was so confused by that as a kid; like, "Y'all told me the Christmas story last night, I acted in the play, we lit the candles and read the verses, and trust me, I am so grateful; but why does opening my presents and liking and looking forward to that have to mean that I don't love Jesus? Trust me, I will not forget his birth just because I got excited that you gave me the black turtleneck sweater I asked for with the ruffles on the cuffs...!"
And the Santa's cultural. It's part of the culture we live in. Have fun with that. Personally, I can't lie to my kids. I just can't. But we still just have fun with it. The legend of Santa began with a nice man trying to help a family out in need; I think that's a great tradition to follow. We all know that there are a million ways that everyone can do that every year, not just at Christmastime. On Sunday, we learned that by giving just $10, a child in Uganda can have clean drinking in, they can drink water and not have to worry about dying from some horrible disease. Just $10.
Y'all, this time of year is stressful. Something in me rebels against it; I hate the feeling of the pressure and expectations to suddenly do, do, do...and I also try to remember what I felt like as a kid this time of I do those fun things with my kids, but the things that are too stressful to me and make me feel like I would rather spend the day with the stomach flu are the things I avoid doing. I think that's good holiday advice for anyone...
'cause we all know what the stomach flu produces. 'nuf said.


* I DO understand not wanting to recieve gifts from a person who's "gifts" always have unspoken expectations attatched; but that is a different case altogether, and that is not really a "gift," anyway...

P.S. Thank you for staying seated on this train until it came to a complete stop. It could have used a lot more editng...but then it wouldn't have been train of thought, and I was partial to sticking with the train of thought style for this post.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I always mean more than just what I say.

(Pre-script: For a really cool effect, before reading this post, go down to the playlist, click on the song "Say" by John Mayer, then come back up and read the post. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

In this blog's past, I have not explained my poetry. It either speaks to you or it doesn't. Whatever it says to you is awesome, whether it was what I was intending to say or not; art is like that, the artist doesn't always realize what he or she has created until after it is created. Sometimes I realize after I write something that what I said could have a completely different meaning than the one I originally intended, and I think, "wow, that's awesome. That's cool, too." Sometimes a poem means something different to me as time goes by, as well. So of course different people will get different meanings out of reading the exact same words. We all bring out own experiences to the poem; it informs our reading and understanding of it.
I decided that I'm going to give you a glimpse into my heart and mind by explaining why I wrote the previous poem today, "What Once Shimmered Golden Above Us." Maybe by seeing this glimpse, the rest of my poems will make a bit more sense, as well. The main thing I want everyone to understand is that I always intentionally mean more than just what I say. If I write a poem about an orange, you can be sure that I am intending it to be some sort of metaphor for life, or at least some small facet of it.
The poem of today was inspired by the sight of a few different trees recently, trees that are full of fall colored leaves, with leaves showered all around the base of the tree, not yet raked up, as they lay there on the neatly mown grass. I loved the contrast of the beautifully colored tree, so passionate, and the leaves around it looked like this beautiful thing was crying, and just, spreading it's tears and passions all over itself, and it was a beautiful thing...and then contrasting it to the neat, careful green lawn...which seemed to represent rules and guidlines that we live by. The delicate balance we try to maintain, the balance of these two extremes within ourselves; it's enough to cause my heart to ache, and I just wasn't ready to see those leaves raked up and destroyed. I just...loved what they represented, within my heart, at least.
So that is an example of how I see the world on a daily basis. I see the deeper meanings and the metaphors. I can't help it; They seem to jump out at me.
The pictures were taken this afternoon, of a tree in my front yard. I wish I could have cut out all of the background, but I couldn't angle it right; there was always something there.


P.S. "What once shimmered/shivered golden/green/red orange/ above us?" What do you think that means? What do those descriptions and colors mean to you? I'll give you one hint; it wasn't just about the leaves. It was very nostalgic. Think about it.

What once shimmered golden above us

What once shivered greenly above us,
the leaves on our beautiful tree,
let them fall where they may,
on the grass lush and green,
or on the sidewalk to be trampled
by oblivious shoes
but do not hold a rake or broom,
resist the urge to pile,
trash, or burn
what once shimmered orange red above us
as wind whispered incoherently,
as wind whispered things that cannot be translated
rustling when the leaves were still barely clinging
over grass kept lush, green, short
since no one wants weeds or the many things
that can hide in a lawn
let them fall, let them lie
and some will fall on the sidewalk
where anyone steps, with oblivious feet
the rest land on the grass
kept green, kept short
(since no one one wants weeds or the many things that can hide in a lawn)
a soft place to land, so resist the desire
do not get the rake out to pile
to collect
to toss or burn
what once shivered golden above us


Thursday, November 27, 2008

When The Rubber Meets The Road

When the rubber meets the road
and you're standing on the sidelines
watching me watching
the broken line of road
you do not need to say
you do not need to look
you do not need to point
you do not need my reassurance
that you will endure
my broken fan belt,
dead battery,
or blown gasket.
When the rubber meets the road
just remember that you went to Dental school,
or the school of Cosmetology, or
you took a few General Ed. classes
before dropping out altogether,
you did not go to the school of auto mechanics
any more than I did so
don't pretend you did
don't pretend you did
don't pretend you did
even if you read a manual once that told you
how to change a flat tire.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Glamorous Weaklings

Glamorous weaklings,
how often we ache
how deeply we yearn
as the earth spins around
the sun once
for every day we've
marched through;
brave soldiers we are
on ground that is foreign
the land mines not clear
the steps must be ginger
but brave and deliberate
left right left
how easily we fall
so beautiful, so tender,
as stoic as statues,
yet fragile as dust.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The last picture

Last night, after dinner and dessert with friends, Derek stopped an innocent passerby on the street and asked him to take our picture. It would have been a great idea, if this particular person didn't need to be wearing a warning sign around his neck. The guy took a picture of us, alright, but I think he was confused and thought that we actually asked him to take a picture of the sky. And then, when he was handing the camera back, he dropped it, it fell to the ground, and proceeded to break. Y'all, I'm not even going to show you the picture. Just imagine the sky, at night, so it's black, and then at the bottom of the picture, 4 little heads. That would be us. The end.


Friday, November 21, 2008

what I did today

Today I did all the things I always do:
spun around the sun 1x
pushed something too far
let something go
missed the point
wrestled out some kinks
ironed in some new ones
exposed a flaw
discovered gold
marked a page
logged in data
let go and held on tight...
Today, I was the same person I always am:
a very brave coward
wisely stupid
immaturely mature for my age
profoundly simple
deeply shallow
gently harsh
clumsily graceful
saying too much (which is never


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two boys

Two brothers
stand in front of the ocean
sometimes warm, sometimes cold
sometimes laughing, quiet, or yelling
dry, wet
(just remember that
it's always more complicated
than the surface of the thing
which can appear as smooth as glass
but can swell, reach out
and knock you down
or swallow you
then spit you out
when you are not looking
or running fast enough
just remember that it's deeper darker and
surprisingly full of unseen beauty and life
and you stand
in front of it,



Some days, the beach

(Pre-script: To get the most out of this post, possibly including, but not limited to, an incredible urge to shout "LUCKY!,"* go down to the playlist, click on the song "Heavenly Day," and then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

I spent just about every Sunday of summer '08 on the beach. I never get tired of looking at the ocean, and can't think of a better place to take a child. The weather is very unpredictable, though; it can be hot and sunny in San Jose, and at the same time along the coast it can be overcast, chilly, with a breeze that bites you, directly through whatever layers you may happen to be wearing. And it hurts... Like you are being bitten with actual teeth...cold, frozen teeth at that. So imagine the joy and delight of my heart when the weather forecast for a Sunday in the middle of November was 80 degrees with little to no wind. And imagine my joy and delight when I got to the beach and the forecast was correct. Now let's all take a moment to reflect on that...a warm, sunny, NON WINDY(most important) beach day in the middle of November!!!!

Y'all, it was fantastic.


P.S. ...and don't forget the sea glass, honey...

*Napoleon Dynamite

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"My just wookin' for hum gum"

(Pre-script: To get the most out of this post, first go down to the playlist, click on the song: " 32 Flavors," then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

This afternoon, baby girl was looking in my purse, and when she saw me seeing her, she said "My just wookin' for hum gum."
which properly translates to
"I'm just lookin' for some gum."

Um, no.



My eyes are blinking
(they want to close)
the truth,
when blinding,
too bright to see
too brilliant to comprehend
(what I already know, as it pounds my chest)
but I step forward and
my skin is warm,
my eyes are clear, moist, and shining.
(God be small enough to fill in the cracks.)