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When’s the last time you spent 45 minutes or so just sitting on the grass in the backyard watching the birds fly by?

If you were able to name even one time – you’re one ahead of me.


On wings.

There were blue jays, of course, and goldfinches, and mourning doves calling, calling, calling. A crow. Just one. And red-winged blackbirds. Chickadees. A nuthatch at the feeder. One vivid scarlet flash in the green leaves of the tree out back was a cardinal that got away from my camera. Again.

A moment or two later and a whoosh of much larger wings rushed over my head – a hawk – there just a minute and off again.

Was it ever really there at all?

But the blue birds!

They’re nesting out behind the neighbor’s trampoline in a simple, wooden box mounted on a rusty, iron pole. In and out, around and back, flying in bursts and sudden sprints. First up in the tree, then down on the lawn, and one more swift shot across the yard on wings so blue, I don’t quite believe they’re real.

So there I sat – a little worried about ticks – but not much else. Me and a chipmunk sharing a sit-down on some green grass out back.  Now that chipmunk, he talked the whole time, but not me.

I listened.

There’s plenty of room out there in the trees, and all those birds sure were busy.

For once though – I was not.



A Writer’s Notebook

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I have a thing for notebooks. A thing as in a collection. A habit. A love.

As many as I have, I write in all of them – except for the pink leatherette notebook I was given for Valentine’s Day. It’s a self-discipline moment. I’m saving it. Savoring it. Too many notebooks are never enough, and it’s best to have one or two waiting offstage.

All of these notebooks store the moments of me. My need for reflection. The quotes I collect to guide me, my children, and my students. Dates, ideas, and list upon list. My life in large, flowing cursive. Black ink. Who I am. What I do. Outlined in brief, bulleted format.

There’s a lot of freedom in line by line living, as confining as it may appear. I’ve tried those unlined notebooks and sketchbooks too, but found all that white space a little overwhelming. I love a fresh, clean page but also need a place to begin. Top left, line one.

It would appear – despite the random, willy-nilly nature of my entries and my notebooks’ often schizophrenic purpose, that I need a minimum of structure. Straight lines to offset the curves of my days, the balance achieved by staying within the lines.

And most days I do. Stay within the lines, I mean.

But sooner or later boredom can and does overcome my every attempt to stay organized and up-to-the-minute with my own life. I mentally and creatively wander off. Looking back through the days, I see that May 7th was one of those days and the only one since February 26th. My thoughts were too big or too abstract or too fragmented for the lines to tether them that day.

I wrote in big, block letters on May 7th. Words like R E S E T and D I S C O V E R Y. And I’m not really a hearts and butterflies kind of girl, but there on the pages of May 7th is evidence that apparently I am indeed a hearts and butterflies kind of girl. Other mind wanderings that day include the word E N E R G Y – in some sort of tilted script as though the word itself had more energy than I did that day – and a random reference to a “driving camper.”

I dream about driving cross country someday.

So my notebook then is the one, single place that’s pretty much all about me. Looking at my notebooks, I see  I’m both dreamer and doer. I’m a lister, record-keeper, and counter. I’m a philosopher, a thinker, a peace-seeker. I’m a writer.

I puzzle it out. Weigh options. Name my next direction.

I hope.




Fake It ‘Til You Find It

Just when I think I know where my story’s going, some completely unexpected plot twist arrives all uppity and unannounced. Like I should have known or could’ve guessed.

So I sit back and let life settle.

And realize for the nine hundredth time that the words in-control and life should never be used in the same sentence. At least not any sentence I’m writing.

Every list I’ve written, every single promise I’ve made to myself, and every prayer I’ve offered is an attempt by me to control the uncontrollable. Life really is the ultimate wild animal, unpredictable and unwilling to be tamed.

It’s been a long week of rainy days, so it’s been hard to find mood-lifters around here. Dismal. Bleak. Grey. Even dank  Dreary adjectives to write, much less live.

Maybe that’s what now qualifies me as a good judge of hope-boosters.

I bring you now an emergency list of fake-it-til-you-find-it hope:.

This lotion: 

Archipelago Botanicals

Hope from a pump. Minty, fresh, cool. A sensory soul food. Best after hot baths.

A new toothbrush:


Tuesday was dentist day and clearly there’s hope in just leaving there with only an appointment for your next six-month cleaning. But I upped the ante this time around and left with a new toothbrush too. It was about $30 cheaper than the store and I got a mail-in rebate for $20 too.

This Pro-5000 is Bluetooth – which I find hilarious given my sometimes weird sense of humor – so apparently my toothbrush is able to talk to my Iphone. Or maybe Siri?However, since I don’t want anyone talking about my teeth, not even my hygienist, I will not be using that feature. Still, this baby gives an invigorating little zip to my morning routine.

Spring clothes:

I wore THIS flouncy maxi dress in Jamaica. Could’ve slept in it. That comfy.

The Revenant:

Fox Movies

Pretty much every frame of this flick will make you feel grateful for the life you’ve got.

Rain or no rain, plot twist and all… my life is not Hugh Glass’s life. Even DiCaprio must’ve been more cold, wet, and cranky than I’ve been. Yikes. Out on cable now. For 5.99 and a night at home, you too can feel better about your life in the morning.

And one last thing: I looked up the definition for the word revenant because I had no idea what it meant.

A noun, of course, a revenant is a a person who has returned.

Like me.