Friday, October 22, 2010

Forever Young

Going back to school is risky business.

You maybe at points in your life felt on track or ahead of the game. Maybe you were settled and you could do such things as plant perennials and acquire a decent piece of furniture. Maybe you had income and even someone to help you spend it.

But in time the appearance of a game dissolved and you realized there were no rules and nothing was anything but a really heavy piece of furniture to move from a place you didn't think you ever had to. Oh, and the people who move in after you rip out your flowers cause they think they are weeds.

And all the King's Men put you back together and while you wander you go backward, wondering where you got lost, trying to find an old trail you used to run down willy nilly.

I picked mine up at the corner I turned left away from law school and accidentally charged down a dead end. Until five years after I first applied, I went to law school.

The trouble and chaos picked up from there.

The summer before I started back I was surrounded by milestones. People I loved moving up and on in life while I hit "rewind." Naturally, this is not by far easy, its an independent struggle that will make you feel very very alone.

I was going back in time in so many ways. I submerged myself with people nearly a whole decade younger than me. I had a gym, locker, cafeteria and a dance in said gym. I was reintroduced to gossip, the rumor mill and four dollar pitcher night. I was up all night reading and adding kid cuddy to my iPod. Going back has been intense.

In so many ways I feel like that line in "Away We Go" when Maya Rudolph's character says "I think we're fuck ups." I have so little of the basic things in my life figured out which is so incredibly ironic given the fact that at the age of 23 I not only owned a house but also three sets of china. I am so random I sometimes work my life out of order.

So often my next three months are in the air. I don't know where I will be living, how I will support myself, what classes I will take, damn - I don't even have a person to list as an emergency contact.

In class we did an exercise to fill out our own health care proxy form, that was awful. Immediately the room spun around me and I almost had to get up to leave and have a nice cry. As if I needed a mid-week reminder that I don't even have a person designated to pull the plug. With the order or hierarchy decided by NYS it would go through three degrees of separation before falling on my siblings to decide. Wow.

In the end I named my old and dear friend Cat, I dropped her an email that read something to the key of "You'll know what to do, I've had a good run. Donate everything burn the rest."

Sorry - morbid. No, going back part-time for your MBA or Masters while working and still progressing in your normal evolving life probably doesn't sound anything like this.

I happen to be seeing a man who decided to go back for a second bachelor's. I think that was a gutsy risk but where it leaves us is a city away from each other with homework and no gas money. Which brings me to my realization.

I have the life of a sixteen year old.

I have a part time job
I go to school full time
I do not own a car
I ride my bike everywhere
I have a messy locker
I sometimes forget my lunch money
I relax by checking my facebook
I only get to hang out with my boyfriend on weekends
If we have gas money and time off from our part-time jobs
I constantly think of my life in the future when I am "grown"
I am jealous of the Daddy's girls with their Visa cards and Christmas presents

On the plus side most people have no idea I am so much older than them at school. Education will help you stay forever young. The down side is knowing you were programmed to take care of people but all you have is yourself.

In about seven weeks I will be halfway through law school. I am thankful everyday that have this opportunity. Its that part in the race where you'd just be thankful to be on the back stretch.

But its not a race, there is no game and there are no rules.

If I can remind myself of that more often I can cherish all the simplicity that is my current life. All I have to do is learn.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Square Roots, Fly Traps, Comet

Insomnia can be an incredible thing. You may lay awake having some of your most life changing revelations and while doing so not seem to mind that the next day you will be exhausted.

I've chosen last night for an example.

Square Roots

While contemplating recent news that Apple had dismissed the approaching wave of 7 inch tablets as being too small I ran the pythagorean theorem in my head to envision the size the smaller version of the iPad. This required me to think of square roots.

There is an interesting and incredible relation of square roots that has always made me smile. Its the simple pattern of the increase between one square to the next, always an odd number in sequence from the jump before. The square of three is nine, the square of four is sixteen. Sixteen minus nine is seven. The square of five is twenty five. Twenty five minus sixteen is nine. The square of six is thirty six. Thirty six minus twenty five is eleven. Seven, Nine, Eleven.

But its the square of seven that finishes the beautiful piece of math that has me enthralled at an approaching milestone. The square of seven is forty nine. Forty nine minus thirty six is thirteen.

When my sister Shannon is forty nine, I will be thirty six and we will be perfect squares in immediate sequence. I can't wait to celebrate such an incredible milestone and I am thrilled that I haven't realized it after the fact.

Fly Traps

My roommate is a nano scientist. While discussing strange flowers his theoretical girlfriend would appreciate my other roommate mentioned venus fly traps. In my head I envisioned a new subculture of artistic food design. An entire catalog of food for fly traps came to mind. Tiny representations of sushi, hamburgers and tacos. All crafted in tiny scale (nanosci) and purchased from a trendy shop in the ultra cool segment of town. Overpriced for the token of avant-garde but necessary for the proper care of one's incredibly hip pet Fly Trap.

Imagine the potential for Vegan Venus Inc. Tofu blended supplements for the eco-conscious carnivorous plant keeper. An entire line of accouterment comes to mind. Recycled pots, composted soil, fair trade seeds, sustainable reclaimed fiber plant cozies.

The irony of taming a man eater, THE must have holiday conversation piece gift.


I then began to think of my water bottle. It is actually a tea infuser. Complete with a small metal strainer at the top should I choose to fill it with loose tea. I was thinking of how to properly clean the strainer. I thought to really get it to shine I should try comet.

Then my brain was horrified. I remembered a story of a father who stored left-over draino in a mountain dew bottle and his son swallowed some. Burned his esophagus and nearly died, later he only was able to have one tube from his mouth and had to decide if he wanted to speak or eat for the rest of his life.

I wondered, how much comet would be caustic enough to burn the epithelial tissues of my throat. Trace amounts from careful cleaning or could I like whiten my teeth with it so long as I was careful enough to rinse?

I dare not try either.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

scatter like light

I was lying on the couch soaking in humidity and contemplating student loan interest rates.

My phone rested on my stomach and I stared out the window until I noticed the light on the opposite wall.

I grew up in a house where crystals were hung in the windows and rainbows played on the walls with flecks of light.

In the front hall opposite me a light danced on the wall. It rose and fell with tiny steady hops.

The phone on my stomach was deflecting late summer evening sun onto the wall following the steady rise and fall of my lungs and the pounding of my heart.

I watched the chaos of my two most important life functions never reaching syncopation.

I rarely ever notice my breath until I am out of it but I like to think my heart and I communicate well.

The light danced and I had a strange idea that if I could, when the long-off time presents itself, I would want to watch it stop this way. Scattered like light with rainbows until still.

Friday, May 14, 2010

a return to my senses

My favorite noise is the wind through the leaves of trees.

Its random and beautiful.

It sounds like the tide. Like the ocean can find me inland.

Its not perfect and consistent like the sea, neither am I.

On my porch I have seen a dozen people cross my block in the twilight to night on bicycles.

Three women rode past. Young and unknown to me. They stopped outside the house next to mine.

Dressed in hats and skirts with leggins, they carried their bikes up to their porch.

About twenty minutes later I heard singing from the their second floor apartment, the three of them belting out the words to The Magetic Zero's "Home."

And that's when it hit me.

I wanted to write. For the first time in months I wanted to write. I wanted to cry.

Now they are singing Cher.

In my head I hear Aly on the phone in the basement. In my heart I hear Meg singing Regina Spektor in the shower. I hear Amber laughing at a repeat of Friends. I hear the familiar footsteps of Jules above me.

And I am homesick.

Now the girls next door are singing Grease.

Two years ago I took the last diet pepsi out of the fridge and drove to DC.

There is little preventing me from doing that right now.

I think I might just do that and call it a night.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A call for Support.

Each day I look forward to the once in a lifetime opportunity to do good with the people I hold dear.

Please take a moment to learn about my family's efforts to bring hope to a small remote village in Guatemala.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

785 Park

There is writing on the windows.

Ian's paperbacks are all over the dining room.

My law books are stacked around the couch.

I suppose someone should dust.

There are plenty of bananas, help yourself.

At any given time if you hear a crash, its just a bike falling over in the front hall.

Baby Dan upstairs sometimes cries and his parents fuss.

I double up yoga mats.

We do the dishes when we are out of spoons.

Ian's on the couch reading novels.

I'm in bed reading law reviews.

The kettle whistles for tea regularly.

There is a pile of running shoes by the door.

Its quiet, peaceful and next to a park.

Not bad for a place to call home.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

milk and bananas

I wrote this last June. Its still pretty completely valid. As a student I often forget to eat all together. If it wasn't for running regularly I would be terrible about remembering to eat. Cooking with myself in mind has been a huge change in my life. I've become self aware of things I never would have noticed otherwise. Everything from exactly how distasteful meat is to me to the wonders of how to make the perfect tofu smoothie.

Food can be the most basic information about ourselves and we all have incredibly different relationships with it. Sometimes we make someone else's priorities in life our own. That's love. You sincerely can't blame anyone for the fact that you love them, you can only be responsible for the fact that you have neglected yourself. I'd like to find the grace and maturity it takes to be authentic when madly in love.

I used to spend hours in a suburban grocery store in Upstate NY. I would wander the isles looking for every ingredient for a perfect dinner. The right barbeque sauce for the ribs, the cream for the homemade macaronni and cheese, the strawberries for the ultimate dessert. I would fill a cart and cook all day, polish the silver, sometimes set out the china.

The fridge was always full and every night I'd cook. Plates and plates of food, tupperware of left-overs and cookbooks with bookmarked pages.

I used to wander around the store with a big coffee and cart stocking up on cans of soup and boxes of cereal and tea, just in case. I'd lug out to my hatch back then into the house or up five flights of stairs to the apartment. Even when he'd dissapear I made dinner, even when I couldn't eat I cooked, cause no matter where he was when he came in he asked what was for dinner. Even when we sat down to eat he'd ask what was for dinner tomorrow. I was always worrying what I was going to make for dinner. I constantly knew what food I had at home.

Now I pick up milk and bananas on my walk home from work. I wonder how many books I could have read, how many languages I could have learned, how many conversations with actual content I could have had in four years of cooking, shopping and worrying.

I can't remember the last time I worried about dinner.

Monday, March 22, 2010

tell me what I want to hear

I pulled the rocking chair into the sun and set a heavy book on my lap.
I could hear finches, robins, song birds, and I swore even an owl.

There is a quartz wind chime slightly clinking from where I hung it up at the corner of the porch.

The chime sounds like fine bone china making odd, inconsistent and tiny toasts to something grand.

In the distance some dogs bark here and there and someone is cutting a lawn.

I rock back and forth and fall asleep.

It is a high spring day and not all of the orchestra has arrived yet.

There is no sound of the wind rustling oak leaves or the mad dash of tiny winged beasts among the azaleas. There is no sound of ice resettling in a sweating glass of water. There is no razor sharp hum of beetles and cicadas. No chance of heat breaking thunder or lightening in March.

In the distance from the other end of the dead end street the traffic of the world passes.

But form the rocking chair it only sounds like waves attacking a beach and in my dream on the porch I never have to leave home.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February Chills

Will we ever know what goes through the head of a song bird nesting on a cold night?

Are they furious at the weather? Are they miserable in their lot in life?

Do they fear they won't see morning?

Do the regret the songs they've sung?

Do they lament about the tree they chose, or the flights they mapped to there?

Is there worry for tomorrow, is there pain, is there a conscious feeling when they go numb?

Does a song bird pray to something powerful?

What flashes through their mind as they panic?

And when sun marks their survival, are they thankful?

Sunday, February 21, 2010


The silk and satin shimmer of the sea met the dark horizon. The full moon washed it all in a palette of indigos on the edge of black with glowing white water.

I sat in the sand facing the sea. Behind me the empty beach stretched hundreds of yards to a hill topped by Nuevo Lobitos. Lights were few and nothing that could detract or diminish the stars in the sky.

In front of me two sets of footsteps vanished into the sea. Peter and Melissa had gone. I saw their dark wetsuits rise in what my eyes would otherwise never know was the tide. They were dots on an iridescent and restless surface. Now and then they were lifted in a moondance on their boards.

I had told them to go in without me. I wanted the beautiful silence to think. But now I was alone on shore. Stepping into the ocean like this, alone, in the dark was terrifying.

Trusting that I can swim, trusting that below the surface there is nothing that would hurt me, trusting that I am safe.

I stood, left my cover, took a breath then ran at a sprint into the breaking cold tide, swimming strong and straight till I could no longer touch the floor.

I used to run the stairs to escape my fear in the depths of the basement.

The sea is so much more comforting than a basement.

Even in the absence of the familiar lighthouses, lobster shacks and hotels - it was still the sea and I was still in love.

I laughed as the ghostly waves pounded in on me. Peruvian tide is relentless, beautiful and free. Where was everyone? How could this opportunity be left for only me?

I swam alone, and lived to savor how wonderful it was...

Friday, February 19, 2010

the gift of the magi

Before I pulled into the driveway at the farm house my phone was ringing. The boy was never a man of many words and quickly asked for a ride.

I dropped off one child and picked up another.

I know he thinks being taller than me makes him grown, but he will always be a darling child to me.

He wants to drive. He's picking out music for the ride. Asking me if I have heard of this or that all while I am trying to read his style, wondering what kind of man he will be.

I ask why he is going to the mall, "to see a movie" he says.

We are a few blocks away and it hits me.

Its Valentine's Day.

I am heading out to meet a friend and am used to being alone, but he is heading to a date.

If I could have stopped time, I would have.

We made a failed attempt at getting flowers from a gas station.

I couldn't let him walk in without something for her.

Then he admitted he had a card.

"Can I see it?" I asked.

He handed over an unsealed envelope.

I recognized it was salvaged from a set of blank artist sketches in my mother's stationary.

The picture on the front was of a boy fishing.

This is what I know was true. This kid, whom I watched grow up, had exactly twenty-six dollars to his name, he was an hour late to his first Valentine's Day date cause no one could give him a ride, he had no gift, and he was still smiling and kind without a hair standing up in worry.

I opened the card wishing I had anything to give him to make it up to this girl for having to wait for him. How could he choose a card with a boy fishing on it?

In his handwriting (think about it, can you recognize anyone's handwriting anymore? I love my nephew and still this was the first I had seen his adult handwriting) he neatly and simply said;

"I can't believe I caught you! Happy Valentines Day. Love, Pat."

I was thrilled. Laughing I kissed his cheek and pushed him from the car. When he ran inside I turned the corner then put the car in park. I tapped the tears from my eyes and drove to dinner.

I remember waiting for hours for Travis to find a ride so we could walk around the mall broke.

I was realizing how everyone told us we didn't know what love was. We were too young to get it. I thought then, and know now - they were wrong.

When we couldn't give gifts we had to actually tell each other how we felt. We couldn't afford diversions and had to spend time together.

I honestly don't know if I'll ever meet anyone as interesting as I did when I was a teenager. The love notes, the handmade gifts, the stolen sweatshirts.

I was spoiled with the right attention and now my standards are unusually high.

Never forget what you learned at sixteen.

an attic with the light left on

Like a pair of moths.

What we have in common is how incredibly common we are.

Neither of us will ever be mistaken for a butterfly.

We'd never even try that mimicry.

But while you've found a nice batch of wool coats in which to reside.

I keep singeing my wings chasing dreams of bright light.

And we're both quite pleased with ourselves.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Five Minutes


I am constantly wondering what goes on in people's heads. If in a situation where a group needs to come to a consensus, I prefer learning what everyone else wants. I know what I want, no mystery there, I'd rather have a peak at other thoughts.

Being intrigued and fascinated is one of life's greatest highs. The dearest compliment I have is to wish I had five minutes in a friend's head.

And you just don't get that while intoxicated, and everyone knows a sober head has its wits about it and is long since grown expert at preventing intrusion.

If you are lucky, people grace you with a touch of their creativity and with it is a rare invitation. A glimpse behind the curtain at the magic in someone part of your life.

This is that window.

Though - surely, that is not what they may have thought I saw it as.

And to think, it was just a silly little exercise in writing class.

A Memo to the Court In re Goldilocks.

By S.L.H.-B. and R.A.P.

Goldilocks, a helpless infant child, lost and abandoned, stumbled upon an oasis. Scared and not knowing where to turn she entered the deserted shanty looking for safety, warmth and a compassionate mother figure.

Famished and weary she did the only thing a reasonably prudent person would to survive. She ate and slept in desperation.

In the midst of tending to her personal needs after securing her life from her tremendous struggle, she awoke to the sight of three deranged bears hovering over her. Without time to scream, the bears began devouring her.

This innocent girl’s pretty white dress was stained by the dark ruby red of her blood. To her chagrin the skin of her shoulder was peeled off like that of a Clementine, exposing the inner workings of a girl with a would be bright future.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

judgment as a matter of law

as we passed in the doorway one said to the other
"Is that cashmere?"
I was handed half a cup of beer from a keg

The cup seemed normal, so did the music

But he was wearing cashmere and pleated pants

to a kegger.

clothes mean nothing to me.

as for the ensemble,

had his arrogance been instead a fedora

I could have loved him.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"My Nature Just Changes" - J. Hendrix

I'm sitting in Miraflores, a part of Lima Peru known to be a gringo's home away from home. I'm on my way home.

Thanks to everyone for spending 2009 with me on this blog. I'm about to start a second year of it and hope it will be as wonderful a year as 2009 was.

A little review:


Ran, a lot
Moved, no less than three times. Sigh.
Started Law School
My family got bigger
My friends made mini versions of themselves, amazing.
Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, France, Turkey, Greece, Peru, Ecuador....
Gave up my car
Generally enjoyed life.

2010 will be a year on the move like 2009. I mean I've already hiked up to Machu Picchu, so its off to a good start.

This year I approach a new decade in my life and I am proud of the way I've come... no cartographer could chart it, but it seems to suit me fine.

I board a plane tomorrow to get back to the address on my checks. I hope to be home by the end of 2010. Globe trotting wise my next trip will be in the company of my family to Guatemala in July. I am truly looking forward to that and it is the most important event on my horizon.

I am a little overwhelmed right now. I can tell now why last year I wasn't able to write much of anything in January. Its such a jumble of emotions and processing one year to the next. I can't muster a single flame in my head.

I was awake last week heavy with the urge to write, but I had no way at the time. The thought was about meeting people when traveling. It was a strange track of musings just surrounding the chance friendships made when nothing around you is of you at all. Meeting new faces from far away when nothing between you is stable or indicative of anything normal to the other.

You only can know what is plain to see, you don't get the chance to fill in the blanks of a person by their job, home, town, other friends. When you meet someone living out of a suitcase while you are living out of a suitcase its a different experience. I think I prefer it. You need to talk to paint the picture and so much more is left to the imagination and so much less, if nothing, can be left to subconscious profiling in situ. Out of our element I think we are more real. When nothing is certain I think its more sincere.

I am sure something about that will end up here, eventually.

For now I just need to get used to writing 2010.

I'll still be running, I think two marathons this year. I have a few more plans for other healthy improvements that I think will work their ways into my life pretty naturally, they have to or they won't come at all.

I will let you know how it goes, in my cryptic way evident here for the world to see. If a couple good things feel good a few more good things might feel great.

From the lapping waves of the pacific to the slush and snow covered streets of NY - change is my only constant.