Sunday, August 17, 2014

Living Abroad

Everything feels half-hearted, because I'm here with half my heart.

Roughly one year ago, my boyfriend and I began talking about the possibility of moving to another country to teach. We're both teachers, and we'd both reached a point of malaise in our careers that told us that if we didn't get out soon, we wouldn't be worth much as teachers.

So we started searching for a way out of teaching in the US. It didn't take much to find South Korea. Boasting a bustling economy and the third best school system in the world, we found a number of employment opportunities for English teachers in Seoul. We applied, and the short of it, we both got hired to teach in elementary schools within the city.

The only hitch, for me, is that I have to spend two months apart from my sixteen-year-old daughter as I get set up with training and an apartment here in Seoul.

Now, I've been a single mom for a long time -- fourteen years, just about -- and my daughter and I have a unique relationship. It takes an especially resilient and adventurous adolescent to follow her mother halfway across the world, giving up her circle of friends, tight-knit extended family, and traditional high school experience in the bargain. Part of me thinks this scheme is insane at best, to wrench my daughter from her roots and transplant her in a foreign country, but the rest of me thinks that this is the experience of a lifetime that will broaden her horizons in incalculable ways.

For her part, she goes back and forth. She's registered for online school through Texas Tech University Online. She's moved into my parents' house until she can join us in November, along with our cat, Dexter. She's been a tremendously flexible person through all of this, and I'm now here, in Seoul.

For the past week, we have explored this mash-up of a city, practicing our Hangeul and climbing more mountain trails than we ever did in Colorado. My boyfriend has been amazing. Though he's new to all of this travel business, he walks around this city like Anthony Bourdain. He knows where we're going. He has a plan for how to get there. He's been a comforting companion, and I've been overwhelmed. Everything feels surreal, like I'm only halfway here. Then I think, of course everything feels half-hearted. I'm here with half my heart.

When my daughter arrives in November, the real exploration will begin. In the meantime, I'm going to figure out the subways, the buses, the Wi-Fi, our phones. I'll be prepared. In the meantime, I'll miss her. I'll miss her very much.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Poem A Day, 024

024 Weight

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Tell It to the (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles include: “Tell It to the Hand,” “Tell It to the Judge,” “Tell It to the Six-Foot Bunny Rabbit,” and so on.

So I didn't like this prompt. I decided to work on some poems from 2012, when I failed to make the Poem A Day challenge. This was the eighth day from that year, and the final one. It was a difficult poem to write, but important as I began to cut ties to harmful relationships in an effort to start something healthy and new. I wrote poems about my repeating exes that year, but never published them. This is one. I'll post at least one other pretty soon.


in us against
the weight of years,
against the pull of the
time you spent with her.

had the
habits and rituals
of a life that began
in your shared youth.

I held out
only comfort
and love without
guilt or belittlement,
without any expectation.

I hoped
it would be
enough for us,
this small stone
for us to build upon.

I thought that in choosing,
you would choose me.
I didn’t calculate
the weight
of time


Poem A Day, 023

place holder

Poem A Day, 022

Today is a Tuesday, and you know what that means: Two for Tuesday Prompts! Write one, write the other, and/or write both!

Write an optimistic poem. The glass is half full.
Write a pessimistic poem. The glass is half empty.

This is more of a pessimistic poem, about frustration over a five-year relationship that never went where I wanted it to go.

Blank Canvas

Somewhere between coffee cup
and the sink she realizes
He’s at it again:
sifting through messages.
The reason they’re
at his apartment,
drinking his weak coffee,
using his sour towels,
curling into his hard bed.

She rinses the cup,
listens to him hum
some foreign lullaby,
one his mother maybe
sang to him?
His mother he
never mentions.
Volumes of words on
economy and currency exchange.
Talks and says nothing,
his voice a blank canvas,
a sham in the MoMA
and everyone is buying.

She dries the mug,
turns it over and over
in her hands.
Aging hands,
she thinks.
He’s typing now,
and she knows,
today their time is done.
The sheets still
bear their warmth,
the creases like
meringues whipped stiff
the night before,
now stale.

The cup clean in her hands,
she returns it to the cabinet.
Without a sound,
She toes into her shoes,
slides into her blouse
and slips out
without a word
like she was


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Poem A Day, 021

For today’s prompt, write a “back to basics” poem. For me, back to the basics means jumping to the fundamentals. Maybe it’s me re-learning (or practicing) fundamentals–like running or writing–but it could also be a child learning how to tie his shoestrings, which can be a unique experience for both the child and the adult trying to give instructions and advice. Back to basics could also be re-setting a state of mind or getting back into a routine. In a way, spring is a season that gets back to the basics.

I'm behind again on Poem A Day, but this one will fit for the 21st. It's Back to Basics for me because it has a rhyme scheme and meter, so yeah... old school! For all of my librarian friends, I'm sorry. I was traumatized by the librarian at Vidor High School, though I don't even remember her name.

The Truth About Books

The truth is, I don't love libraries
Though I'm seldom without a good book.
A strange confession
in my profession,
And it probably bears a close look.

The truth is that libraries scare me.
I'm embarrassed by how slow I read.
Now like my brother
or any other
who devour whole books with such speed.

I likewise shrank from librarians
who ruled us with judgmental chagrin
a finger on lips
a harsh whispered hiss
So I rarely went back again.

A book is a world I crawl in to.
I like to get lost in its pages
Wrapped up within worlds
A story unfurls
in all its archetypal stages.

My heart envelopes each character.
I obsess over themes and theories.
So I, over time,
accrued many fines
enough to buy the whole series.

So now I'm devoted to bookstores.
I can peruse with impunity.
I order online,
without fear or fines,
to restore my continuity.
When you own a book, it's a treasure
You can dog ear or highlight a verse
when it makes you cry,
you can scribble, “WHY?”
or scrawl out a vehement curse.

Because books should be interactive,
we should embrace the soul of a text,
Despise the writer?
Call her a blighter,
Then pick up to read what comes next.

You can tell when a book is cherished
by cracks and creases on its spine,
so never judge me
and never charge me
for not returning a book on time.

The truth is, I battle with shyness
and for me, my books were an escape
the day-to-day fears
of bullies and tears –
only books could make me feel safe.

So now to my family, I'm grateful
for their devotion to written words.
A book is a gift,
a spiritual life
with the plentiful passions they stir.

I tell you, it makes no difference
if it's bound or a Kindle or Nook.
Classic, hardback, or new
Beaten, battered, or used,

As long as we give kids our books.  

Poem A Day, 020

Place holder... poem to come later.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Poem A Day, 019

For today’s prompt, pick a color, make the color the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. You can make your poem black, white, red, purple, turquoise, puce, or whatever your heart desires. And the subject of your poem can cover any topic–as long as you’ve plugged a color into the title. Let’s do this!

Of course, I went a bit off prompt. I wanted to play with the condition of synesthesia, since Katrina and I both have it to a degree. We associate colors, scents, tastes, and feelings with certain words or ideas.


Like the color of an itch
like the scent of a song
like the taste of betrayal
when everything goes wrong

A yellow word
fills up my mind
exhaling and exhaling
a balloon filled with wasps
caution and worry
laced with
like the insight
of my mind

Like the color of an insult
like the scent of your fright
like the taste of disappointment
like your decisions of tonight

A gray word
inside my palm
twirling and swirling
a tempest filled with knives
wishes and regrets
laced with
sugar cane
like the promise
of my pain

like the color of a mindcrime
like the scent of losing hope
like the taste of dying dreams
when you know that you're alone

Poem A Day, 018

018 Weather

For today’s prompt, write a weather poem. A weather poem can be a poem about a hurricane or tornado; it can be a poem about the weatherperson; it can be a poem about forgetting an umbrella on a rainy day; it can be big; it can be small; etc.


Let your lips be the lightning
tearing through the skin

Let your fingertips be the rain
whispering down my spine

Let your eyes be the hurricane
bearing down into my heart

Let your voice be the thunder
breaking me apart

Let our bodies be the storm
Let our words be ripped away
Let us entwine together
Let it carry us away

Friday, April 18, 2014

Poem A Day, 017

Poem A Day, Day 17

Yesterday's prompt was a pop culture poem. I apologize beforehand for the parody poem I'm about to submit, but I'm not sorry. If you know Spongebob and the B-52s, you'll understand.

Crab Shack

If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says
 "15 miles to the
Crab Shack"
Crab Shack, yeah, yeah

Ms. Puff:
 I'm headin' down the Atlantis highway
 Lookin' for the patty getaway
 Headed for the patty getaway

Mr. Krabs:
I got me a car, it's as big as a whale
 And we're headin' on down to the Crab Shack
 I got me a Stingray, it seats about 20
 So hurry up and bring your jukebox money

The Krusty Krab is a little old place where we can get together
 Crab Shack, baby (x3)
 (Crabs, baby, that's where it's at)

Sign says (woo) "Stay away, fools"
 'Cause crabs rule at the Crab Shack

 Well, it's set way back in Jellyfish Fields
 Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back
 Patties on the fry grill
 Patties on the spatula
 Patties at the front door
 Patties on my forehead

 The Krusty Krab is a little old place where we can get together
 Crab Shack, baby
 Crab Shack, that's where it's at
 Crab Shack, that's where it's at

 Flappin' and a-flippin'
 Dancin' and a-prancin'
 Won't stop for nothin'
 'Cause it's hot as an oven
 The whole shack shimmies
  The whole shack shimmies when everybody's
 Movin' around and around and around and around

 Everybody's movin', everybody's groovin', baby
 Folks linin' up outside just to get down
 Everybody's movin', everybody's groovin', baby
 Funky little shack
 Krabby Patty shack

Mr. Krabs:
Hop in my Stingray, it's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail
 I got me a car, like, it seats about 20
 So come on and bring your Patty money

Sandy and Squidward, alternatively:
 Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Knock a little louder, baby
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
 I can't hear you
 Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
 Knock a little louder, will you?
 Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
 I can't hear you

 Your what?

 Tin roof, Krusted

 Crab Shack, baby, Crab Shack
 Crab Shack, baby, Crab Shack (Crabs, baby, that's where it's at, yeah)
 Crab Shack, baby, Crab Shack (Crabs, baby, that's where it's at)
 Crabs, baby, Crab Shack
 Flappin' and a-flippin'
 Dancin' and a-prancin'
 At the Crab Shack

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Poem A Day, 016

Poem A Day, Day 16

For today’s prompt, write an elegy. An elegy doesn’t have specific formal rules. Rather, it’s a poem for someone who has died. In fact, elegies are defined as “love poems for the dead” in John Drury’s The Poetry Dictionary. Of course, we’re all poets here, which means everything can be bent. So yes, it’s perfectly fine if you take this another direction–for instance, I once wrote an elegy for card catalogs. Have at it!

Channeling my inner Poe, four interlocking haikus:


Violet velvet
curtains brush aside, reveals
naught but a dead bird

caged within a cage
bleached white bars interwoven
with raven black hair

long ago she slept
while the angels sang her name
eternal prison

and I, the warden,
will watch over her repose
never will she fly

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Poem A Day, 015

Poem A Day, Day 15
For today’s prompt, we actually have a Two-for-Tuesday prompt:
  • Write a love poem. Love, it’s such a big 4-letter word that can mean so much to so many for a variety of interpretations. Friendly love, sexual love, dorky love, all-encompassing love, jealous love, anxious love, love beaten with a baseball bat, hot love, big love, blues love, greeting card love, forgiving love, greedy love, love in a music video, and so on and so forth.
  • Write an anti-love poem. Well, kinda like love, but take it back the other way.

Little things I love – A list

Ellipses …
Feeding deer and birds and ducks and squirrels
Cat noses
Her eyes that are the same color as the San Marcos River
Talking about books
Fanfic reviews
Coffee and music on the patio
Waking up to the sound of rain
Em dashes
Sunlight on wet pavement
The smell of earth after rain (petrichor)
Blue Daze flowers
Shooting stars
Sitting in showers
Hotel beds
Buttered popcorn
Wind chimes
Seeing hawks in flight
The time before the movie starts in the theatre
Stamps in my passport
The shape of his lips
Meteor showers
Chocolate chip cookies, fresh baked
Swimming with my eyes open
Twinkle lights

Ellipses ...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Poem A Day, 014

Poem A Day, Day 14

Today's prompt was to write an "If I were (blank)" poem. I started with that, but it morphed into this. And I'm pretty happy about it.

Had we been

Had I been born
In ancient Greece
Would we have found
Each other?

Would our souls reach
Toward one another

Lifetime after lifetime,
From Provence to Allegheny
From Bali to Marseilles?

In one life, we are twins
Peddling a bicycle through
A field of lavender,
Mountains behind us
And clouds parting
To reveal cool spring sun.

You are the boy
I am the girl
Playing cards
In the spokes
Spin round and round
And round

In one life, you’re the mother
Passing a slice of toast while
A spate of rain,
Staccatos on windows
And cats yowling
To let them come inside.

You are the mother
I am the child
Sipping tea
In the kitchen
Talking round and round
And round

In one life, you’re my friend
Twisting a ring upon your hand
A cup of coffee,
A plate of crumbs
And you need a way
To get out of town.

You are the woman
And so I am
Swallowing tears
In the halflight
Turning round and round
And round

Had we been born
In another time
We would find
Each other

My soul would reach
Toward yours

Lifetime after lifetime,
From Galveston to Boston
From London to Belfast
Round and round
And round and round

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Poem A Day, 013

Today's prompt is to write a sestina. I've attempted a sestina before, so when I read today's prompt, I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Here's my poem instead - a short, simple, non-insanity inducing poem about me trying to maintain a connection.


open a text
the cursor blinks
what to say
what to say?

flash, flash, flash...
say something

“I miss you.”

And then


Poem A Day, 012

For today’s prompt, write a city poem. The poem can take place in a city, can remember the city (in a general sense), be an ode to a specific city, or well, you should know the drill by now. City poem: Write it!


The night was wide with moonlight
Great cake slices of whiteness
Wedged between slips of grass
And sidewalk

Tiptoe traipsing,
We tread our way through
swathes of sounds
a mosaic of Tejano
and bass thump
and techno

Stuffed between
mingling scents of
Mountain Laurel laced
with cumin
and sawdust
and flour

It used to be here
There used to be 32
mercury vapor
Cutting the night
into cake shapes

Now here we stand
in the shadow
flashblind from the future
hands cupped around

the past

Poem A Day, 011


Minds of men
Brought forth this nation
Their minds and hearts

When ideals met
Their passions were

In crucibles
The seeds were sewn
Events and plots

To turn the soil
From fallow ground
Into our souls


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Poem A Day, 008


A blank page
you marked me
I folded
in your gentle
coaxing fingers
an origami bloom
sheltered safe
in silent secret shade

Until my soft
whispered confession
until I opened
in your palm,
I thought
I marked you

Faultless fingers,
A boy at play,
you tore the furling petals
and tossed them away

And here I lay
windswept, unsafe
marked as I am
and broken.

you walked away
I left no mark
on you

Monday, April 7, 2014

Poem A Day, 006

A visual response for my night poem.

Poem A Day, 007

I skipped six for now, because I haven’t written a night poem yet…

Here’s my self portrait poem, which goes with our class symbolism assignment, in which we create a personal mandala. The poem and mandala symbolically represents 14 aspects of our personalities.


Sun Image:
 Outwardly, I am like a cat, because like at cat, I am independent and aloof.
 Outwardly, I am like an iris, because like an iris, I am resilient and adaptable.
 Outwardly, I am like the color blue, because like blue, I am calm and carefree.
 Outwardly, I am like a lightning bolt, because like a lightning bolt, I can be scattered and energetic.
 Outwardly, I am like the number 28, because like 28, I am as dependable as the lunar cycle.
 Outwardly, I am like an opal, because like an opal, I have a deep fire of hope.
 Outwardly, I am like water, because like water, I am creative and intuitive.

Shadow Image:
 Inwardly, I am like a hawk, because like a hawk, I am loyal to my loved ones.
 Inwardly, I am like a dogwood, because like a dogwood, I am sensitive and fragile with life gets rough.
 Inwardly, I am like gold, because like gold, I feel I must protect the valuable part of my heart.
 Inwardly, I am like a spiral, because like a spiral, I search for spiritual meaning.
 Inwardly, I am like the number seven, because like seven, I am lucky, unique, and exciting.
 Inwardly, I am like a moonstone, because like a moonstone, I am secretive about my fears.
 Inwardly, I am like a fire, because like a fire, my passions can be all-consuming.

Poem A Day, 005

A little behind, and off-prompt again, this is my offering for Saturday.

A little behind, and off-prompt again, this is my offering for Saturday.


The pattern emerges:
 a microscopic microcosm
 Strands of protein huddle close
 a joyful wriggle,
 then like a child’s game,
 they rend apart
 holding onto threads until
 the wall comes down
 separating one into two,
 whole and different
 wholly removed.

And so I wonder,
 does the pattern repeat?
 Parent and child huddle close,
 then tottering on wobbling legs,
 holding hands until fingertips
 brush apart until
 life lowers a veil
 and two lives divide,
 whole and separate and
 wholly different.

Is it a function of survival,
 this distancing?
 Or encoded in our cells?
 Do we brace away from
 one day’s goodbye?
 Do we push away on purpose,
 in breathless exploration
 or to protect ourselves from loss,
 even in our cells,
 that one day,
 we will do the same,
 that we will split apart
 and float away?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Poem A Day, 004

A pirate villanelle Pirate A windswept night, a burning sea The ship tossed high on tempest tide A pirate's life the life for me All worthy hands on bended knee Open ocean, no place to hide A windswept night, a swirling sea Unfolding shores spread out to see I left my home, I left my bride A pirate's life the life for me A bloated corpse calls out to me His swollen mouth grins far too wide A windswept night, a salty sea We'll skim the waves eternally In Aidenn's breast we will confide A pirate's life the life for me In m'dear love's arms I long to be I tilled the sails until I died A pirate's life the life for me Til windswept night on salty sea

Poem A Day, 003

To: From: Re: Life Hey! I’m here to interest you In an exciting offer Don’t click the SPAM button, This is important! You need to know Not everything that flashes Deserves your attention All those shiny objects— Shoes that cost as much as plane tickets Hair products that make your hair More reflective than your conscience— Those things are traps As much as treasures. Oh, I get it. What do I know? I’m just ones and zeros. But IRL, I’m trying to reach you Amidst Photoshopped glam And pop-ups for Viagra And your BFFs Instagrammed boobshots (srsly, she needs to put some clothes on) But I’m trying to tell you There’s a world beyond cyberspace A world beyond Gucci and Prada And Jordan’s and Nike I’m trying to tell you that Labels are cages Labels are limits Labels are lies Don’t let yourself get bound up By a four-inch screen Live your life in all its dimensions. ROFL. Literally. Love, Me

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Poem A Day, 002

Today's prompt was a voyage poem, so I wrote a rambling, rhyming steampunk poem:

Away, Away

She in her corset, fanning her face
Stiff muslin shoulders, gloves of white lace
About her knees, the taffeta storms
I rub her frail fingers to keep them warm

Me, dressed in pleats and a cummerbund.
Me, with notions of having some fun
She, with her hair in tortoiseshell combs
She with a hope to try the unknown

Unfurling song, the calliope,
Midway scents of fried chips and honey.
On candy striped legs, ponies prance by.
Up ahead, something catches her eye.

Steam unspools from a gleaming smokestack
A silver bench rests on a short track
The engines' rhythm a steady thrum,
a resonant pulse, a heartbeats' hum

A barker smiling a tightwire smile
Greets us and says, “Stop in for a while.”
He enfolds us in the harness lash,
then sets the bend on the track with a clash.

The lady gasps as she takes my hand.
(This is going much better than planned.)
“Your first time?” he asks, his eyes alight.
Her eyes answer him with sheer delight.

A tip of his hat, he bids, “So long!”
A twist of a crank and
We soar skyward, the Lady and I
Her hand in mine, together we fly.

My tie a tongue, happily lapping.
My waistcoat wings are wildly flapping.
Her whalebone bodice splits at its seam.
Suddenly, she is as free as a dream.

Flutter of skirts and lolling of limbs,
Like ships on the sea, soundless we skim.
A kaleidoscope of wheeling light,
We soar through the air, all day and all night

Her hand in mine, and mine in hers
the breeze in her loosened tendrils stir
Says she, “These new dreams that we have found,

May they last always and never come down.”

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Poem A Day: 001


As always, it's a mistake
to assume
that anything will last

cold hands reach for cold hands
“I'll see you.”
I know I won't.

As dangerous a game:
almost and sometimes.

Where does forever go?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Making Progress

Today I made it to one of my savings goals. I got some help on two fronts for freelance writing, and a bonus from school. It's strange, but it seems that a lot of things are helping me make these goals. It's as though it's meant to be.

I really hope it's meant to be.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


So I made it today: no gluten! Also, I ran 4.5 miles and got my fingerprints done for my overseas employment background check.

I also finished book 4 out of 50 for the year. I'm feeling pretty good!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Not gluten free

Not by a long shot. But we ate well - Greek meatloaf tonight, with zucchini, onions, and tomatoes, and carrots with basil. Added some sweet red wine - perfect!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hiatus on working out has officially ended

So... I took a really long hiatus from working out, due to winter. I also have not run since December 1st. It's so cold outside right now – 19 degrees this morning – and I know that traditionally, I don't exercise during the winter months. But I'm going to resume tonight.

My goal for January is to work out four times and run four times. If I manage to make my goal, I will get a movie night.

Here's my work out for tonight:

Three sets of:
30 Jumping Jacks
20 body weight squats
10 push ups
20 walking lunges
20 ab bicycles
10 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug)
15 second plank
30 Jumping Jacks

Gluten-Free, not Paleo yet...

Chobani blueberry yogurt
1/4 cup walnuts

Right now, we're focusing on eliminating wheat and gluten. We'll worry about dairy soon.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Doctor

We wrote imitation poems based on Jack Prelutsky's The Witch. My students did a whole range of beautiful poems, everything from comedy to tragedy to poems about food (Los Tacos, yes!). This one is mine.

The Doctor

The TARDIS slips, time vortex trips
through all of time and space
The Doctor lies but never dies
and wears a changing face

The Doctor flies through starry skies
His companion is Rose
With Captain Jack, who rarely lacks
A host of evil foes

The Daleks say "Exterminate."
With Angels just don't blink
The Sontarans are on the run
The Doctor's yells "Just think!"

Geronimo or Allons-y!
He's always leaping in
to set to right, to fight the fight
He doesn't always win

For though he's odd, this lonely god
will burn like fire and ice
Unless he finds some peace of mind
he'll pay a weighty price

Back to the beginning, Paleo style

I knew we were onto something when my daughter, 15, said, "I miss eating Paleo. I like the way I feel when we're eating well."

So we begin anew today:

Half cup walnuts
Half sweet potato
One banana
2 cups coffee (tea for her)
1 tbsp honey

For lunch, we're having Indian, which will include rice. For this, I must remind ourselves that we can transition slowly.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

#36 from the Lifetime List

Sing Karaoke
"Just Like Heaven" by The Cure
Ego's Austin

Gluten-Free, Day Three

Fail! I ate veggie pakoras - not gluten-free.

So, I'm starting again tomorrow.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Gluten-Free, Day Two

Well, I managed gluten free, but I ate french fries and popcorn.

Not. Good.

Starry Night

One of our writing prompts last semester was to look at Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night and write a descriptive narrative as though you were witnessing a scene.

I always write with my students, but I have six classes, so usually I try to vary up my approach in each class. This poem was written with my eighth period class after I had tested out different moods, characters, and time frames for the painting.

I like this one the best:

Starry Night

Limbic system
spangling gangleon
alight in
synaptic fury
in brilliant
twisting chaos

Burn out
my retinas
score my heart
in swirling

at night
the fuse
to let it all go
it spins
it twins
a diaphany
of plasma spasms
leaping chasms
and missing abysses
to frantic blisses
of cosmic kisses
and dancing a
half mad
all curvish
each blindly
kindly entwining

filaments feeling
each one
sparking embers
always remembered
that first
bursting truth

of his lips
on mine
infinitely defined
amid the sublime
and all that's divine
like a star
at its birth
all joy and all mirth
this starlight infusion
this fiery confusion
that settles upon
us and finally
brings us
to the

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gluten-Free, Day One

All I want is pasta and garlic bread.

A Selfie to Start the New Year

New Year's Resolutions 2014: Simplify

Before going into the goal setting business for the new year, it's always good to look back at the year past for perspective. 2013 burst at the seams. It was complicated. It was messy. I did things that scared the frell out of me. It set things in motion that will change our lives forever.

I keep trying to look at 2013 objectively, trying to find simple phrases to sum it up, but it is not working. The biggest news is that I fell in love. We started dating one year ago New Year's Day, and I resisted falling the way a Gladiator would fend off an onslaught of lions. It didn't work, and I fell. As with an onslaught of lions, I got gnawed upon along the way. You can't fall in love and remain unscathed.

In March of last year, in the throes of being in love, I realized that I needed to make some choices if I wanted to move forward with this new and important relationship. I went through my phone and Facebook to purge all the contact information for every person who ever broke my heart. I'd been trapped in the Phantom Ex loop with too many guys for too long, and it was time to put an end to it. I did, and I feel better. Again, it felt complicated and painful, but it's not really. It's about simplifying.

Maybe that should be the focus this year: Simplify. I'll keep that in mind as I'm writing this year's goals.

Other things that happened this past year: We lost our lovely Beast kitty to cancer. Matt and I held him in our arms until he drew his last breath. Beast purred until the moment his heart stopped, leaving this life as he lived it, a giver of love and comfort. Katrina and I traveled to Europe and Big Bend, and got paid for our photography and the story of our trips. My new boyfriend and I jumped out of a plane, climbed mountains, kayaked rivers, and drove all over the state of Colorado. I said goodbye to the best group of students I've ever taught. My first group of students, including my amazing student teacher, graduated from high school.

Professionally, things are complicated. I'm unhappy with the state of our education system. I love to teach, I love my students, but I feel that I'm not really teaching. More and more, I'm a remedial reading teacher, when my focus in eighth grade should be writing and literature. It's too much to illuminate here because I could get seriously bogged down. I will say that Katrina told me in October that she feels if I don't change professions soon, she feels this one will kill me. Not literally kill me, she said, but spiritually. My daughter is ever-astute.

Which brings me to another passion, one I've neglected in 2013. I wrote almost nothing all year. Until August, when I wrote a travel article about cruising the Mediterranean, I had written perilously little. No poems for Poem A Day, no NaNoWriMo, no fanfiction, nothing. My novel languished untouched. Finally, in December, I wrote two chapters on The Single (Dating) Mom and another travel article about Big Bend. This is definitely something I need to remedy in 2014.

Enough, then, with the review; let me get down to business. Simplify, dammit! Simplify.

Personal Resolutions

Travel – We rocked on this goal. We wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise, and we did. This trip was not as carefree and poignant as London, Paris, New York, or Glasgow. We struggled with spending money the whole time, an issue that didn't trouble us much in previous trips. I'll just say that nothing—and I mean nothing, not even water— is free on a cruise ship. Another thing – the airport in Italy is a nightmare within a nightmare. The only good that came of the riot we endured (Not kidding here; we were trapped in a riot) was that of 500 angry travelers, only my fourteen-year-old child kept her head and tried to find a solution. It taught her that she truly is as exceptional as we've been telling her all along. 

The trip wasn't all bad, though. We were up all manner of mischief in Rome and Pompeii, we lived like queens in Barcelona, and had dinner with strangers in Amsterdam. We also swam with octopus in the sparkling waters of Dubrovnik. So we did have our moments.

In addition to our Mediterranean trip, Katya and I went to Big Bend with our family, and Aaron and I went on an epic road trip to Colorado. I feel like my feet never touched the ground all summer long.

This year's travel goal combines work and travel. We want to go to South Korea. There's more to this, and I can't go into it fully for various reasons, but this one's going to be enormous. As I told Aaron today, I've never dreamed a dream so big before. He said, “Yes you have. You just haven't realified one this big yet.”

In addition to this, Katya has goals of her own. She is going to Boston alone for four days in April, and then will spend a week in New York for a screenwriting workshop in June. Big, big plans for our intrepid travelers.

Television and media – So last year, I mentioned that we've supplanted TV with social media sites, particularly Facebook and tumblr. This is true, but I don't know yet if I'm going to set goals to limit them. The only thing I need to be aware of is that the hours I spend on tumblr and Facebook could be better put to use writing or doing research for travel. I'll just resolve to be more mindful of my time.

Reading Goal – Ye heavens, I love this goal. It's the one solid thing I've got. This is the fourth year running that I've upped my game in reading. In 2013, I read 46 books, meeting my goal. In 2012, I read 42. In 2011, it was 40. This year, I'm aiming for 50, which will bring my life total to 512 books.

Health Resolutions

All right, this year, I did something I did not believe possible in the health category. I ran a mile in 6 minutes and 28 seconds. I ran a 5K in 47 minutes, and a 10K in 98 minutes. I started a Plan with goals and strength training. It was awesome. Until... November kills my workout schedule. Every year, the time change throws everything out of whack. I become a lazy, carb-hungry grumpy Mama who only wants to sleep and watch re-runs of Buffy.

So it's January now, and I'm going back to my Plan. That, plus the Paleo diet and my health goals will continue as they had last year: maintain, be healthy, work out, and run. I've devised a monthly goal system based on the number of times I run and work out. This continues to be successful, so I'm keeping with it. I'll try to post results here, too. 

Career Resolutions

I already mentioned that I did not write last year. I did get published and paid for writing, though, so that's a step up. This year, I need to explore the possibility of self-publishing Reprieve. I also want to encourage Katya to write more and find some place to publish her stories, poems, and songs. She's old and savvy enough to begin this process on her own, especially since I suck at it. Truly.


So last year, I mentioned in my summary that I had not been particularly fearless in 2012. Therefore, in 2013, I vowed to follow Neil Gaiman's advice to take more risks. Well, as they say, be careful what you wish for. Life was a tilt-a-whirl, and I went for a wild, wild ride. I was less agoraphobic, less neurotic, still a cat-marm, and I've still managed to wear the letters of the keys of my new Lappy's keyboard. The comfort zone has narrowed and may soon be nonexistent.

Am I happy? Yes. I am happy, in a different way from two years ago. I think back to the summer of 2012, of all those hours resting on the front patio, dreaming and dreaming of love and creativity and far-off places. Life is fantastic and my imagination is bursting.

So here we go once more into the breach:
  1. Travel – South Korea, Boston and New York for Katya
  2. Be more mindful of social media usage
  3. Reading – 50 Books
  4. Fitness – Continue the Paleo life, continue running, continue Nerd Fitness
  5. Writing – Write on, ever on. Self-publish? Maybe?

Happy New Year, Everyone. May 2014 be blessed!