Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I Crave Light


Some people
find it soothing,
the grayness,
but I find it suffocating --
draining the world
of its variety and color
smudging the details
at the edges.

I crave light.

Once an opaque plane,
the ice on the
kitchen window transforms
into a thousand glittering
crystals, each one a
snowflake of
incomprehensible beauty,
captured on glass
to extend its fleeting
existence.

I crave light.

Once dark, abbreviated days
at year's end,
illuminated by
singing, bells, old
friendships renewed --
by a thousand
acts of glittering
kindness.

Not all grayness
Not all light
is surface: we allow one --
or the other --
to infuse, consume

become part of us,

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pay Attention

I found you again!
stretched out cozy
dark evenings, temperatures 
falling, radiators hissing
nature patiently prodding,
pushing us to ponder
(reflect) on this latest
rung in our life
spiral, as we spin
headlong into the
next layer.

Holiday busy-ness
fills each moment --
cards caroling crafts
concerts -- (deflect)ing
introspection.

The perennial rhythm --
hushed tones, muffled
palette, the cocoon of
muted light, remind us:
pause, plan,

pay attention.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Strings!

Phin started taking cello this fall and he had his first concert today.  It was so nice to be with lots of our other homeschool friends!  And the boys loved the reception afterward, of course.





Monday, December 5, 2016

Sob Stories


I don't think I've been to a movie in a theater since last Thanksgiving, but in the past week we've seen Arrival (bawled!), Moonlight (so heart-wrenching!), and just saw A Man Called Ove (sobbing -- and I'd even read the book!) The last one was at a little local theater and they turned on the lights immediately -- geesh, give a girl time to recover during the credits, s'il vous plait 😂😭😞

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

One November

One November, when
I needed them most,
all of my words

bowed out. No way
to explain, no language
to make sense of

our surreal new reality;
leaving me with a body
waking in the predawn

light to lift weights and
sweat, guided by Mother
Moon to run and run

on soggy trails through
a dying landscape, and
yoga -- hoping to twist

the knots out of my
stomach and dislodge
the despair settling into

my lower right hip.

Am I preparing
for battle?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Night Haiku

This is so scary
I think I'm going to throw up
It must be fiction


I wasn't worried
He has shown his true colors
Weren't they listening?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Into the Fire

Tonya -- my most esteemed yoga guru -- has asked me a few times if I would be willing to teach yoga for the Tuesday evening Grove Street neighborhood and I just don't feel ready  at all!  I have only done a few classes with my friends -- and even that was scary!  So I have repeatedly declined her kind invitation... But then today she texted me while we were at park day and said that they desperately needed a teacher for that night!  Oh, the horror!  I wanted to say no so badly, but I could tell that the Universe was gently, or not so gently, nudging me and giving me a chance to get my teaching hours toward my Bodhi Yoga certification.  It really is a great opportunity!  So I agreed and took the boys home a little early so that I could practice a bit and write some ideas down.  Oh my goodness!  My stomach hurt so much!  But I didn't die!  Tonya checked in with me later and assured me that they haven't lost a teacher yet!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

For Nicole

For Nicole

The phrase "a heavy heart" 
never struck me before.
I feel it now.
The lowest chambers
of my heart sinking
into my gut,
the grief settling there
with a mournful melody.

It has been one week.

One week of being startled
over and over and over
by the (un)reality of her absence.
An absence that goes
beyond blankness
into the realm of void
and vacuum.

One week of memories
tripping and falling,
nipping at my heels:

Our daily song began first thing,
herding kids off to school,
five minutes stretching
to many hours
of gliding fluidly
from one yard to another
pushing a swing, catching a ball,
soothing a hurt, nursing a baby...
without missing a beat
without dropping a note.
The afternoon movement
a crescendo -- more kids,
homework, guarding the alley,
making dinner --
hers planned for the month
mine always a surprise.

She is still here in
the high frequency
of our duet --
joys, sorrows,
depths, shallows --
an eternal vibration.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ode to a Lovely Maple

  • Shifted light
    leaves me off - kilter
    out of balance

    Last night we dined
    "en plein air" as we do,
    unable to stop gazing up up up
    at the dizzying absence.

    Before they had finished
    chopping, chipping,
    my daughter and I
    ran to measure --
    our arms encircling
    her wide expanse --
    a farewell embrace.
    14 feet 2 inches!
    How long was she standing
    watching over this house
    so steadfastly?

    We first stepped inside
    one golden June afternoon,
    sunlight dancing and jumping
    in glittering patches
    across the wood floors.
    Through humid summers
    her vast canopy shielded us
    from the heat,
    keeping our rooms
    deliciously cool.
    Each October brought a burst
    of flame, bathing us all
    in shimmering yellow.
    She shook each last leaf
    to carpet the grass,
    benevolently brightening
    the months of darkness.

    Disoriented, I mourn
    my faithful friend
    in this new,
    alien space.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

It's Gone

I've been so sad for the four days it took to fell the magnificent maple. And oh, the carnage! The casualties noted so far: three forsythias, seven hydrangeas, three boxwoods, four rosebushes, too many hostas, ferns, daisies, and day lilies to count, the entire front lawn, a fence, one kitchen window, one majestic tree, and my hot hot house.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Our gorgeous tree is being taken down today -- thank you for your beauty, your hospitality to the birds and squirrels, cooling and shading our home and patio, and all of that oxygen! RIP, you will be missed.





Monday, August 29, 2016

Focus, Man!

I think I have crocheting ADD...




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A First Time for Everything

I finished my yoga training at Bodhi Yoga in June, but I had a bit of a traumatic experience trying to lead a certain someone in yoga and it completely messed me up!  I came home from the training and have hardly done any yoga at all -- no personal practice, no Maya Fiennes on Amazon, no crazy little dvds, and I certainly haven't had the gumption to try teaching a class!  My sweet friend, Andrea, insisted that I needed to start getting my teaching hours in toward my certification so she lovingly compelled me to go to her house this morning.  I was very nervous, but I put a little flow together and was fine.  Fine!  She had never done yoga before (!) so it was easy to show her a few simple things and the hour passed peacefully and quickly.  I even did some hands on adjustments!  Which was a little scary, but we all survived!  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Warren Dunes

I was somehow talked into helping drive the youth to Lake Michigan for camping and fun -- and it really was fun!  In the end... the 2 1/2 hour drive took a little more than 5 hours!  But with Chicago traffic and construction, there really was no way around it.  And the camping in the torrential rain with no nearby bathrooms wasn't exactly my cup of tea 😛   But other than that!  Delightful!











Friday, August 5, 2016

Birthday Boy

Happy happy Birthday to this little bub today! "I'm the happiest boy alive, I've had a birthday and now I'm five!" This is the oldest "baby" I've had in 22 years -- a landmark that we're happy to continue topping

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ode to a Four Year Old

A terribly ripe four year old
likes to ride his bike until
sundown, play the piano
in the early morning quiet,
and ask important questions
before breakfast:

Can I sleep on the pillow
with you? Is it boom de
yada time? Why do people
need belts? How many more
days until my birthday?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A little goodbye party for the Nance family -- why does everyone keep moving away???

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tiny Twinges

I felt a tiny twinge --
to give a friend, 
who was feeling down, 
some flowers. An
easy enough charge

with the flashy
tiger lilies
screaming for attention
over in the corner,
the clematis curling
seductively round the
garden gate,
the fluffy zinnias
beckoning
with their toothy,
multi-hued smiles.

However,
 I stayed inside,
quieting the
karmic jabs with
flimsy excuses,
leaving the friend
to sit alone
and the floral fete
to be enjoyed
solely by the
bees.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer Storm

Phin was so sad when he looked out the window this morning. He cried as he told me how much he loved that trampoline. I said that we can probably get a new one and he assured me that it would be okay if we got a smaller one. Sweet boy.








The other storm casualty... Charles came out from work and the street where he'd parked had flooded! The water seeped into the car and reached the seats, etc.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

So Civilized

Can I tell the tale of
humankind?
My story is a biased
one, just one
individual in the
collective mind.

A chimp will not eat a grape unless
all the chimps have a grape.

History is pocked --
great craters of
devastation, terror,
and
Enlightenment!
minuets, sonnets
(clubs, spears)
The Pieta, a perfect rose
(rifles, drones)
survival of the fittest
(maddest, meanest)

We are so
so civilized
compared to
the chimpanzee.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Still Spinning

In other lifetimes, 
it took years 
to crisscross 
this glorious globe,
but as the distance
diminished, knowledge
expanded and
we know (we KNOW)
that all of us want
the same things:
peace, safety,
love...

This Earth,
so buried in
grief and confusion,
is somehow,
somehow,
still spinning.

Still producing
fresh green cucumbers
and fireflies
that dart in and out
of the hydrangeas.
Little girls still
selling lemonade
on Sunday afternoons.

How can it all be so
exquisite? So beautiful?
How can it all be so
(crushingly) sad?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Summer Morning

A chubby four year old finger
tentatively touches the space
between my eyebrows -- 
flipping a switch
the chattering squirrels already deep into 

the negotiations of the day,
the birds concluding their dawn chorus

stepping outside with a stretch,
an eight year old garden nymph
stirs up the mint, oregano, and sweet pea,
my skirt brushes past the roses

I sit in a pale slant of sunlight,
the laundry fluttering dreamily in time
to the scales floating through the window

A summer morning garnished, sliced, and served

Sunday, June 26, 2016

getting older

Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes! We had a wonderful day -- out for breakfast and then to Springfield for a little Frank Lloyd Wright, playing at the capitol building, running around the Botanical Garden where we climbed trees and found a labyrinth(!), shopping, and a yummy Vietnamese dinner. Matthew knows what makes me happy 😀

::nice duck face


::happy to be back climbing around historic buildings


::we are the champions!


::It was hot hot hot and humid! Which made for some crazy hair! 


::how does this bell work?


::their only speed is RUN


::a labyrinth! recent memories from Bodhi


::Ibby meditating in the center, while Matthew makes his way around. We then all sat on that bench and watched a wedding in the nearby rose garden.









Wednesday, June 22, 2016

home again



Just arrived home from our long drive to Utah and back (for my yoga training) -- without any other drivers! Matthew now knows I'm capable and may never go with me again. I'd like to thank cruise control, cherry coke, The Mysterious Benedict Society, Sufjan Stevens, Hamilton, two well behaved little boys, and my lovely 13 year old assistant for making this all possible -- I couldn't have done it without you 💜💙💚💛









Saturday, June 18, 2016

Session Five

The last session of our yoga training session was about choosing our path.  We talked about teaching different kinds of classes -- a children's class, prenatal yoga, kundalini, etc.  Syl has put in so much work with different class outlines and ideas!  I'm sure that it will be really helpful in the future.  She has also mentioned so many other things that I get so excited about!  Sometimes I just want to download information directly into my brain, haha!  But I know that life is about the journey, about learning and growing bit by bit, about enjoying each moment and relishing new discoveries.  Some of the other things include energy work, partner yoga, chakra therapy, and astrology!  I know she has spent years learning all of the things and I just want to know them all right now!  There is a whole wide world out there that I know nothing about!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Labyrinth



This morning we went over to Syl's house to walk the labyrinth that she has in her backyard.  It is incredible!  She gave us some material to read before we went and I thought it was all interesting, but seeing it in person was unexpectedly moving.  She based the design on the labyrinth in Chartres cathedral -- which I've had the pleasure to see in real life.  I loved that cathedral and its coat of ethereal blue!  I do remember seeing the labyrinth on the floor, but I really didn't know anything about them at the time -- I was 18 years old -- so the experience was wasted on me, as so much is on the young!  We spent time meditating on the lawn for a bit and then could enter the sacred space when we felt so compelled.  When I was using my brain, I decided that I wanted to go in when there were less people inside, I didn't want it to be crowded, but soon I let my heart take over, which is always better, and wandered in when almost everyone was still there!  



It was really enjoyable to join my yoga sisters and greet each one with a handshake, pat, or small embrace as we made our way through.  I spent quite a bit of time on my journey, with loads of thoughts racing through my mind.  The most delightful moment was hearing Twila's voice in the prosperity quadrant yelling, "It's all fiction!!!"  I texted her later to tell her and she said she was basically thinking that right at the same moment, haha!  I also really felt the enlightenment, healing, and peace of the other quadrants.  

The whole experience of doing this yoga training has been really transformative!  And the love I have for my fellow trainees is deep.



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Session Four

I have really enjoyed the topic of the yoga training of the last couple of days... Emotion in Yoga and discovering your voice, because:  I am a totally emotional person and I love and adore chanting!  We always start our practice with the sound of OHM.  It is so funny to me now how odd it felt to chant when I first started doing yoga.  It felt so different and foreign to anything else I had done.  But now a yoga practice doesn't feel complete without it!  At the end of every day of the training we have done a longer chant and it is so lovely to raise our voices and make a joyful noise together.  I have long thought that our singing hymns at church stems from the ancient practice of chanting and there is something fiercely powerful in uttering the same sound simultaneously, either at the same pitch or harmonizing together.  I also love the moment right as its ending when there is an echo and then a lingering vibration.  Now that is a moment!

When talking about the emotions of yoga, Syl mentioned Karma, Dharma, and Nirvana which are topics I look forward to learning more about.  I definitely believe in Karma and I'm still searching for my Dharma!  And who doesn't want to reach Nirvana?  Hopefully in this life.  I also like talking about emotion in the context of yoga because the release of emotions is one of the most powerful draws for me to the practice.  It was such an unexpected consequence for me when I first started doing yoga.  I initially started it for purely physical reasons, but soon enough found that with the opening of my hips came the flow of my feelings, my fears, my very soul.  Now I need to do it -- I crave it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

One Week Down

The first week of the training has come and gone so quickly!  There has been a teensy bit of drama, shall we say, with my family, but everything is working out -- the Universe is as is should be, right?  There wasn't really room to stay at my parents' house because of some unexpected guests, but Steve was nice enough to invite us over to his house.  Jessica is in China, Emily is in Estonia, and Jenny is on her mission so they have loads of room over there!  Phin and Archie love the playroom upstairs and get right down to business as soon as their eyes open in the morning -- so much so that Phin was not careful enough maneuvering himself around the ping pong table and was gashed!



But he soon recovered enough to show me his smooth yoga skills



We made it through the first few days of me being gone all day and then on Saturday the kids went with my parents to a time share up in the canyon behind Ogden.  I am so glad that they are able to spend time all together!  I know my parents are getting old so I cherish any opportunity that we have to make lasting memories.  I also don't worry too much about my kids being a burden because honestly, they are so well behaved!  And I'm not even being biased.  At all.

I was hoping to spend time with my Ella girl, who came down from Idaho ostensibly to see me while I'm nearby, but Rachel came with her and they were out very late on Saturday night with Joseph Clay, of all people, so I really didn't get to see her as much as I would've liked.  We did spend the morning together on Sunday.  Joseph showed up early to enjoy some of Jill's delicious orange rolls and then fell asleep on the couch, waking every so often to mutter something about the knot in my ball of yarn -- but I eventually got it!  I'm determined and tenacious when it comes to tangles!  



And I finished the assembly of this sweet little blanket for Bonnie Williams' soon to be baby girl





The training is going so well at the yoga studio!  I've enjoyed reading more of my chakra cards



And my favorite thing is leaning back and gazing out the high windows to see the tops of my beloved mountains.  It really is a gorgeous location, like a brick, ivy covered tree house.  It rains every couple of days and the hillsides are covered with greenery... so lovely!

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