“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


everyday sunday: march 30. nothingness and sun.

the mirror this morning showed a surprise of sunburned cheeks, yesterday's sunshine lingering behind to remind me of the sheer fabulous nothingness of the day.  sitting still in the sun equaled hot, moving to dappled shade meant sweaters needed when the wind was up.  we did both.

my neighbor calls this the strange non-blooming spring.  dogwoods are blossoming, and here and there some azaleas; pear trees are recuperating from the ice storm, leafing out again, but so many empty limbs are still scratching against the sky.  from the couch right now, i think i see baby leaves hatching on the hackberry tree, and possibly the wisteria; the pecan tree's lower limbs have nothing, but higher in the tree spring looks as if it is landing. oak trees here and there are greening up, the elms also, but not all, not everywhere.  the yard is sprouting grass and flowered weeds and should probably be mowed, but soon is soon enough.

early evening is the sound of a leaf blower, cardinals swooping past, the sun painting bright stripes down the road.  it is hard to stay inside.  i keep stepping out the open door, just standing, breathing, grateful when the leaf blowing stops and i can once again hear the birds.  they've been singing all day.


i got lost in the day today,
one of the consequences of no maps, no rules.
i was writing and then i wasn't.

it was a morning of blackberries and strawberries, olives stuffed with jalapenos, lasagna for breakfast, warm air outside the house, pierce brosnan on the television, no fire next to the sleeping cat.  as the weather warms and the sun shines down, it becomes clear that life must be lived before words can written.  there are back roads not yet explored, conversations not yet spoken, hands still to hold, thoughts to be set free.  there are silences to savor, and robins in the yard.

the camellia tree across the street, tall and full of pinkish flowers,
curves over a corner of the roof against twilight almost night,
and the cardinals begin to fade into the color of evening,
darkest of red spilling into the grasses and trees.
sounds  . . . silence . . .  the stopping of birdsong.




we be so afraid to not know.
to not be cool.


" . . . the girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors,
and the boys try to look so hard . . . "
                                    ~ bruce springsteen


i keep this quote always, right there in front of me,
and i keep this empty polaroid full of golden possibilities.
i keep the moon and magic close by.
i keep those hands diving in or lifting up,
stretching either way namaste namaste.

and when that nasty thang the writer's block show his head,
i got me some talismans, baby, and charms and witches' spells.
i got words.
i got me some abracadabras.


originally published on the thief of quotations.
post 5:  8.18.11


year 9 begins

upside down lily

8 years ago today she became ours, the cat in the business, the cat who shows up to greet customers even when they don't want it.  she has favorites, you know, and sometimes she sneaks up on them, a rub against their ankles when they're not looking.  sometimes she stays sleeping wherever she is - cat beds in all the rooms and hallways and secret places i've yet to find - and they ask where is she? sometimes i know, sometimes i don't.

she has her own clock and somewhere near the end of the day, she wants in my lap as i type away at the computer.  she calls all desks hers, and especially loves michael's, the messiest desk of all, sprawling across paperwork and newspapers and watching him work.  yesterday morning i found her sitting on his desk, staring at his empty chair, waiting for him to return, to sit down.  in my office, she has her own chair, close enough that i can rub her belly with my toes.

she goes outside for a few minutes here and there, behind the business, on the concrete parking lot, but finds her way to the edges where weeds and grasses grow, and it sometimes breaks my heart that she doesn't know a yard or a tree, instead knowing utility poles and wires across the sky.  the lack of trees downtown means birds are few, but they are moments of joy for her when they appear, one or two on one of those wires.  a leaf blowing by the door is a thing of magic.


we have recently cleared off the back "porch" area, and i am thinking that perhaps a potted tree or two or three might withstand thieves and give her a bit of green.  i've not had good luck with such inside the building, but i am thinking about trying again.  and maybe - maybe - a low box of grass or ground cover somewhere out back for her to lay on.  i spend time with her outside when the weather warms up, and the idea makes me happy.

in the meantime, happy 8th anniversary miss lily.  i wish you could read, could understand my words, could know how much it means to me to see your smiling face each morning.  smooches!!



vision & verb: today

it really is.  

when i took this picture, it was with my old wonderful fabulous no-longer-made samsung phone that i grieve for daily.  i loved the camera on that phone and wish i could say as much about my iphone camera, but, alas, i cannot.  when i took this picture, it was summertime, and i was just back from the texas hill country, land of god, don't'cha know, and that life is good decal on the back of my jeep was still shiny bright new, and never mind that the building behind me is/was a hospital, and my mom was spending a bit of time there.  life was good.  and that was then.

this is now and today and i'm writing over at vision & verb, all about the when-ness of things and life. i'd love it if you clicked this link right here, and stopped by for a visit.  they're good women from all over the world, and i am flattered to be amongst them.

life be good.



times of no names

under the table at the foot of my bed, children's chairs catch the morning sun and the rumpled blankets from last night's dreams.  it is a hidey-hole for the cat; she jumps at me as i pass by and i pretend to not know she was there.  she feels happy and hidden and safe to her bones and i admit i feel happy myself, humbled she has made my home hers, and a wee bit jealous of her small private space.  this summer, i think to myself, a spot in the backyard.  a pretty piece of escape.

i have already bypassed spring in my dreams, already seeing the summer ahead, but i am living in the now and the here.  especially the now, trying not to look too far down the road, where it disappears into the trees and meets the sun as it settles in for the night.  here is easy. now has always been the hard part.

yesterday, home from work, i wanted to be outside, if only for a few minutes as the sun began to lower.  and so, the creek, right where it curves around and heads off to the west, where boards from a project earlier in the year still form a makeshift bridge, where the light was just right, where i could sit for a few minutes and breathe, where the cat, no longer afraid of those boards, came and sprawled for a bit, enticing me to sprawl for a bit myself.  a very nice spot, as it turns out, there under the sky, over the water, the owls hooting in the magnolia tree.  almost spring.  the cold and ice cost the pear tree its chance to blossom, but there are buds on the cherry laurel and there are red camellias.  an almost-spring unlike any other.  as they all are.

this morning is just as sunshiny as yesterday, looking warmer than it really is. looking still like winter, the trees barely leafing, the wisteria vines still just vines.  i can still see the church steeple from my couch, though i notice the tree that usually blocks it from my view by spring has gone a bit soft and fuzzy.  soon, i think.  soon.

see how easily i did that?  moved from the now to the soon?  the trees are bones and i am anxious for them to be flesh and blood and leaves, for the birds' nests to be hidden once again.  but today is still winter despite the sunshine.  another in-between time.  tomorrow is spring and the weekend will be cooler than today.

these in between times and places are intriguing me - the times we have no names for.  not yet spring, not winter.  not yet dusk, but not really daytime.  not still grieving, not yet healed.  hidden, but in plain view.  the places on the doctor's charts - is the pain a 1 or closer to 10? - that you really have no answer for.  the colors not in the crayon box.  the words the dictionary has yet to discover.


a cardinal, red against the wisteria vines, tumbles into the creek below, thirsty.  the cat sleeps before the fire.  across the street, the paperwhites that were on their knees just a week ago, are standing tall, and some have new blossoms, dots of white against the greening grass.  there are breezes, and sparrows on the hackberry tree, hanging from the tips of tiny branches.  i like the way they look like leaves.



everyday sunday: march 16. at least the grass is greener.

almost evening end of the day dusk.  retracing my footprints across this dreary sunday.

it's been a gray day, inside and out, energy and emotions low and dragging.  the cat has followed me from room to room all day to say i'm here, to offer comfort.  or perhaps because, no matter the grayness, i still offer heat, and the real heater keeps going off in this house of still-too-chilly.  i kept climbing back into the bed with an old trixie belden book, but trixie wasn't working today, not the way she usually does, taking me back to childhood years when worries were so much smaller.  i have hopes for tonight, however - she seldom lets me down.

the wind is up, the air downtown was full of sirens, and the temperature is dropping once again; march is full of empty trees with dead blossoms and it keeps tossing more of the same weather.  a fire is once again going and i am wearing socks.  my fingers are cold and ditto my nose.  in a moment of particularly hard feel-sorry-for-myselfness, i colored my hair - just a bit - and i already regret it. i'd decided to welcome the silvers and grays and let the streaks stay, but today talked me out of that, and now most of them are gone.

the good news is by april they'll be back.




"Poetry is not the most important thing in life...
I'd much rather lie in a hot bath reading Agatha Christie and sucking sweets." 
                                              ~~~~~ Dylan Thomas

back when i worked at the local art museum
(i may have told you this before),
the curator was back from a long austin weekend,
telling tales of the nights and music
and stories told over drinks
and laughs with old friends,
when the artist-in-residence asked if he'd seen any good art,
visited any galleries.
god, no, he replied.


the words will wait.
it is almost the weekend.


originally published on the thief of quotations.
post 4:  8.25.11.


one day and the beginning of another

yesterday morning.
messy with hearts.

i was running late and the wind was running windy and the heater was once again on.  it was (and still is) no flowers in the house, and very few outside, but there was a blue blue cloudless sky outside the windows making it more than okay.  it was (and still is) the doors not open, and it was sunshine and too chilly rolled together.  it was two hackberry leaves nestled together, a small upside down heart, a bit of romance left over from fall, dangling from an empty limb tangled with wisteria vines. by early afternoon, they were gone.

i'd been up before 4, unable to sleep, achy, finding the couch and a coke and blueberry eggos, and calling them sanctuary.  russell crowe was on the television, and i let him lull me back to sleep, and awake again, and sleep again.  finally, truly up and off to work, the windy wind blew the door open and closed, and open and closed, or, as i said on twitter,

the wind keeps blowing the door open and closed
open and closed open and closed open and closed open and closed.
i need an ativan.

i should have inserted a few exclamation points.

lunch was a granny smith apple and pepper jack cheese and a yowling cat who could not believe i would rather pay bills than play with her, no matter how much i tried to explain to her it wasn't a matter of rather.  it was paladin on the television, sound up because paladin knows all and quotes poetry and speaks french, and once translated a calamity jane pulp novel into latin whilst bored on a train.  it was cold toes inside leather boots.  when i stepped outside to head back to work, katie was sprawled under the sun, taking it in - i was wearing a coat along with those boots.

just one of those days.  


this morning looks much the same, minus wind, plus louder birdsong.  east is somewhere off to my right and the sun, as always, breaks through the trees and lays stripes across the street before making its way to our yard.  we are still in shadows.  where those leaves were yesterday, sparrows are today. the sunlight is hitting the christmas lights that still hang from my neighbor's porch, golden icicles, thursday almost spring morning.  silhouettes of cardinals, church steeple behind the still leafless trees, the sun beginning to top the paperwhites.

another day begins.
i'll take it.



the thief moveth - post 3: 8.16.11.

she wasn't always right

i saw a notebook today
and on the front was an anais nin quote:  
we write to taste life twice . . . 
i laughed. 
no, i thought,
sometimes we write to get the taste out of our mouth.


originally posted: the thief of quotations


everyday sunday: march 9. last week is over. amen.

the female cardinals are almost invisible out there.
there is one swaying on the baby redbud tree that's growing from the inside of the creek,
the one we should cut down but don't.
its leaves are shaped like hearts.

it's my second favorite day of the year, when we move time forward and there is daylight waiting for me when there shouldn't be.  i wake earlier and stay up later, all backwards and full of energy. were it not for the cat asleep on the unmade bed, i would be caught up with all the laundry, but she is too content to disturb.  it can wait.


the story of today is small.  the story of today is that it puts an end to last week, when everything happened at once.  ice and phone calls and cold and hard news and no money, anger and fear and exhaustion and heartburn. by thursday afternoon i was done, but the week wasn't.  today it is.

despite the now melted ice, there are daffodils across the street suddenly in bloom, yellow to match the forsythia that proved tougher than the weather.  the blossoms on the paperwhites are gone, their stalks bowing to the ground in prayer and exhaustion; so often the two are partners.   the birds have skittered off to somewhere and are silent - the sky is white, but i imagine i see a hint of blue trying to break free. lauren bacall is dancing across the television screen, her waist impossibly small.

katie and i have plans afoot to change a painting.  we will start small with the biggest change.  a black spot to a blue heart, softening to life.  it is a painting i did for her years ago, and we have often discussed that spot, thinking it should go.  i have myself often thought i should just paint over the whole thing.  today it becomes a work in progress.  i expect to see changes throughout the year - there is a story behind it all, but it is a secret and will have to wait to be told.

but first, the laundry.  the cat is awake and up.  



the thief moveth - post 2: 8.15.11

this was, in fact, the first post over there.  me reassuring me.  i re-read it now and know i was right.

your own words are the best of course

the ones you pull from who knows where - the ones that appear from thin air or the ones you planted long ago and forgot about, the ones growing all this time in the secret dark places of your soul.   they're the best, they say you.  nevermind that you worry about them, are afraid to say them out loud.  they're the best.  those are the ones worth stealing. those are your stories and no one else has them. 

make up your own words.  see that nevermind up there in the paragraph above?  spellcheck hates that word, tells me all the time how wrong it is.  never mind that nevermind is exactly what i mean.  it's the place where you stop thinking and start writing. 

"In Africa a thing is true at first light and a lie by noon and you have no more... respect for it than for the lovely, perfect weed-fringed lake you see across the sun-baked salt plain. You have walked across that plain in the morning and you know that no such lake is there. But now it is there absolutely true, beautiful and believable." ~ Ernest Hemingway




it only looks like snow.

monday morning.

over on the right where you can't see,
my jeep was running, de-icing, warming.
i texted the ever-wonderful michael and said don't even try to make it into town,
said a friend was gonna drive me to the business to feed lily cat,
to which michael responded that i was a texas woman with a 4WD,
and didn't i remember that time when  . . . ?
and yes, i did, so i booted up with steel toed black rubber boots,
heavy and with tread,
and i slowdrived to work and fed the cat.
and then ran errands for others who couldn't get around because, like i said,
it only looks like snow.

my arms are too tired for poetry tonight.
i have been gripping tight my steering wheel.

it began sunday afternoon. sleet fell from the heavens by bucketfuls and fell some more and some more and kept on falling.  we'd been warned but were a bit surprised at the speed and ferocity; it was a tad worse than we'd been expecting.  my cousin's husband spent monday night in his vehicle stuck on the interstate somewhere around ne arkansas, one of hundreds of people to do so.  one of my brothers lost power and heat at his house and spent that night on my couch.  

monday afternoon, the owls in the magnolia tree behind the house were loud and wild, hooting at the white sky and white ice and each other.  i stood and listened as their calls echoed through the trees and cold.  they are loud again tonight as i type.  i'll let them supply the poetry.


solid ice.  you walk slow and you don't leave footprints.  

and then it begins to melt.
slowly mushy messy melting, leaving beautiful wonderful footprints.

and exhale.



everyday sunday: march 2. soup and rain and real paper books.

the rain they said would be here by noon was here when i awoke at 8, the tiniest of raindrops dotting the sidewalk and jeep windshield, turning into rainier rain quickly.  my first thought was that i needed to take out the trash before it grew even rainier.

the cold they said would begin to move in by noon is moving in earlier.  yesterday's almost 80° is gone; already we are half that and headed for colder.  it will be in the 20s tonight, with possible sleet and other winter wonders.  and so it goes, that back and forthness of winterspring i talked about last week.  the last of autumn's leaves are still piled under the monkey grass, christmas has come and gone, january long past. pear trees have bloomed or, like ours, are beginning.  earlier this week the tulip trees lost their blossoms to a night measuring 27°.   r.i.p. sweet blooms, and thank you for painting last week pink.

yesterday morning and it was march, and humid; february at long last gone, i awoke to green grass in splotches all around the house, opened the bedroom blinds to see green on the ground for the first time in months. weeds, wildflowers, paperwhites clustered in even fatter bunches.  it was quickly warm, doors and windows opened, fans turned on almost all the way to 11.  by mid afternoon we were sitting in the yard, blessing breezes, vodka for katie, coke and ice for me, discussing plans and pasts and futures. by late afternoon moving into darkness, we had changed bare feet for shoes and bare shoulders for sweaters, and the owls in the magnolia tree behind the house were awake and calling to each other.


there is soup cooking in the slow cooker, leftover vegetables, ragtag ends of celery sticks and carrots, extra okra and onions.  the kitchen window is open despite the colding air, and the sound of raindrops plopping into puddles confuses me, makes me think the soup is boiling over.  skye cat is curled in front of the fire, sleeping.  i have been rereading barbara kingsolver this week -  the bean trees on my kindle, but back to real paper for the rest of her books, since, after all, i have them, right up there on the bookshelves.  i am back in tucson when i read her, smelling the air after the rain - at least for some books; i will not reread the poisonwood bible, no matter how wonderful it may be.  it requires more strength than i have.

and so today is quiet, the sound of fire and rain and the turning of pages.  the sound of prayers for the pear trees and cold winds.  the sound of endings and beginnings.


wednesday was a tiny fever and too early awake
and cold air outside the closed doors and windows,
and valentine roses that needed to be tossed.
thursday morning,
tossed into the creek,
the dark red blossoms fell through the even colder air;
not one rose landed pointing true north.