Thursday, September 29, 2011

Making Up

Time disappears. Rolling down the black hole of appointments and books and going from one job to another and of course I can help with that of course hours pass and well will you look at the time we still aren't done?
If only I were on friendlier terms with time, then maybe it would be easier to fit everything in or speed things up. Take advice from the Mad Hatter, since he told Alice "if you only kept on good terms with time, he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock." Time makes you cranky, unhappy with everything around you from stopping to get gas to seeing the dishes fill up in the sink with no clean ones filling the cupboards. Am I the only one refilling the butter in the butter dish?
After so much time spent worrying and buried in books and notes, I told Time this morning that we needed to talk about our relationship. It's not you, it's me.
We need a break.
then I took a walk in the rain.

The wind was blowing the cold drops on my cheeks, but I'm on a break and instead of getting upset I closed my eyes and let them fall on me. My jacket turns from fuzzy black to midnight black as it gladly takes in moisture. I soak up cold and wet and could be upset and frustrated but instead I decide I want to be elated, excited, and my smile gets bigger than it has been in awhile.
I walk over to drop letters in the big blue mailbox, and see more people out walking.
More people that saw the magic and happiness in a morning fall rainstorm and maybe couldn't resist it like me. I tell a girl on the way out of Caribou that I really like her purple raincoat, and she looks surprised but smiles and I see her white white teeth and my heart is warmer than my pumpkin coffee in my hands.
Before I walk back in to the quiet of inside I put my cup down, stretch my arms out, and stand with polka-dot rain boots in a puddle.

The rain is forgiving. Gentle.
I feel time glow at me. I think everything will be okay. We'll work it out today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

FO: French Press Slippers

Going to take a break from my slightly free-style form of writing to update on my recent knitting finishes. The big one this week- the French Press Slippers for a friend living far up north and in need of something toasty for her toes!
Yarn: 2 skeins of Patons Classic Wool in a fun pinkish shade!
Needles: size 15 on Denise circulars
Made for: Carly
Timeline: September 10-18th
Modifications: None, though next time I'll seam it a little differently. Instead of just doubling up the strands and seaming once, I'll seam it once with one strand of yarn, then seam it again with the second. Not that these had problems, but I could see where they might.
Worst Part: I had a lot of loose ends to weave in, and after felting it once and realizing it was too big for my size 8 feet (Carly's feet are size 6) in a panic I felted them again, luckily with good results. Moment of "oh shit" wasn't very pleasant.
Best Part: Despite the moments where the knit pieces looked like banana slugs, when they came together it was really cool to see how all the parts worked. And, of course, knowing that they'll keep a new teacher's feet nice and cozy in her new home far in the north!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


One week. Two weekends. My test is coming up, and it's looming bigger and bigger in my head like the giant ball of stone chasing Indiana Jones out of the ancient temple that it doesn't seem like he can escape. i'm getting up earlier and earlier and and pacing the apartment on my second cup of coffee by the time you get up and see me wringing my hands in the living room. i tell you the colors of the sunrise and you tell me the colors of your dream; both with reds and yellows and dark blues. as your steady hands hold a warm cup of tea you watch me flip through Norton Anthologies and casting them off like orange rinds- british literature, american literature, romanticism, chaucer, poetry...
you make me stop.
put the books down.


get in the car.
you play fleet foxes. the last time I heard them was in Yosemite, driving up to Tioga pass to get in the park every day before climbing. My hands relax in my lap. you begin to whistle along to "helplessness blues" and "sim sala bim" and my back releases tension. i begin to hum "bedouin dress" and my neck relaxes and my head rests on the car head rest, squishing my messy blond ponytail. i close my eyes and picture domes rising up as we round the corner and the pine trees open up like a christmas present.

i begin to breathe.

we get breakfast burritos, bursting with eggs and cheese and i ask for guacamole in my burrito and guacamole on the side and i eat all of it like i forgot to eat last week and why thank you this tastes amazing may i please have some more?
we go to another safe place, surrounded by books and the smell of text and glue bindings. I get a pumpkin white chocolate-filled coffee drink, able to focus with less and more distractions around me as you sit next to me reading magazines and novellas. once in awhile you look over and smile and wait. patient. willing my nerves to slow on their own just by observing your aura.
our field trip comes home, and now i'm taking study breaks to stretch and seam and remember that sometimes the most important thing isn't that i know everything and feel overprepared...

the most important thing
is that i




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dance Week

In high school, i didn't want to be a dancer.

I didn't know what dance really meant.

Back then, it was all about pink sparkly costumes and too much make up and snappy hard movements. All the girls that wore the right clothes and had the right boyfriends were dancers. i was onstage in a different way, reciting Shakespeare's lines and playing Holst's suites in F. I never understood how I could possibly comfortably move my body like that; it seemed unnatural, unyielding.

When I got to college, my musical theater major required that I learn how to dance. My first ballet class was in UMD sweatpants and cotton socks rolled up to the balls of my feet. I learned first and second position, trying to stay turned out as my arms swung through the air like machetes. French vocabulary felt awkward on my Scandinavian tongue- releve, pointe, tendu. It took over a year before I began to feel comfortable; over two years to feel like it was working.
Then I tried on tap shoes for the first time. Finally. THIS made sense. With years of musical instrument training behind me, I realized that the only difference was my instrument was now on my feet! Different noises come from the toe, the ball, the full heel, the inside of my foot, even knocking my toe behind my other leg hard against the ground. Snare drum, base drum, even cymbals rang every time I pranced across the floor.

Now I'm showing a new generation of dancers how to do it, how to count, how to get EXCITED for dance! See, all this work sounds effortless! LISTEN to the difference between them all!

Learning to watch and listen from dance goes into your everyday life. Waiting in line is when i practice 5th position tendus. Standing behind a cash register means I can do the time step.
In climbing, you see a sequence, a crux, a rest. I see one foot here and move your hips and drop your knee and your arm goes above your head in a beautifully choreographed movement up the wall. A good route feels like a great dance.

tonight is the first night of dance for the year, and I couldn't be more excited to begin.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Early Nervous

i was up early enough to see the sun rise this morning.
the sky was dark, then the rim of the lake turned blue then red then orange then yellow as a ball of warmth burst over the horizon. my spoon full of honey-oh's was frozen in mid-air over my bowl as i watched the world wake up. good morning, Duluth! did you sleep well?
last night I did. i normally toss and turn between my side and my stomach, getting too hot and tearing my socks off then getting too cold and feeling around in the dark with blurry vision to find them and put them back on my feet. but last night i was exhausted, with a week of worry and test dates figured out behind me. i don't plan on sleeping well tonight. tomorrow I have to run.
i'm not a runner. my body is built for climbing and tap dancing and hugging and biking and ballet and lying in a hammock, but not running. honestly, i would rather climb and jug thousands of feet instead of run a 5K, but it doesn't really matter. my friend is running the entire event, and i'm running to support him and the soon-to-come Duluth Children's Museum. i figure I hiked miles and miles uphill in the high sierras for days in a row, so how hard will it be to do a 5K all at once?
plus there's a 1/4 children's fun run early, and i want to hold 2-year old Lucy's hand and see her smile and know that if she can do it and smile at the sun and the people and the love and support all around her, than of course I can too.
tonight i will toss and turn. i will probably wake up and watch the sun rise, nervous and jittery and jumping up and down while drinking milk and water but not too much food because apparently that's bad before a longer run.
then I will go run.
afterwards i'm going to wade in the shores of the lake and fly a kite.
and probably eat some ice cream.


Monday, September 5, 2011


i went home this weekend to do a bit of regrouping and to celebrate my dad's release from a week in the hospital. my Mom was cooking for all of us- beef stroganoff, french bread from the oven burning my fingers, crab smothered in melted butter, asparagus dark green with seasoning and oil. I feel weighed down more and more after every meal, unable to stop filling my mouth with delicious rich foods normally absent from my northern diet. i try to go for a run, but my limbs are slow through the humid morning air.
what wakes me up and keeps me moving are the little tendrils of family that wrap around the entire house. Music fills the empty space between the tops of our heads and the ceiling. you and I grab our instruments, and we begin to play without paper in front of us, trusting only the memory of our fingers as we play faster and the rusty understanding of when to shift to a new section materializes without effort.
New musicians enter the house, bringing welcome music and inspiration as one song leads to the next leads to teaching leads to understanding.
I begin to remember being unconditionally happy. trusting without boundaries. singing loud and proud and laughing until i can't speak and salty tears roll into the sides of my mouth.
when it's finally time to leave, I hug hard and don't hold back saying "i love you" as many times as I want.
i remember, now, where i started.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I've gotten better since I saw you last. Not much, but a little.

At first I was broken. I didn't know how to work well without you there, so I think I tried too hard to bike straight up and down, rigid and hurting every time I hit a deep pothole. The air went out of my tires and the vibration traveled up my arms and settled deep in my bones. I had to learn how to ride all over again- start slow, pushing off, setting my shaky feet on the peddles before getting any forward momentum. If I started to go too fast, I just fell over since it was easier and I only got more bruises on my old ones. My heart was beating so hard in my ears I couldn't see the straight yellow lines on the middle of the road, faded and shining after it rained.

But I'm not good at sad. My DNA maps out how well I am at being happy, loving sometimes too hard. This often means more hurt for me, but loving harder is exhilarating and the only way i know how to do it.
The last time I loved you so much that I felt overflowing was when we were making blueberry pancakes. We didn't use a recipe; just the box of mix I didn't use and ended up in your kitchen. A cup of mix and 1 and 1/2 cups of water. But you just put mix in a cup and kept adding water until it looked right. I washed the blueberries, bright and tempting me to put one in my mouth (you didn't mind- or notice- when i did). It was a two part process when you swirl the batter on the pan before I plop the blueberries on top of the pancake as it sizzled. The batter folded in on top of the berry, surrounding it the way my mouth did earlier. Your arm circles my waist and your hand rests on the fold of my flannel pants, your thumb comparing the contrast of skin and fabric.
I am overflowing with joy, giddy at your touch and smelling pancakes cooking with blueberries, especially for us.

But then you take your arm away. Fold them across your broad chest. Let me fall into another pothole without offering your hand. No more knight in shining armor.
No more mornings waking up next to you.

No more blueberry pancakes.