Monday, October 09, 2006

Our Big List of Things

Here's what we'll be up to for the next five years. We're in the process of putting together a budget and timeline for each. My current question: how can we do these things in such a way that they make a difference for others? Of course there is the difference it always makes when someone fulfills on dreams and looks at the world seeing what is possible. But beyond that. For instance, is there a way to use some of the hikes to raise money or awareness for global health or environmental problems? How can our physical fitness be something that impacts people? I think we've got to move from the realm of "us" to the realm of the world...

  1. Own a house
  2. See Machu Pichu in Peru
  3. Visit Australia
  4. Teach someone something
  5. Be conversational in Spanish
  6. Be conversational in French
  7. See the Redwoods in California
  8. Visit Hawaii
  9. Have six-pack abs


  1. Have kids
  2. Visit New Zealand
  3. See the Grand Canyon
  4. Explore Alaska
  5. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro


  1. Visit the Ben & Jerry's Factory in Vermont (just did that this weekend!)
  2. Hike Mt. Katahdin in Maine
  3. Hike Mt. Washington in New Hampshire
  4. Trek to the base of Everest
  5. Complete one year of consistent meditation practice - one hour in the morning/one hour in the evening each day
  6. Complete a cross-country road trip
  7. Have four-pack abs
  8. Have well-defined arms
  9. Collaborate with Sam on some creative endeavor
  10. Go on a walking tour of France with Karen and/or Laurie
  11. Hike in Montana
  12. Learn to downhill ski
  13. Master breathing on both sides/my freestyle stroke
  14. Play a sport as part of a team
  15. Visit Taos, New Mexico
  16. Complete a sprint triathlon
  17. Own a real couch
  18. Go on a weeklong sea kayaking trip
  19. Host a fifth wedding anniversary weekend at OMNI Camp
  20. Visit Paris with Bob
  21. Publish some piece of my writing
  22. Get accepted into Breadloaf's Master's in English program

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I know I've Been a Bit MIA

Answers to some questions I've been getting recently:

Where am I?
Mostly in airports. See previous post.

How is teaching UU Religious Education to 5th Graders?
Awesome. Fifth graders rock. As does the UU version of Sunday School. My kids love soccer, are completely too cool for school, but love have a story read to them and drawing pictures. Since they are looking this year at Jesus's life in the context of him being a man who was a social reformer (our curriculum all but apologizes for looking at Jesus at all, it's kind of funny, and very UU), I'm thinking about connecting all of the international efforts to use soccer for peacemaking and bridge building as a teaching tool at some point during the fall.

How is my class going?
Wonderful. It's such a joy to be back in an English classroom again. We're spending the first half of the semester on Yeats, and I'm planning to focus my first paper on his view of the creative process. He's a bit of a nutter, but incredibly self-observant in this respect, and perhaps it's reading Margaret Atwood's On Writing of late, but I am utterly fascinated by the dichotomy between being and creator within every artist.

How's work?
Good. My note of the day about my job is this: I am so, so, so glad not to be applying to colleges right now. I attended an admissions event at the home of one of the alums I've gotten to know because of my job, and damn these kids have it harder than even I did only ten years ago. Our class (2000) was the first big spike in numbers/competitiveness nationally, but it's gotten so much worse since then. And parents have become so much more obsessed with the process than they once were. I definitely don't envy this Millenial kids.

So that's me in a, this is me in a nutshell, help, help, what kind of a shell would have a nut like this? (I'm not crazy, I'm just quoting Austin Powers.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ox-goad lattice window bent hand house
"LEKB" - my initials - in Cretan pictographs – predecessors to our modern alphabet

Bob sure does take some interesting classes.

And on that note, back to my own reading for class (Yeats at the moment).

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dear Rain,

I've been waiting for you.

No Longer Thirsting,
The Once Cracked Earth

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Week in the Life of a Fundraiser

Wednesday last:
- Get lost in Camden, NJ on my way to the Philadelphia airport
- Arrive just past 4pm, in time for boarding without luggage, but must check my luggage because of new carry-on restrictions, get on later flight
- Staff announce that flight will board fifteen minutes later than scheduled
- An hour after "fifteen minutes later," no staff anywhere to be found, flight has disappeared from all boards, I decide to pee and grab a snack, all within 100 yards of the gate
- Twelve minutes later, I return and discover my flight boarded and left...bumped to later flight
- New flight delayed one hour
- Board flight, sit on runway for an hour, learn we have moved up to 30th in line for takeoff
- Arrive in Boston at midnight

Friday last:
- Arrive at Logan Airport, check bags for flight to Phildelphia and connection to Birmingham
- Arrive at gate, discover Philly flight so delayed I will miss connection, switch last minute to flight via Charlotte
- Arrive in Birmingham, discover my bags are in Philly

- Leave Birmingham, AL at 2pm for Atlanta, GA - should take 2.5 hours, but torrential downpours and no visibility delay journey, reschedule planned dinner appointment with prospect for next day
- Traffic stops one mile from hotel, spend more than an hour getting to hotel
- Hotel at 3340 Peachtree Road - water main broken on street, traffic barely moving - another 30 minutes to travel final block, and then 3330 Peachtree Road, 3350 Peachtree Road - where is 3340?
- Call hotel, get directions, water main flood prevents me from following them, spend 30 more minutes getting back to the turnoff
- In right turn lane, really, really have to pee, can see the hotel, begin to turn and crunch
- Look left, see SUV slowly removing rental car's side view mirror, closest place to pull over is my hotel, I know a bed waits for me, but I can't go to it
- Call Hertz, wait for police, 1.5 hours later, I arrive in my room. It's well past 9pm. Seven hours for a 2.5 hour trip.

- Discover that my normally flawless staff assistant made an error on my itinerary, have accidentally double booked myself with rescheduled appointment, re-reschedule appointment, get myself on later flight home
- Great day of visits, likely new money for Tufts, nice people
- Arrive at airport with time to spare for 9:45pm flight, complete accident report with Hertz, have time for cup of ice cream
- 9:15pm - flight has no pilot, they are looking for one, new 10:30pm scheduled departure
- 9:45 pm - we've lost our flight attendants and still have no pilot, 10:50pm scheduled departure
- 10:00pm - post this blog entry before laptop dies

A New Season

I was just looking at this picture from last March's annual end of winter polar bear swim, and pondering the impending change of season at home in New England. The urge to burrow creeps closer, and down comforters begin to beckon...Labor Day was our first harbinger.

The Labor Day breakfast for my parents was amazing and strange. Maine's governor, John Baldacci, joined our table for a while, catching up with my dad, and listening attentively while my mom spoke to him about affordable housing in the state (one might even say she lectured). Governor Baldacci, Congressman Tom Allen, and the countless state legislators and other state government officials who were present are why I have never been able to internalize the idea that career politicians are smarmy or power-hungry by nature. I grew up around some of the most altruistic, principled, dedicated public servants, and continue to believe this to be the norm.

Strange to realize that my parents drew the biggest crowd that this annual event has had in years. Strange that my mom brought Maine's Labor Commissioner to tears with the remarks she made. That my dad's poetry prompted a standing ovation. What would it be like to see my parents through eyes other than my own? I got a sense of that last week...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

So Proud of My Parents

Look what Bob and I get to be a part of on Labor Day:

This year, the Southern Maine Labor Council will hold a Labor Day breakfast at 8:30 on Sept. 4, to honor union activists Kathy and Frank Kadi.

Kathy, a member of the Maine State Employees Association (MSEA) , was the first Maine president of the Congress of Labor Union Women. Frank has been a long-time activist with the Service Employees International (SEIU) union and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) .

There will also be music from the group “Nine to Nine,” featuring Senate President Beth Edmonds. As well, Ralph Fasanella’s painting “Red Sky,” a photo essay of working people by Guy Saldanha and labor painting by area schoolchildren will be on display.

Photo by Carlos Fernandez.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Learning to Swim (3)

Curled up, leaning over you, my head against your chest, ear pressed to hear your heart. Peaceful, then struck by the thought I love this heart…I want to reach down, grow fangs, feast on it, consume it completely. Then wonder, who thought that? Has Margaret Atwood as writer qua writer possessed me? Is this love? Desire? Indicative of a disorder?

I think of it for a day, desperate to write it down but never with pen and paper in hand until now. Now, seated across from you at this Tibetan restaurant. Me with my hot lime, you with your lime soda. Both of us tired and cranky, a little mad at our belated friend who has yet to join us for dinner. Both anticipating being even more tired.

“You’re going to write now?” you say, sounding uncomfortable, as I uncap my pen.

“You don’t seem to want to have a conversation with me.” I retort.

“Don’t do that.”

“What? You seem tired and hungry. I’m not upset, I just don’t want to sit and stare into space wishing I had something to do. So I’m writing. Let me know when and if you actually want to converse and I’ll happily converse. Until then, I’m writing.”

Writing about you and how much I wanted to devour your heart last night, that is.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Year of New Adventures

I'm really excited about a new project I've taken on and would love your help!!

A Year of New Adventures is a blog dedicated to people having new adventures. Each week for the next year, we will take on a new adventure in common, posting comments about our experiences.

Adventure can be anything and everything. Trying food you’ve never tried, writing a love letter, submitting something for publication, singing in public, or participating in a new athletic activity. It could even be meditating or praying for longer than you’ve tried meditating or praying before.

Sometimes we all get “boxed in” by who we think we are and what we think we can do. Adventures – big and small – reconnect us to our sense of play and wonder. If every person moved through the world filled with play and wonder...well, that would just rock, and anything would be possible!

Today marks the beginning of Week 1, and it would be great to have you along for the ride!! I request the following from you:

1. Visit A Year of New Adventures. Find out what the first adventure is and participate!
2. Send me your adventurous ideas. We've got 51 weeks of adventure to create!
3. This week, personally tell at least one other person about A Year of New Adventures.
4. Forward this e-mail to people you know who like a little bit of adventure, or could use some in their lives.

By October 31, at least fifty new adventures will have been had and commented on by blog participants!

Love and peace,

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Learning to swim (2)

“This is the BBC News Hour…” blares the cheap brown clock radio next to Jody’s futon. She makes a noise, some sort of grunt-sigh, as she realizes she has been snoozing for an hour and that it is already 9 am. She wakes up, trying to ignore the extremely loud British woman intruding on her sleep while at the same time straining to hear the morning’s top stories. After a few minutes she rolls from her right side onto her back, reaching up and across her body to turn the volume down. The clock now reads 9:06. She needs to get up, but her down comforter feels so much better than just about anything else in her world, so she entertains a brief morning ritual instead.

In her mind, Jody runs through the list she is trying to compile of different ways to earn a living without leaving your bed. Sleep studies…not a sure thing, she had read that some sleep studies require subjects to stay awake for long periods of time, to study the effect of sleep deprivation. That sure wasn’t what she wanted.

Mattress salesperson…on slow days it would be great, lots of time to rest on the most comfortable and expensive mattresses in the store, mattresses even more comfortable than Jody’s own, which was not bad. But selling mattresses would be torture on busy days, she pictured herself running around a store, helping customers who didn’t know what kind of bed they wanted, only that this one was too firm and this one too soft. On busy days the mattresses would only taunt her. Beds everywhere, but not a single place to rest.

Jody has blond hair and green eyes. Not that you would know by looking at her. Right now her hair has blue tips and magenta roots. It rises from her head in little spikes, hundreds of candle flames growing out of her head. Medusa with short hair. Her eyebrow is pierced, a small ring resting just beyond the corner of her right eye. It has only been pierced for about a month, though she spent three or four years thinking about it. Same thing with her hair. Up until a month ago, it fell to her chin, always blond, never quite curly, never quite straight. But now she has spiky flaming hair and an eyebrow ring.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I'm so happy today.

That's all. Also, I love you. Your glorious imperfections and playful underbelly make me giddy. If you were standing here next to me, I'd be giving you a giant hug.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A little bit of navel-gazing

What a variety of reactions people in my life have had when I've told them about reconnecting with Keith, a man with whom I fell in love and had a brief affair in Scotland at age 20! Reactions range from complete understanding and the assumption that of course Bob knows (he does and truly, he supports it) to isn't that dangerous? and you haven't told Bob have you? and my [boyfriend, husband, partner] would never be okay with that. One person explained to me how weird it was and how unlike other people I am. It also seems to stir something up for folks. One friend was inspired to get in touch with someone who had been similarly important to her when she was living in Australia in order to seek closure (she got it).

I chatted with Bob about this yesterday afternoon. He called long-lasting and and very close friendships my special talent. I think he's right. If I love you, I love you for life. And most of the time, if I love you, you find yourself surprised by some of what you're willing to share with me about yourself. And surprised by what I'm willing to share with most people about myself. You can assume that you will remain very important to me and that if we see each other after a period of absence, I will have a delighted squeal and a fierce hug at the ready to say hello.

Loving the people I love is the most important thing to me. When I work to be more effective in the world, what I'm really working on is loving well. My tendencies toward competition and wanting to be right, my fears of looking stupid or failing, these get between you and me. So I'm committed to something else. Who I am is not these things. Who I am is being in love with each of the people in my life. Which, incidentally, makes being with Bob that much more spectacular.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Saturday, August 12, is my 28th birthday. Which means, clearly, that I am quite old.

I have a birthday request: I request that you post a comment telling me what one new experience you will try this year that you've never tried before. And tell me how much you love me. :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dear Oven Mitt,

Thanks for keeping us safe.

A Lot of Skin Cells

Skin care - an unusual post for me

Finally! I have found a skin care product (or in this case, products) that work for my skin and actually represent an improvement. Seriously, my face is sweetly soft and blemish free when I'm using this stuff! It doesn't dry out my skin or leave it heavy and oily. Eau Thermale Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser and Gentle Toner. You want some.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A feather bed and a digital camera

It seems that our house is a good transit/storage facility.

One friend asked today if he could send a digital camera my way from one country so that I could send it along to his paramour in another country.

A few hours later, a different friend asked if he could send us a feather bed to hold onto, until he can pick it up when he is in town for his buddy's bachelor party. Apparently plans include putting sticky stuff on the groom-to-be, then covering him in feathers.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Learning to swim (1)

Guard rails capture my imagination as I am driving down the highway. Ani Difranco croons and guitar picks through my radio while I sing loudly “Just the thought/Of our bed/Makes me crumble like the plaster where you punched the wall beside my head…”

Your imagined tattoo makes its way into my mind, and I picture you, your shirt off, the small of your back with some note of kanji, some symbol implying peace or Buddha. A dragon, maybe, was that what you said? I can’t recall any longer.

I’m stopping for mangoes by the roadside, wondering how this Iowa farm stand got its hands on such sweet dripping tropical moments.

My speakers are a bit old. So, too, is this car. The music hums through my seat, bass buzzing through muscle and spasming through capillaries. Maybe my heart will beat in time.

Running across the plains, I keep looking for ocean. Sweat takes the place of salt water. I miss my mother's lilacs, but I haven't spoken with her in more than seven years. I can hardly call her now just to tell her that.

Photo by Laszlo Ilyesl

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Have you had your miracle this week?

This week, I got...

The beginning of a friendship with my first love, whom I have been unable to contact for the seven years since I left Scotland and lots of related giddiness.

Reminded of all the reasons I am madly in love with my husband:
- He appreciates my wildly off-key singing and I appreciate his;
- Even though we are both always completely and totally free to be ourselves at our unsexiest, we're still totally and completely turned on by one another;
- I can't let it go...he once ran a mile from his house to mine in order to let me know about a rainbow outside that I just had to see;
- When I'm in his arms everything is stillness and being and love; and
- He has trust and support for me and our relationship in such abundance that I am overwhelmed by his generosity of love and spirit at this moment.

Effortless ease around my money, my food, and my body. I've maintained a commitment to choosing healthfully in these areas for the past six weeks. And seriously, this week, I got it as effortless.

The possibility of infinite love and every having every adventure I dream for myself. Also, I got the possibility of every adventure you dream for yourself. Go ahead. Dream one up.

Dear Summer,

You may be feeling a bit unloved right now, so please know, you are my perfect other. Your sleepy air and thick evening light hold me just right.

Wild Roses in Bloom

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

to sleep soundly

to sleep soundly, a woman must welcome her visitors by choosing poetry that will sing to their particular tongues and she must laugh clearly enough to break the fog on a cold, humid evening. she must eat heartily so that deep flavors settle across her body and anyone who kisses her can taste them. she must trail her fingernails against her own palms and quiver at the feeling of her own touch.

to sleep soundly, a woman must encircle the moment of crystal waking that comes just before her evening journey begins, but then let it pass, without clinging or grasping. she must shout her argument only when poetry or the sky is at stake and then she must do so from her belly, with the weight of the world’s children coloring her breath.

to sleep soundly, a woman must breathe maple syrup on snow each fall and salty ocean lips each summer. the lilac smell of her own sweat should cause her to burrow into her own writing.

to sleep soundly, a woman must forget herself while she makes love, forget the word physical. she must extend into her own limbs and scream and moan and touch herself and her lover without noticing whether the lights are on. her arms must open freely with no need to hold her heart against the fear that it might fall from her chest.

to sleep soundly, a woman must put down her work. she must lie down in a quiet room with daisies and chrysanthemums and quiet the lights. she must touch herself sleepily while the moon wanders into her room and she must say, finally, this is where i will rest.

Dorothea Lange

This beautiful, beautiful woman is Dorothea Lange. During her lifetime, she was a photographer, a pioneer in photojournalism. After years of running a successful portraiture studio, she gave it up after attending a workers' street rally and concluding that what she photographed was out of sync with what mattered. Relying on friends to help her care for her children, she traveled throughout middle America, documenting the camps of Dust Bowl refugees, photographing sharecroppers and migrant worker families. She shot worker strikes and rallies, and later photographed the forced evacuation of Japanese-Americans to internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She viewed her medium as an opportunity to bring the human condition into full view. The more I read about her, the more I fall in love with her.

Dear Lighthouse,

Pinned as a postcard above my desk, you tempt me.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I'm swimming up to about two miles now, and even putting my face in the water! Much easier than the mile and a half of doing the crawl with my head above water...Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday mornings find me happy at Walden, and very often with Deji and Goulder (also pictured here), Rachel (photographer friend who took the photo), and Mike.

Pond report from last weekend: the water is still very high - it looks like we'll have underwater benches for the rest of the season - and Friday's thunderstorm left the shore a bit muddy. The water is warm and luxurious now, though, from all this hot weather, leading to pruny fingers all weekend...

Dear Hum,

You are perfect and pulsing slightly. Restful and alive, subtle and constant. I can hear you.

My auditory sensors

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More on Money

Well, it turns out that I have a persistent sense of doom and gloom about financial affairs that is truly out of step with reality.

I thought that I was pretending to be on top of our financial affairs hiding that I'm not at all. It turns out that I'm pretending to myself that I am "behind", "inept", "hopeless" when it comes to money. In fact, Bob and I have saved more than 5% of our total lifetime earnings. This number will only grow, given that early on, we did not save at all. Given that neither of us started our adult lives with a trust, or gift of seed savings, I'd say that to be 27 and 29, and have already saved 5% of our lifetime earnings is pretty damned good.

(Inner voice snarling: "don't say that. someone might read it and know more than you and be able to tell that you don't have a clue. you don't know that 5.75% is actually good. you're just pretending to know that it is!")

So. Given this Landmark Education seminar I'm taking on money, my main task is creating a possibility in the area of money that I can live into. The idea is that the way you are with money is the way you are in other areas as well. Clearly, I am insecure and self-doubting in the area of money. Guess what? I'm that way in other areas as well. So...

The possibility I'm creating for myself and my life is the possibility of security, adventure, and abundance.

Sounds pretty good, huh?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Last weekend I:

- Sea kayaked in Lane's Cove, Gloucester with Discovery Adventures
- Slept on and off for six hours on the beach
- Was charged $0.39 for oysters, shrimp cocktail, tuna and veggie skewers, fish chowder, a glass of riesling, a glass of port, and a rather large ice cream cake dessert
- Partied with gay boys at a very schmancy home where I was handed a glow stick and a drink with a blinking red ice cube
- Didn't wake up to make a 6:30 am swim at Walden
- Hiked Wantastiquet Mountain, got pretty sweaty, and encountered a lovely view of Brattleboro
- Swam, first unsuccessfully then later successfully, against the current at a relatively fast moving part of the Connecticut River
- Learned what happened to the rhinoceros, and about an affair involving tomorrow and blue booty

I am tan and peaceful and happy and loving the world outside my door. Anyone have any ideas? How can I make fundraising into an outdoor adventure?

Friday, June 30, 2006


It's been a little while since I was here. Probably has something to do with loving my job so much and no longer needing something with which to distract myself during the day.

I've been getting curious about something of late - how and why people awaken to their own philanthropic spirit. Being a fundraiser and all, I get an inside view of the various attitudes and approaches out there. Philanthropy is a real window into how someone feels about money, God, family, responsibility. Actually, it's often a window into how an individual values herself.

A personal for instance - I like to be thanked and acknowledged when I make a gift. As much as I hate to admit it, part of my motivation in being philanthropic is looking good. I want the people around me to know that I do my part. This is not all there is to it, but that desire to have outside validation is definitely present when I make a gift.

I'm taking a seminar about money right now. One of the first homework assignments asks participants to give away some amount of money that feels like a little too much. And part of the instruction includes not sharing that it is part of homework assignment with the person who receives the money.

My first and most immediate thought: I don't know how much to give away. I once gave someone $50 because there was something she really wanted to do, and I wanted her to have the opportunity to do it. That, at the time, felt like a little too much, but I continue to be glad I did it. Funny - everything I said earlier about how I am with organizations and gifts doesn't seem to apply when it comes to personal gifts. I didn't have any desire to hold my friend accountable to the $50 I gave her. Once the money left my hands, I was done.

Back to "I don't know how much to give away." I don't. Often, I cannot decide how much I can/should give to charity or political candidates. I give more generously than others I know in similar and better financial situations, and feel committed to it, but also second guess myself along the way - maybe this is too much, maybe I'm being irresponsible to myself and my husband. On the other hand, I know I could actually afford to give more away. How do I quantify my commitment to something through money?

I sometimes feel the same way shopping. Like the decision of affordability is somewhat arbitrary. There are so many choices when it comes to spending my money. I ignore the big things I really want - a house, interesting travel - because it is easier to spend small amounts of money very regularly on expensive groceries and eating out in restaurants.