Wednesday, July 27, 2011

you can now find me...

::  At roots + wings, where I will reflect on the experiences of family and motherhood, or
::  At maps + poetry, where I will reflect on the landscape of writing and reading...

... more or less.  It's divisive and compartmentalized and will sloppily spill over, but it makes sense to me and I suppose that's mostly what matters.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

538: roots + wings

OK, I give up. I had thought two blogs made sense--one was more private and belonging to a specific subject, and then there was here, which was free for me to write about whatever. I sheared off and talked about maternity because I didn't want to bore the socks off my friends who weren't enormously interested in babies. But I've found it isn't just about babies.

And, of course, I find myself exactly where I was when I finished teaching high school. Closure. The end of something that frustrated me. And I said good-bye to that space in hopes of finding something better. This place, field | work, was about existing in a time spent in graduate school, chasing down that dream of the MFA. And I love it here, and I might come back to it. Because I'm not done writing.

But what I have learned, in the months since Maya was born, is that little time belongs to me. Little space is my own. Our house has been typically taken over by the piles of little things--little pants and little diapers and little rings of wood to teethe on. And I love it.

But it's all I can do to keep up with the photographs I take, the little narratives of progress, and since I have the privilege and opportunity to be a stay-at-home mama for a little while, I'm going to take it and embrace it. Once in a while other things will sneak in, but probably always with the context of this enormous change in my life. When I found myself closing the doors to Lind Hall with Maya in my arms and I turned to that blog to write about it, knew I would post about the poetry reading after not here, but on that blog, I knew it was time for me to set this one to rest.

I might come back. But for now, I don't want to feel guilty that this space hasn't been updated in weeks, that I've neglected to write about my surgery and my maternal grandfather's passing and whatever else. I want to relish this time I have with Maya because it passes so quick.

So I'll be over at roots + wings, and though it's essentially a mama-blog, I hope that isn't off-putting to anyone who stops by for more general reading. I'll also keep updating flickr. And I may come back here, you know, when the world doesn't have this filter, but right now, I think that blog is good, and I'm enjoying writing in my notebooks and working on my manuscript and keeping quiet.

Oh: and I'm happy. I've never felt happier or luckier in my life. And it's not just about Maya, but about the wholeness of the world, though she's made the tough stuff easier. So it's time for me to celebrate that.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Congratulations are in order: a week ago, Kezia made an honest man of my brother-in-law in a courthouse in Denver, Colorado. Eric is Ryan's older brother, though people who learn it are often surprised, not only because Ryan's hairline is rapidly slipping back and his beard gives him a mature look, but also because Ryan has all the "grown up" accessories--the house, the wife, the child, the job that stretches back several years, and on. Eric majored in recreational management in college and can be found in gorgeous cities in the west--we've visited him in Mt Hood and Lake Tahoe, and now we'll see him in August in Colorado for his wedding celebration--where he works closely with snowboards and kayaks and is known to spend summers living in corners of the mountain in a tent with a cooler of beer. He has the capability to make friends with just about anyone, as he has the Kiefer-traited "good heart," and perhaps would make a good poster boy for the term "free spirit."

We met Kezia (who is from Brazil originally) this past winter holiday, where I spent the majority of it fatly pregnant and spewing forth illness for three solid (or, rather, unsolid) days, so I didn't quite get to know her, though I did have the opportunity to observe some very cheerful game-playing with the four-year-old nephew Jimmy, whom I adore. I look forward to more adventures and their beautiful celebration this late summer. Congratulations, congratulations.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I know spring is on its edge here: I wake, my daughter's warm body wiggling against me, her soft fists walloping me in the cheek, peel my shirt up, and listen to the birds singing the morning hello; our black lab mix Zephyr pounds against the storm door, bolts to the fence corner near the garage where squirrels and rabbits bravely slip in to sift through the compost I pile near the raspberry bush; I have killed my first centipede from the basement and am looking forward to this year's crop even less than ever. But we still have these charming little ruts of dirty snow, little wedges in the shadiest parts of the lawn, just waiting for deactivation and a path to the basement, which flooded one year, or maybe the Mississippi, twelve blocks away and full of flood-warnings on the Weather Channel. This is the time of year our geography feels like swampland, where I wonder how the trees survive such prolific abuse, where I fantasize about a garden I'll neglect a month into it anyway (last year was the first we ever did a mid-summer Serious Weeding, where we could find the fattened green beans between the dandelions).

That little squirrel up there? We spotted him on a walk downtown, after spotting a flattened, yellow-toothed squirrel (this, we are realizing, is the best time to discover both a prolifery of soda cans and other waste as well as the bloated bodies of urban wildlife; the snow snaps back so quickly, the sidewalks become dotted), and he gripped that tree branch in such a furious panic, I couldn't help but relate. (I'm glad it wasn't to the dead squirrel instead.) There are five weeks left to the semester, and though I'm going to miss my regular socialization with other writers, I am going to be grateful to not have to parcel out naptime in such a panic. Here she sleeps in my arms, my left falling asleep below the elbow, and I cock my recent poetry collection at an angle, trying to keep my fingers from falling asleep, trying to nudge the little neon flags in the margins without waking her. I am desperate for a nap myself, but when Ryan comes home, I know I have to scurry to the dining room table and dig through the pile of flagged tomes, see if I can cobble something together that makes moderate sense while taking feeding breaks and trying to decide what's for dinner and maybe even sneak in a shower. I relish the shower. I even floss more because it allows some lingering.

(The walk downtown was lovely: we stopped at the local bookstore to take in some new-book smells and then checked out a brand new food co-op opened in a former antique store.)

I'm still coming to terms with balancing this new mama obsessed with peering at her child (see: roots + wings) and the thinking person I was before. This isn't to say my mama-self doesn't think, but it thinks in such vastly different terms, I get confused, muddled. I have been generally less and less intelligent as the years have passed; I doubt this has anything to do with reproduction. There's a part of me who wants to read every parenting book that exists and knit myself until my fingers are cramped into position and stare at her all day long, but there's also a part of me that wants to tromp upstairs with a book in hand and read while a thunderstorm rages outside and I can feel all my appendages. I'm still figuring out how to balance that out. Fortunately, all of this happening in my imagination is under one roof.

This summer, we have many adventures planned, and I'm in need. I've had a funky three-month hibernation. We have our annual camping trip with the Urtels and Chad; we have my grandmother's 90th birthday in Michigan; we also have three weddings in three disparate sections of the country--Cape Cod, Austin TX, and Denver. (Aunt, my sister, his brother, respectively.) Oh, and I have another trip to Austin in June for a shower and bachelorette party; it will be Maya's second road trip of significance and her first without her papa. We'll see how he handles a string of Maya-less days. Personally, my body has trouble if it goes more than a few hours without her; when Ryan returns her to my arms, there's an almost physical relief at her warmth and weight returning.

One of my favorite former big-bookstore co-workers has started a blog after bidding a farewell to the addictions of Facebook, and it's become a bit of much-needed amusement to my days. She has an excellent voice, a shared aversion to housework, and three boys who are much loved and much maligned. It's the kind of perfect sarcasm and frankness that I miss from our overly long breaks and my stockroom visits.

And now my little bug is awake and smiling at me with her tongue sticking out and rubbing her face and is covered in black dog fur. (Note to self: no more pets with dark fur. Blending is best.) I can't tell you how many strands of fur I've swept out of her eyes; it's amazing those blues aren't a bit more irritated or she hasn't gone blind. She growls hello to all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

535: bay beach wildlife sanctuary

This weekend, we went to Wisconsin to visit our parents. There's been a lot of news from both sides of the family, which I'll share soon enough, some wonderful, some terrible, but everything, since the world changed, or really, okay, our world changed, family has become Family and it's all so warm and safe.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

534: art gallery'ing

As our two-month-old ages, we have begun to make more and more treks out. This was a lovely evening--dinner with our lovely friend Angie, a wander around a gallery, and my mother in town for the weekend.

I admit, sometimes I forget there is an other self, an Other That Isn't Mother. But I've returned to campus, I've had a few poetry get-togethers, and book club, and I realize I can meld these two facets, Life Before Maya and Life After.

Shawn, who did my poem tattoo and who is married to one of my dearest friends Meryl, and his friend Albie have formed a collaborative art project called Never Quiet Never Soft. That's Shawn below, holding Maya, and below that, Albie holding Sia (Shawn and Meryl's nephew, Casey and Ardeshir's son).

Maya, the little birdhouse visitor. I may have layers, and I may be remembering the wonder inside of me, but right now, what I love best, is finding the wonder in her. We're having a fantastic time, and I've been rubbing the edges of my thesis manuscript, finding ways for it to fit together properly, one eye on her slumbering or Ryan rocking her. I say it so many times, and I'll say it again: I love us as three.

Friday, February 25, 2011

533: a few photo highlights

Life has been good and chaotic here. It's been quiet and painful and wonderful and all three at once with a few more in between. I've been moderately good about keeping up with roots + wings, but it seems my bubble strains to go far beyond this.