Recent Articles

from bulb to blossom

from bulb to blossom

| January 21, 2014 | 3 Replies

The paperwhites are in full bloom the morning I learn that Grandma has died. Before I turn on my phone and see the message, I happen to write in my journal about a conversation we had last month. She said to keep the bulbs after they bloom and use them again next year. Grandma has […]

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Wyoming Santa

Wyoming Santa

| December 31, 2013 | 5 Replies

It started with the Wyoming Santa. A brief, typed note and two gift cards from a postal box in Gillette. We looked at each other in consternation. Who do we know in Wyoming? And how do they know that David likes Starbucks and I like Cold Stone Creamery? We surveyed our parents, who proved themselves […]

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temporary sojourner

temporary sojourner

| December 19, 2013 | 5 Replies

This morning I swung by Walgreens to pick up some photos I ordered. Once they’re in their frames and wrapped, our Christmas gifts will officially be ready for our trip to Omaha. Can I tell you how psyched I am to be done? Well, the woman at Walgreens wouldn’t give me my order. Apparently a […]

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life, death, and faulty brake calipers

life, death, and faulty brake calipers

| December 11, 2013 | 5 Replies

The roads were icy Sunday morning. The car fishtailed a few times on the drive to church, so I developed a gentle rhythm. First gear for turns, early braking for red lights. But on the way home the brakes failed. I could feel it well before the intersection. I pressed my foot down harder. I […]

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2013 Thanksgiving newsletter

2013 Thanksgiving newsletter

| December 2, 2013 | 10 Replies

It’s the second morning of December. True to form, I started a Thanksgiving newsletter before Thanksgiving but didn’t finish it in time. I’ve cherished grand ambitions about the scope and detail of the letter, but today I want to write something short and sweet. Today I want to write about the Christmas cactus in bloom, […]

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Thanksgiving morning

Thanksgiving morning

| November 28, 2013 | 1 Reply

Thanksgiving morning. We wake to a text from Mom, who misses me. Next comes toast in the hotel lobby with David and his dad Mark. They head off to a flag football game and I add hot water to my tea cup. Blue skies and a mountain view from the hotel room.   I iron […]

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the winds of homecoming

the winds of homecoming

| November 22, 2013 | 3 Replies

Ah, not to be cut off, not through the slightest partition shut out from the law of the stars. The inner — what is it? if not intensified sky, hurled through with birds and deep with the winds of homecoming. (Rainer Maria Rilke) I fly above the broad waistline of the country on my way […]

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tree roots and laundry

tree roots and laundry

| November 13, 2013 | 1 Reply

My friend Ralph Eckhardt sent this picture the other day. He wrote, “I had just been thinking about your latest Breathe Deep and praying for you when I saw it, and it was a picture to me of how complicated life is that produces the wonder of who we are.” My mind keeps wandering back to […]

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Wichitastic

Wichitastic

| November 6, 2013 | 9 Replies

It’s a rainy morning in Wichita. Most of the colored leaves in the courtyard below our apartment still cling to their branches. The flags whip whirling music against the flagpoles. The cat sleeps, the light is soft, and a new month has begun. For several years I spent the month of November writing daily thank […]

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groundlessness and tea

groundlessness and tea

| October 31, 2013 | 5 Replies

Waking up in the morning feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done; maybe the hardest thing anybody has ever done. I might always feel this way in autumn, as darkness presses in from both sides. Our mornings spill over with common kindnesses. My husband lets me sleep twenty minutes more while he takes a […]

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while waiting

while waiting

| October 15, 2013 | 3 Replies

It started July 26th at 11:30 p.m. on I-40, 3.1 miles from our exit in Brownsville, Tennessee. We were planning what we’d do when we arrived at the motel. I’d check in at the front desk; David would coax Gus into his cage and gather what we needed for the night. We’d driven 15 hours, […]

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not yet

not yet

| October 1, 2013 | 3 Replies

Two weeks ago I rode against the wind to teach my second yoga class at Truesdell Middle School. News flash, Toto: sometimes in Kansas, the wind blows really hard. At moments I wondered if I should get off my bike and walk. I pushed the pedals and the pedals pushed back. The river appeared to […]

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Hafiz, hula, and surrender

Hafiz, hula, and surrender

| September 18, 2013 | 14 Replies

So I’ve been teaching this yoga class. My beloved friend Jennie bequeathed it to me shortly after I met her, which was shortly after we moved to Wichita. (I showed up at her yoga studio, two hours later she came over for tea, I gave her granola, we went for a swim in the pool, […]

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just so

just so

| September 13, 2013 | 4 Replies

Ben, Joy, Ally and Jack will be here in less than three hours, but I’m sitting down in my untidy bedroom to write a blog entry. Uncompleted tasks sun themselves on the desk. In the living room the fan hums loudly, drying the last of the laundry. I’ve barely begun the paper crane mobile. How […]

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skinned knees, fresh cantaloupe, Basic Principles

skinned knees, fresh cantaloupe, Basic Principles

| August 19, 2013 | 5 Replies

I haven’t skinned my knee in years, so when I stumbled over the extra-high curb at Mark and Cheryl’s three weeks ago, I knew it meant something. It’s a Basic Principle of mine: Everything Means Something. (Not all Basic Principles utilize italics, but this one likes to have them.) Well, it was a Basic Principle until a […]

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dear Quentin

dear Quentin

| August 12, 2013 | 21 Replies

Dear Quentin, Happy August! I miss your songs and stories. Remember how we used to find luminous, common things on the playground at recess? I will always remember that. You are one of the best people I know at finding luminous, common things. I’m happy that you and your mom e-mailed me. You asked, “What […]

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Wow! A secret message from your teeth!

Wow! A secret message from your teeth!

| August 2, 2013 | 4 Replies

A thousand years ago*, in the month of June, Mom came up for my bridal shower. The night she arrived, we sat on my bed with take-out sushi and wine. Afterward, we opened our fortune cookies. Hers said something vaguely apropos and thoroughly unremarkable. This is what we expect of fortune cookies, if we expect […]

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the Sun and the shower

the Sun and the shower

| June 10, 2013 | 5 Replies

I woke early Sunday morning, wearied by the ludicrous night visions only a bride-to-be must endure. A shower rinsed off the outermost layer of fretfulness. Mom was still sleeping, so I took myself to the beach, aching for the cleansing only salt water can afford. A year ago I was at Rowe Conference Center, soaking […]

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all the colors

all the colors

| May 24, 2013 | 12 Replies

Weddings mean flowers, right? I’m sure most summer brides have already ordered their bouquets, but that item is still languishing on my to-do list. My focus for the moment is on a different variety of flower. Being a glutton for connection, I’m inviting a host of women I love to contribute a flower to my wedding […]

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something to bury

something to bury

| May 16, 2013 | 2 Replies

Tuesday morning I found a dead field mouse. It was in the shed where I keep my bike. My breath caught on the sharp edge of the morning bustle. This mouse is here for me, I thought. I set my bicycle aside. I pulled a leaf  from the earth and stooped beside the mouse, ready to […]

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70 miles per hour

70 miles per hour

| May 12, 2013 | 4 Replies

Driving home from the Grub Street conference last Sunday, I worked my camera with my right hand and the steering wheel with my left. The Cinco de Mayo sun made its languid descent over southbound traffic, casting trees and shrubbery in unprejudiced glow. The hula girl on the dashboard chuckled at me. Who tries to […]

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the Monday after

the Monday after

| April 22, 2013 | 5 Replies

Last Monday morning I planned to write about Vespa the dog. While my friends the Worsfolds take their customary April trip, I inhabit their home and spoil their Italian spinone with long, meandering walks. The tradition began five years ago, just two weeks after I’d told my husband I wanted a divorce. The realities of […]

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looking back

looking back

| April 12, 2013 | 2 Replies

Looking back, you’ll want to be able to say that you walked in all kinds of weather. You’ll want to know that you caught the branches in the midst of their greening. You’ll want to remember how they wore the droplets with casual elegance, like Jackie O. in her pearls. Perhaps you were weary, but […]

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in praise of all things sweet

in praise of all things sweet

| April 5, 2013 | 2 Replies

Blessed be the first bite of birthday cake. Hallowed be that moment, long before the gears of memory began to turn, when I learned that Sweet could eclipse mashed pears and mother’s milk. Did I learn the way Lydia did, encircled by family, smearing frosting on my flawless face? No matter. Blessed be that day. […]

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the momentous in-between

the momentous in-between

| March 24, 2013 | 7 Replies

On my walk to the beach I snap pictures of other people’s yards.   Winter and spring coexist right now, and for all my talk of warmer weather, I’ll be sorry if I miss this. The momentous in-between. The earth softens underfoot. New-minted green peeps out from the latest snow. My life coincides with this […]

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short trip to the compost bucket

short trip to the compost bucket

| March 21, 2013 | 4 Replies

After the show, bouquets took over the apartment, preening above my life’s neglected minutia. Delphinium trumpeted above the half-written birthday cards and half-read letters; gerbera daisies flounced atop books and script pages and the city census. I would love to love fancy floral arrangements. Indeed, I welcome them into my home with the cordiality I’d […]

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like washing the dishes while singing your heart out

like washing the dishes while singing your heart out

| March 9, 2013 | 5 Replies

As a kid I used to sing my heart out while I washed the dinner dishes. I’d gaze at my ponytailed reflection in the window above the sink as a soundtrack blared from the tape deck on the counter. I can chart my childhood by the shows I was in. At age eight it was […]

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how do you solve a problem like yourself?

how do you solve a problem like yourself?

| February 23, 2013 | 2 Replies

When I signed on to play Maria in The Sound of Music, the decision was a no-brainer. The iconic musical has been dear to my heart since age eleven, when my dad played Captain von Trapp and I played Louisa at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu, Hawaii. Six years ago I teamed up with my friend […]

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books were never the point

books were never the point

| February 16, 2013 | 4 Replies

Driving to Suzanne’s for Book Club took forty-five minutes longer than it should have. I suppose rush hour is as good a time as any to close down roads for snow removal. Silly Somerville. As we inched our way along the detour, a middle-aged man in a Eurovan kept bleating his horn. Oh, how we […]

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turning toward the light

turning toward the light

| January 26, 2013 | 2 Replies

I’ve never felt happier to sweep the floor. I’ve put it off for weeks and weeks. Shiny hardwood keeps secrets better than most surfaces, and what gracious guest would ever complain? Still, my eyes were drawn to the places where the dust bunnies congregate. Corners can be ugly, honest places. There are seasons in all […]

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the definition of darkness

the definition of darkness

| January 12, 2013 | 5 Replies

My hips slide out of place for the second week in a row. “It’s been very mild both these times,” says my chiropractor after I explain that I’ve been doing the physical therapy exercises each day. “You’re doing what you need to do. Just give it time.” She is encouraging. Perky, even. I slip the […]

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new and not-so-new

new and not-so-new

| December 31, 2012 | 1 Reply

On the train home to Boston yesterday I gazed out the window at the new fallen snow. Celebrating my birthday with my family in Philadelphia had gladdened and wearied me in equal measure. Holiday hubbub provides little space for the solitude that keeps me sane, so I was counting on Amtrak for restoration. I turned my […]

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if this isn’t nice, i don’t know what is

if this isn’t nice, i don’t know what is

| December 25, 2012 | 3 Replies

Lately my heart has felt near to splitting its seams. It’s partly because this is my first Christmas far from my family. It’s also the Newtown tragedy, and the polar ice caps melting, and the slowly subsiding pain in my body. Lately the world’s immeasurable sadness has been crowding the margins of my neat little […]

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the blog entry I planned to write

the blog entry I planned to write

| December 14, 2012 | 3 Replies

The blog entry I planned to write today was about my lost earring, the silver flying pig earring that disappeared while we were in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. I’ve had those earrings since my pig-collecting adolescence (inaugurated by my star-studded turn as Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web the Musical). I consider them lucky, mostly because I’ve held […]

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in pain’s classroom

in pain’s classroom

| December 8, 2012 | 8 Replies

The month of November was shrouded in misery. Did teaching feel impossible because I was sick all month or was I sick all month because teaching felt impossible? There were three consecutive colds (well, it might have been one long cold with two brief intermissions). My hips were sliding out of place every couple weeks. […]

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profusion

profusion

| November 11, 2012 | 4 Replies

Okay, sulky self. You woke up still sick, but you might as well get out of bed. Put on your sneakers and your hat. The day is warm and there’s an entire world out there to see. The word of the day is profusion. Not officially or anything. It’s been years since you had a […]

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a lesson from Lydia

a lesson from Lydia

| October 29, 2012 | 4 Replies

This weekend I visited my family in Pennsylvania. I went down to see a CD release concert by Constant Recourse, Ben and Jess’s band. I went down to see their daughter Lydia, whose presence I’ve pined after since July. I went down for family dinners and walks with Mom. I went down to admire Dad’s […]

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trees, sparrows & jackhammers

trees, sparrows & jackhammers

| October 21, 2012 | 2 Replies

A few years back, I started walking the labyrinth at my school. In the midst of a bustling teaching day, taking ten minutes to walk and breathe feels courageous. It’s how I remind myself that presence is more essential to my students than productivity. I plod between painted lines on the cement patio, crunching leaves […]

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when Mom came to visit

when Mom came to visit

| October 11, 2012 | 3 Replies

When Mom came to visit we walked to the beach and stared at the waves. We spoke of mundane matters: an old friend who got married, Facebook photos. We ate frozen yogurt for dinner and pizza for dessert. When Mom came to visit we took turns on my heating pad. We’d both just been to […]

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the cure for unwanted weather

the cure for unwanted weather

| October 7, 2012 | 2 Replies

The cure for unwanted weather is immersion. You envisioned a scenic drive to New Hampshire but woke to interminable drizzle? Snap pictures from the driver’s seat as you zoom up I-93. The blaze of autumn is only snuffed out if you don’t show up to see it. If it is not truly pouring, ride your bike […]

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keep watching

keep watching

| September 28, 2012 | 3 Replies

The day after David and I got engaged, I rode my bike out to Salem to walk a friend’s dog. A host of purple-gray clouds were congregating in the southeast, and the sun overhead shone like it knew its time was nearly up. The black lab frolicked through the park while fear clenched a sweaty […]

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source

source

| September 19, 2012 | 2 Replies

In honor of the new school year, I offer an essay I wrote last spring at a writing retreat offered by The Sun. Thanks to the great Alison Luterman for the prompt; thanks to Elin’s mom Deb for the picture; thanks most of all to Elin for the inspiration. Six-year-old Elin has a new song to […]

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play of light

play of light

| September 15, 2012 | 3 Replies

Friday afternoon I found myself in a funk. I was home from school, a week’s worth of postponed, pleasant tasks stacked in my mind, and nothing sounded appealing. I ate my favorite snack and could barely taste it. I reclined on my bed with a magazine and wanted to claw out its glossy pages. I […]

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freedom of the blank page

freedom of the blank page

| September 9, 2012 | 1 Reply

I’ve filled up dozens of journals over the past twenty-ish years, and in the first entry of each one I’m inclined to write how lovely it feels to hold a book of blank pages in my hands. I like to wonder who I’ll be by the time I fill it up with words. No, that’s […]

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the stillness of the room after a chapter of Ann Patchett

the stillness of the room after a chapter of Ann Patchett

| September 5, 2012 | 3 Replies

When we encounter beauty – when we open up and let it in – it can jumpstart our senses. I finish a chapter of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto and place the book beside me, feeling its loveliness settle from my brain into my lower organs. I take in the ordinary vistas of my apartment: the […]

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return of the moofie

return of the moofie

| September 3, 2012 | 2 Replies

Few people would set out to make moofies. I blundered into my first batch two weeks ago when I found myself with a bowl of cookie dough and no cookie sheet. (I’d tossed my ancient specimen weeks before and forgotten to replace it. It may be unnecessary to note that I don’t do a lot […]

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summer slips away

summer slips away

| August 26, 2012 | 8 Replies

I’ve been carrying the sadness of summer’s end on my shoulders like a shawl I’ll need in winter. More than any other season, summer intimates eternity: the long hours of light, the effortless warmth. More than any other season, summer seems to slip away before I’m ready. I gaze at the dying flowers on my […]

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messy desk zen

messy desk zen

| August 23, 2012 | 4 Replies

Today I will clean my desk. Since I live in a one-room studio, I endeavor to keep visible surfaces clutter-free. I rarely let my desk look the way it does right now. This morning I woke with my brain abuzz like a beehive, zipping through all I hope to accomplish before I go back to […]

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how to find your voice

how to find your voice

| July 4, 2012

Start as soon as you slide down the birth canal. Be loud and unaware. Alternate wailing with intent listening. Coo a little. Make all the sounds your body will muster. Be delighted. Pay close attention to those who listen to you and respond. If possible, store up their wonder for future nourishment. You’ll need it. […]

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