Tag Archives: love

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness



As John Muir said… so many things. The world is big, and I want to take a good look at it before it gets dark. In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world. I could go on, I do go on, but really, the man said most of what there was to be said about why we should go outdoors.

Going to the woods is going home. Which is why, even though it was going to be over 90 degrees and humid this past weekend, even though work has been knocking me on the ground and kicking my ass, even though carrying a 30 pound pack over rocky terrain in 90 degree weather is like a checklist of everything a lady in my “condition” isn’t supposed to do, Raven and I filled our packs with clothes and snacks and gatorade powder and pursued our favorite mutual pastime.

And it was worth it. It was worth learning that hiking is harder now than it has ever been, worth being drenched and dizzy and exhausted, worth the several dozen mosquito bites that are now making me feel a little crazy, because when we set up our tent in that little glen and laid down, muscles weary, everything was better than it has been for months. I felt more like myself and more inside myself than I have in months. So that was nice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe also got to watch the above-pictured snake slither out of the woods and across the path at ludicrous speed to snatch up a frog in its jaws. I’ve never seen a snake catch something before, and I’ve never heard a sound like the squeaks that frog made. I didn’t love this, but it was fascinating. Nature, red in tooth and claw. You guys do your thing, and I’ll try not to feel too bad about it.

If it had been a human, I’d have yelled at them. But snakes is doin’ as snakes do, so what can we say to that?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’d like to say that next time, I’m bringing a bathing suit to jump in one of those lakes. But we all know that isn’t true, because next time, I’ll be far too “condition”-y to even consider letting the world see that much of me.

Even if “the world” is just the odd hiker or two.

And hikers can certainly be odd.



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Doctors of Domesticity

I spent a while yesterday trying to figure out where the past few weeks have gone, and I realized that they have been a blurred haze of unbounded domesticity. Moving into a new home – a real home, for equal partners with equal footing and equal floor space – has been mind-blowing.

For the first time in my life, I want to come home at the end of the day – and when I get home, I find myself doing things to make the house better. This must be what normal people feel like!

And Raven, well, he is thrilled. He is thrilled about the house, and about all of the reasons we moved into it. He has worked – hard – since last summer to make things stronger between us, and I see where he has changed.

It wasn’t a result of that, precisely, that led him to choose to do this, but it somehow meant a lot more than it ever has when he sweetly and thoughtfully bought something for me. For us, really, because we both bake, but intended as a gift for me. For our house, to mark this next stage of our lives together. I saw the clarity in his gift, and the fact that it comes from joy rather than something… less fun is the best part of it. It was incredibly generous, and it is incredibly shiny. I’m in love. With it, and with him.


Here’s to better baking, gestures that are truly heartfelt, and eating all of the cookies I can possibly fit in my stomach. That is really the only outcome of having one of these in my house.


Filed under building a life

Little Flowers

My sister had a baby this past weekend, her third girl.

Sadly, I am far, far away and couldn’t be there for the events or for giving the older nieces lots of hugs and buying them inappropriately over-the-top big-sister gifts. It’s driving me crazy. But thanks be to Facebook, my brother-in-law posted some pictures, including this one:


Which, I tell you what, really tore my heart right out of my chest because here is a picture I took almost six years ago:


It’s not really a secret that my sister’s oldest daughter is about my favorite person on the planet. If I have to choose one person to be on the desert island with me, sorry other-nieces-and-nephews (and husband) – it’s going to be my Spazmina.

(It just occurred to me to wonder – is it a desert island as in “sandy, dry, full of cactus” or desert as in deserted? This is probably a very important question!)

Anyway. Even though I haven’t met her yet (and just declared my primary allegiance to her oldest sister) I am just wild about this baby. I am wild about the way she looks just like her older sister, the middle one, except that she has curls. I am wild about how well-cooked she looks, totally edible. Nothing newborn scrawny about her, and yet still so tiny and perfectly squishy. I am wild to see how she grows up, what her accent will be like, how beloved she will be.

Sadly, that all has to wait. But until then, there’s Facebook. And for once, I am glad.

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Things to love about love

Dear everyone,

On a really nice April day in 2012, Raven and I did something really fun – we got married.




In the months since, we hit a few rough spots. I’m sure you picked up on that if you’ve read, oh, any of my posts since August.

But here’s the thing – and a thing I have never written about, because we always pledged not to be Those People. But the thing is – I really love this man. He has taught me so many things, and the wisdom has come in so many forms. In addition to the things I have learned from him, there are things I’ve learned because of him. Because of him, I decided to do better at life. I decided not to let myself drown forever. For whatever else we have or haven’t done for each other, this is a pretty big thing. I’m grateful for it. I know I’ve referenced Origins of Love before, but every time I listen to that one song, I am forcibly reminded of all that we have, and how lucky I’ve been.

Like stupid Adam and Eve 
They found their love in a tree 
God didn’t think they deserved it 
He taught them hate, taught them pride 
Gave them a leaf, made them hide 
Let’s push their stories aside 
You know the origin is you 

From the air I breathe 
To the love I need 
Only thing I know 
Is you’re the origin of love 
From the God above
To the one I love 
Only thing that’s true 
The origin is you

So there, now I am Those People, the ones who post pictures of themselves being happy. I never understood that, not until recently, when I started understanding the true value of happiness, of contentedness, of being… ok. Just fine. Dandy. When you are ok, there is room for things to grow. And room to be a person that I might have laughed at before – a person who says gosh, I love that man I married. We see each other for who we are, and for that, we are very lucky.

For you, everyone, I hope you are rich in the kinds of luck and love that you crave. I hope that you can be ok, that drama isn’t rocking your world too hard. In storms, I’ve learned, the even keel is the best keel.



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Fork & Spoon


Near 22nd St & 3rd Ave


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Without bounds, without conditions

I took this picture of my niece and myself at the Hollywood Bowl when I went to visit for her birthday weekend extravaganza last month. It is not a very good picture of either of us – she is much more joyful, more animated, more delightful than this picture would have you believe and… well, perhaps it is a perfectly fine picture of me, after all. I have resigned myself to the dark circles that have settled under my eyes during the last couple of months, and while I know I would benefit from better nutrition (note to self: probably take your iron supplement, just saying, wow, so pale…) I have been more focused on… getting through.

But this is not about me, for once. This is about her.

Or, perhaps, it is about love.

My niece was born in a difficult time, with both parents struggling for existence. Or, it might be better to say, my sister struggled for her existence. The father didn’t seem to resist his slide into darkness.

I loved this girl from the minute she was born, with an irrationally huge heart. Her emotional intelligence and brilliant sense of humor seemed to belie her difficult early years, but I think they are as much a symptom of that difficulty as they are her inherent qualities.

When things got too difficult and dangerous, my sister packed her car with as many things as she could, including her daughter, and came to live with me, 500 miles away. She cut off contact with the father, she started a new life. She went to school and got a job and met a wonderful, kind man and married him. They have a daughter, who I also love with every ounce of my being, but there is something different about my older niece.

She turned ten this year, and I see my younger self in her. I see her quick laughter, and see how quickly it turns to self-deprecation. I see her beauty, and I see how beautiful she doesn’t feel. She blushes when I tell her I am proud of her, and I can see her try to organize her feelings, but she doesn’t hear it nearly enough. Her stepfather is loving and kind to her, but it is very different. The little one is his child, the older one is… a little lost.

I want to fight for her, take this one on her behalf, because I have done the fighting and I know what it takes. But I am more aware (with each passing year) that she is the only one who can do the fighting she will have to do. It is almost a guarantee, engraved in stone, that the next ten years of her life will be terribly difficult. And watching someone walk into a fight – a fight that you don’t know how to rig in their favor – is just heartbreaking. I give her love with all my heart, and do everything I am able to do from thousands of miles away to tell her she is loved, is valued, is treasured, is respected. I know my sister does this, too, as much as she is able. I hope that it will be enough.


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Where quiet can be found


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