Friday, January 30, 2009


I finally started working.  I didn't really mean to but it happened anyway.  I have a few starter tasks before I can do any organizing in the English department.  One of those is a newsletter for the new semester, and while I really only intended to look at some possible templates, I somehow got sucked into the project and spent almost all day piecing together articles and important dates and a pretty, Spring-ish layout.  At 2pm I had to stop, take a shower and get dressed - I was needed in the Languages and Lit. office to sign some paperwork.  

Now I'm swiftly wrapping up some baking for my first army-sponsored event (lacking The Staff Sergeant) - a cookie swap.  I've got 8 minutes left on the last batch of Kitchen Sink Cookies and then I'm off.  They smell de-lish!  After meeting some of the wives and of course, swapping cookies, I'll be headed to Nashville to continue the birthday celebrations.  

I could get used to classwork and working from home.  It's doing little to discourage me from being a lifer.  It's been a wonderfully relaxing Friday.  Here's to a good weekend for everyone else!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

If this were easy, everyone would be doing it.

"...if there's one thing I learned, it's that when our servicemen and women go to war, their families go with them. I saw how they take care of each other, heard how they fill in whenever the system fails and discovered that the trials they faced always were matched by the hope they shared that better days are still ahead." - Michelle Obama
Thank you for being strong enough to hold me up, live your dreams, and keep us safe all at the same time.  My flowers are beautiful and this morning's brief call made my birthday wonderful!  I hope the deluge of care packages adequately convey how much I love you and how proud I am to be waiting for you to come home.  I'd choose this life again and again and again to spend it with you.  See you in dreams tonight - let's meet somewhere warm!

Dear Birthday Fairy:

To mark my 25th year I would like a bottle of this - 

For this to come early - 

A little more of this -

A LOT of this -

And maybe one of these?
(that last one was for the kittens whose lives I save by loving this ring.  Don't sweat, Sweetheart, it has nothing to do with you!  It's all for the kittens...)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

thinking Spring

I'm ebaying from the floor of my living room, right in front of a heavenly space heater.  I just bought this poster for my study.  It says, "HELLO, Spring," while the snow outside says, "Stay warm in your jammies all day long because beyond your walls it is certainly Winter!"  I also like the poem: "Again the forest is fragrant/ The soaring larks lift up aloft/ With them the sky that to our/ Shoulders was heavy" - Rilke.

There are many hours in the day that I wish larks would lift aloft the weight on my shoulders.

Snow Day

Yesterday the ice came as predicted, though the worst of it was north of here [thankfully].  The skeletal limbs looked sugar-dipped and enchanted, and I can say that because I didn't lose power.  Paducah stole the spotlight on this morning's Today Show.  That's what I mean by "just north of here" - not so far North.  Driving into Nashville was incredible with the glimmering tree lines on either side and the frosted fields and rock walls adorned with icicles as tall as them.  For part of the day I didn't have cable or internet, but that's small in comparison to some others' inconveniences.  A friend of mine spent the night in a hotel after an outage at her home, making a memorable first birthday for her daughter.  

Today the weather softened with snow, weightless wafting snow that fell momentarily so thick that it was hard to see down the block.  It makes me wish that he was here instead of cooking in the desert.  It does this so rarely in Tennessee that even as an adult, it makes me giddy and excited, and I put on boots early in the morning to go out to snap photos and stomp around in the whiteness.  Unfortunately, I can't find the cord to upload my pictures from today, but trust that they look similar to that one up top and less like the ice-encased berries that I stole from a local news website to illustrate yesterday's conditions.  

I'm making snowball cookies to commemorate the snow day he's missing, thus increasing the cheese factor but I care not.  I care package with no shame.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009







Monday, January 26, 2009

Just when I thought sweet Tennessee wouldn't let me down, Winter returned quite unusually. Tonight, in fact, there are warnings of a second "ice storm" for this season. There's too much drama in that forecast, I think. It's more like, "possible inclimate weather," but you know how the news is these days. If they don't get your pulse racing, what's the point?

While I do like a justifiable excuse to spend my day in sweats doing lots and lots of nothing, I also DESPERATELY need a trim.  I'm still getting used to this small town business and having to drive an hour for a quality cut.  I have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning that I would very much like to make.  That's Plan A.  The contingency includes icy asphalt and a trial run at soft pretzels from this new cook book  I'm so itching to break in.  They are in the line-up for one of February's care packages. [Yes, I've planned that far...and further.]  But I'd like to practice at least once before shipping off a box of failure that he has to pretend was wonderful.


Friday, January 23, 2009


My title photo seems quite out of place since our serious Winter broke today after a week.  While I appreciate the season and I like the crispness, the clean sensation of cold air, and our occasional snow, I was kind of glad to hear the birds chirping and to feel a warm preview of Spring.  Also, the sooner Winter subsides, the sooner he'll be home.

I've made it almost two weeks.  I'd be lying if I didn't own up to some pretty wretched days, some horrifying moods, and supplements to help me sleep.  And honestly there was at least one full day I wasn't sure I could do this.  My dad always tells me that the darkest hour is before daybreak and here it's certainly applicable.  There is a full range of uncontrollable emotions that go hand in hand with sending the man who holds your heart off to war.  The one I'm most ashamed of is that particular episode of anger.  Anger that he's gone, that he left me, anger at the universe for fating me to this position, anger at myself for blaming him.  It isn't like that and I know it.  This isn't something he did to me, however the knowing better only amplifies inevitable feelings of guilt.  The Staff Sergeant is a good man, the best, and I know how very lucky I am to so proudly stand by him (most of the time).  Then daybreak--and I awoke a new woman, the fever had gone and I felt like myself again.  

No one ever says that this life is full of ease and rose gardens, but somehow abandoning it is impossible.  I've hurled myself into a care packaging oblivion.  Every time I feel like crying I start planning the next one.  I've gotten back into school and am getting ready to start a new job.  All of that and I'm slowly chipping this new house into some semblance of order.  Tonight I hung my closet bar for all of the clothes I have that wouldn't fit into the tiny crevices this house deemed closet space.  I was so motivated by that small victory that I sorted the storage room and put together my new desk chair.  Now I'm sitting for the first time at my study space and not a moment too soon.  A magenta glow falls over the old tin table top I'm using as my work surface.  I have a victory cocktail to the right of my laptop and soon I'll go fish out a good photo of my courageous soldier to put in the corner. 

Moments like this let me peek from beneath the layers of Overwhelming just long enough to see the light.  I can do this thing that challenges me, this living on my own, this new town and old house of Murphy's law.  I can wait, be patient, be okay while he's away because he's doing the same thing for me.  

Sunday, January 18, 2009

After an unusual glance at Facebook and my friends' lives, I feel suddenly very boring.  Last night I had a glass of wine by myself and watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants on Lifetime.  It was the Saturday before classes start again, although it would bode poorly for my social life any day of the week.  That little sliver of truth says...more than I'd like it to.  And before I surveyed last night and the general situation of things, I had considered catching a matinee movie today, again by myself.  

I guess the good news is that I'm not afraid to get out and do things solo, since it's gonna be a long solo ride.  The bad news is that I still feel incredibly dull.

In other good news, and it's also quite exciting for me, I got to talk to The Staff Sergeant yesterday.  Bliss.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I live in the house of Murphy's Law, the bloody-cold house of Murphy's Law - with frozen kitchen pipes and my feet are numb.  And that's just the latest thing that could go wrong and did.  I hate this house...

But in the house of Murphy's Law cookies are love.  I made a special batch this afternoon with all of my heart and longing thoughts to find him in far off places:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. cocoa
baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
6-8 oz. peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl

In a large bowl beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs and beat well.  Stir in the flour-cocoa mix, then fold in peanut butter chips

Drop the cookie dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes, then let cool on racks.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

wasting time

It's almost four in the morning and I can't sleep.  My mind is empty - alert but empty.  And it's really cold outside [and in].  If I didn't have Mom here, I'd clank around in the kitchen and make his cookies, watch the early sun burn the sky into rosy pinks, and fire up every stove eye for its bright orange heat.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

hoping and praying

It's 7:25am where he is.  It's already tomorrow; he's one day closer than I am to the end of this deployment.  As I'm sitting in my living room watching the 10 o'clock news, I can't keep my thoughts away from him.  I wonder what he is doing, if he's having a cup of coffee to start his morning or if maybe he is just now rolling over and blinking in another day.  I wonder if he's thinking of what I'm doing.  I wonder if he knows that I'm thinking of him, sitting here on the sofa, bundled up in his much-too-large hoodie, wishing I could find that crook where I fit under his arm, into him.  

Most likely he's the kind of busy that forgets first-thing coffee.  That's how he is, focussed and deliberate.  He's probably been awake for a while already, keeping everyone else in line.  But maybe he does know that my thoughts are all colored by him.  I've started thinking that we might be connected enough for him to sense my mindful vigil, or maybe that's just a game I play to dissolve the potency of so many miles.  

For the first time since he left I have managed an even keel.  It all depends on how busy I can keep myself or how many distractions I can cram into a day.  I slept in his bed last night and did some laundry and continued my rediscovery of Six Feet Under from his couch.  I can feel him most strongly there and I swear his sheets cleanse my dreams.  I woke rested this morning to very wintry temps, but not as cold as predicted for tomorrow.  I got up slowly and showered and packed my stuff and left, locking the door behind me.  I'll be back soon but he knows.  

I met a friend for lunch and then met the cable guys back at my place where I was given the gift of technology once again!  And after they had climbed some poles and clamored  around in the basement, and asked a lot of questions and scanned the goodies on the desktop of my computer, I had internet and limited basic cable [and thoughts of restraining orders].  Hooray!  Then my mom showed up for a few days of assisted unpacking and the performance of a circus side show that I can't describe without visual aids.  I will say that the immediate addition of alcohol made it more bearable, made everything more bearable.  Even though this is how the crazies live, my mind stayed away from sad, sad thoughts, the kind that split your heart and punish you with too many tears before bed.  It was a good day, considering.

And now I'm thinking about bed because it's getting late where I am.  I'm toasty warm in his sweatshirt.  I'm getting ready to pull out the book I started reading the morning he shipped out.  I'm full on peaceful, wonderful memories and thoughts of him and looking forward to the cookies I'll make tomorrow for our first care package of this trip.  

[safest thoughts to you, my soldier, and all of my heart, too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When an ocean sits right between us

How do you write a swallowing heartache? How do you convey the emptiness left behind, the no-one-else-is-home-ness, the reality of letting him go because this is what he was made for?  

All along I knew I would have to--let him be less mine and more Soldier.  So he is now, far away for too long.  And it isn't fair because I want to know he is always safe, and selfishly, because I want his eyes to start my days and for his quiet breath to end them.  I want to be able to touch and smell and kiss him and to forget my awkward so-long and the reasons I had to do it.  

It's hard describing the way your emotions hijack any notion of self control when you have had to imagine him leaving with your heart in one of his velcro pockets.  The tactful threads wear thin and fray and just when he needs you to be the strongest, you're burned out and completely transparent.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I feel like the mess of the new house, completely un-unpacked with warped floors. Sometimes the harshly misaligned door frames and dips and crests of deep, blue carpet make that place feel disorienting, like living inside a fun house. I, too, appear normal from the curb and unaffected by shifting and compacting ground. But on the inside, my mind must be reshaping with these changes, buckling and bending like the old hard wood in the dining room.

Next week I'll get to the unlabeled boxes scattered among the cavities of my house, slice through the packing tape that was found only in time to seal some. And maybe I'll measure the windows, finally, to hang curtains instead of fitted sheets from finishing nails hammered into old plaster with the heel of a patten flat. I'll move furniture into sensible groupings where they aid in the fluid movement of my traffic patterns [only], and I will stack my books against each other, cozy in the arms of bookshelves, plates in kitschy strawberry cabinets. All the while, the floors will flex and sag still, like they have for years and years and years, and my heart will ache like the contoured bones of my house the first time the earth settled beneath its foundation.

The good news is that it still stands. While its doors have been shaved into angled forms and most of my furniture is poised on three legs, there is still a house that has seen the whole world evolve into something quite different than it was. I don't feel nearly as strong as the boards that built it or the hard plaster that encased it, though. I don't feel as strong as everyone tells me I have to be. I don't feel strong at all, really.

Friday, January 2, 2009

on to something new [ready or not]

I have so much to say and so little energy and liberty to etch it all across this screen.  Christmas left something to be desired, new year's eve, however was perfect -- more perfect than perfect.  This life has a way of letting one glaze every moment with high-gloss hyper-perfection, given the right timing and circumstance.  Each breath and smile is caught and archived, pinned like fragile specimens behind glassy walls, slow motion memories with over-pronounced dialogue and historical inaccuracy.  

I err most often on optimism -- foolish, really.  I imagine the still frames more richly colored, sugary and scripted.  For example, I omit certain attempts at death-by-Dorito-consumption and possible engagement rings (on my mother's finger), large life-engulfing trunks, drunken welcome-homes, all consuming guilt, the kind of "good bye" that truly has the power to grind one's heart to dust.  I have added brightly adorned Christmas trees, comfort and relaxation, smiles, security.  Next year will be just long enough for my mind to fully buy into all of those forged memories and I will probably be surprised when it plays out just the same.