“That day I consciously picked up his Renaissance attitude to life and decided that if I couldn’t decide between theology and art and music, then perhaps I would just do them all.” Maggi Dawn in Giving It Up
February was a fun trip to meet dear ones from the Internet in person, a gathering, and weird weather.
It was affirmation, anxiety, a bit of melancholy, and a grounded feeling that I’ve been missing lately. Welcome back, old friend.
I attended the IF: Gathering in Austin, and I stayed with Story Sessions sisters at a house in Dripping Springs. The conference was good and nerve-wracking and triggery and crowded and inspiring and loud. The stay at the house was relaxing and lovely and easy (for the most part). And Nicole and Jennifer gave me shells and found poetry (don’t judge their gift by the quality of the picture above).
February weather is on crack. I mean, I know I am in Texas, so I guess I am used to it. But it was icy the first half of the month and 60-70 degrees the second half. And today it’s “icy” again.
Here’s what I was into this February:
I am on schedule with my goal to write 100 blog posts this year. I totally count posts that I guest-write for other places.
One of my poems was featured on the Story Sessions site – How It Begins and Ends
Possibly the most important thing I will do this year – guest praying as part of Osheta Moore’s Standing our Ground…in Prayer series
I am also on schedule with Fishbowl word count. It might actually get finished this year!
I read about poetry and food this month. More accurately, I read books that made me want to go to places.
My favorite poetry was Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings. It makes me want to go back to Cape Cod.
I finished Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro. There’s not much chance that I will ever make any of the gorgeous dishes in this book, but if I decided to, there’s plenty of detail in the recipes. There is a great chance, however, that I will make a point to visit the Plum Bistro the next time I’m in Seattle to taste the gorgeous dishes in this book.
My favorite thing that I read in February was probably Style Me Vintage: A Guide to Hosting Perfect Vintage Events. When and if, at long last, I finally get married, the bachelorette party will be a Speakeasy. I already have the playlist started and half the menu planned (and by “half the menu,” I do mean the beverage portion).
This month, I learned what everyone was raving about. Downton Abbey and Sherlock. I love Downton Abbey, but I need to own Sherlock and watch it forty-two times and maybe write some fanfiction.
I also started watching The Following. My boss suggested it, and I agreed to give it a try, because I love me some Kevin Bacon. I don’t know if I can recommend it, because you guys – this show freaks me out. It’s so damn creepy. I wouldn’t wish the emotional and mental torment this show has put me through on anyone. I am also attracted to the serial killer on the show, and I am a little uncomfortable with that. If you watched Dexter or Breaking Bad, you can probably handle it. I’m just not used to this sort of thing. But it’s so good, so I just can’t quit it.
Because I’m super excited about the Veronica Mars movie, and I’m currently reading Welcome to the Monkey House (Vonnegut), it just seems fitting that February would be full of The Dandy Warhols.
Also, Stephanie Trick on piano makes me miss my piano:
And I have basically been listening to every version and spoof of Let It Go I can find. Here are my favorite three:
So, on the way home from Dripping Springs, Adela and I stopped at Rolling in Thyme and Dough. Weird name. GLORIOUS BREAKFAST SANDWICH. Egg and cheese on a croissant….with pesto. Also, it’s just a cute place. It would not be unreasonable for you to travel from wherever you are just so you can enjoy this sandwich.
This pales in comparison to the Breakfast Sandwich of Glory, but I have also been on a chicken salad kick. I normally despise mayonnaise, but occasionally, I just have to have chicken salad. My favorite – rotisserie chicken (because I totally cheat and get my chicken already roasted at the Kroger), Vegannaise, red grapes, celery, and pecans on rye.
I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer – go over and see what everyone is into!
This post is an answer to a prompt from today’s Story Sessions write-in. The prompt was “What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
My initial response was -
*snort* Nothing. I do what I want.
Then I immediately thought of three things. Well, that was humbling.
1. I would wear sleeveless shirts so that I could feel both rain and sun on the skin of my shoulders.
I know that I am the only person judging the appearance of my upper arms. Let me rephrase – I am the only person judging the appearance of my upper arms whose opinion I care about at all. I’m sure there are catty acquaintances who would have snide things to say behind my back. But I am the only person whose judgment of my arms stops me. One day, I just need to put on a sleeveless shirt or dress and walk out the door without grabbing a cardigan or checking the mirror. If I did, I might never wear sleeves again.
2. I would date inappropriate men.
I would date men whom I would have otherwise dismissed because they didn’t exactly fit The List or because I would feel too much need to justify dating them to concerned friends. This is an area where the judgment from others sings loudly.
I like men who love words more than they love hammers, drills, or guns. They wouldn’t fit as well into my family, but they would fit better with me.
I occasionally like men who are outside the bounds of a 10-year radius in age from me. Some are younger (still legal, just to be clear), and one or two have been older. I seem to talk myself out of saying yes to them or pursuing them, though, because I just don’t want to be bothered by the bullshit stigma it might place on me.
I occasionally like men who are outside the bounds of my religion. I don’t know how this would work for me long-term, but I do know that it has worked and is working for others. I know that it would bring challenges, but I also know that challenge is relationship’s middle name. Some days, I feel outside the bounds of my religion, and even on those days, I still work with me, so I’m not convinced that it would be the end of the world that some friends seem to think that it would be to date someone who lives there.
I like charming men. There. I said it. Charm is an art, and I like it. Throw all the verses about how deceitful it is and the warnings about smarmy (not the same word as charming – can we just recognize that? Perhaps there’s a reason?) fellows at me that you want to throw. I still like it. I like not having to babysit a guy at social occasions, and that makes charm super attractive. Liking it and being bamboozled by it are not the same thing.
3. I would edit the words that come out of my mouth less strictly.
I have a well-trained inner editor. Sometimes, she goes on vacation, but most of the time, she is one hell of a watchdog. I am grateful for her. In fact, I wish more people had one, because it’s okay (read: preferable) for every thought that we think not to spring off our tongues.
But sometimes, my editor is a workaholic. I’ll hear someone else say something and think, Yes. That’s what I actually wanted to say. I envy them a little, but mostly I’m just glad that it got voiced. And mostly, I’m sad that I didn’t have the courage to be the one who voiced it.
How about you? What would you do differently if you knew that you wouldn’t be judged?
I’m guest-praying at Osheta Moore’s Shalom in the City today. Today, we say “we don’t know,” and “help.” Please come join us.
Also, read these things:
“I will make you a great nation. Sarah will bear you a son!”
The Visitor always did like to make an entrance.
None of the standards –
No, “How have you been?”
Or, “Friend, that was a long journey!”
Only a big announcement would do.
She heard while she was minding the supper dishes.
And Sarah laughed.
The Visitor was perplexed.
“Why is Sarah laughing? What – does she think I can’t?!”
Abraham, sweet man, tried
To act like it was nothing
To deflect the sound coming from the other room
“Probably just thinking about something funny that happened today.”
She stood in the kitchen, listening to men make plans,
And Sarah laughed.
Wouldn’t this have made more sense, Sarah wondered,
To have told me this Himself?
Abraham’s a good husband,
But there’s only so much even a good husband can do to bring a child.
I guess I should be flattered, she thought.
They’re throwing me a surprise party.
In my womb.
And Sarah laughed.
She remembered elusive promises and hopes stirred.
How long had the story been told?
Around tables and fires, shrouded in wonder and awe.
Descendants outnumbering the sand.
It need only start with one.
But the one was nowhere to be found.
She had been told of His perfect timing,
So Sarah laughed.
She remembered elusive sleep and garments rent.
How many tears had she shed?
Surrounded by a sea of children, but always on the other side of the door.
Skinned knee unbandaged, wedding unattended, grandchildren unheld.
Age showing her what it was capable of
As the bleeding stopped, and the book closed.
She had already cried,
So Sarah laughed.
Is this how promises are fulfilled?
To wait until all hope, desire, and ability are gone?
To finally bring her what she always wanted
But only after it was too late for her to enjoy it fully?
Just to make Himself look more special than everyone already knew He was.
Maybe what she wanted to do was punch Him
But she couldn’t
So Sarah laughed.
I will be guest-posting/guest-praying on Osheta Moore’s blog on Thursday, so I will be back to remind you then, but I don’t want you to miss the rest of this series. So I’m letting you know today, because today is when it starts.
This might be the most important thing I am a part of this year. Not that it’s a competition. But if it were, this might win.
In fact, go ahead and just read all of the poetry featured there this month. We had a lot of fun.