by Maureen N. McLane

and if 
I were to say

I love you and 
I do love you

and I say it
now and again

and again
would you say

would you see

the world revolves

its axis


poetry, poetry, poetry

I love poetry.  

That much is probably obvious if anyone ever takes the time to look through the archives of this little blog.  It's also obvious to all of my friends, as they all have had to sit down as I proclaim how much I love a poem before I read it to them. I just love the lilting language and powerful images and...well I could go on and on and on, but I won't.

One of my dear friends is getting married next summer and has asked me to not only read a poem at her wedding, but to choose it as well.  Yay! I love any chance to read lots and lots and lots of poetry.  

I did find a love poem that would be wonderful at a wedding, maybe not this wedding, but wonderful anyway.  Here, I'll share it with you!

Superbly Situated
by Robert Hershon

you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to
right from the beginning--a relationship based on 
good sense and thoughtfulness in little things

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments
as breathing regularly and not falling down too often
or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed

and to be on the safe side i wouldn't mind if somehow
i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects
so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed

how superbly situated the empire state building is 
how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers
so far away you could touch it--therefore i love you

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting
to tear down the empire state building and replace it
with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses

just as a part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness
i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes
i'll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house
a regularly scheduled flight--something that can't help being
in the right place at the right time--come take your seat

we'll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines
fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state
the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve



Back from the East Coast. Away I went again.  I'm steadily touring my way through the major cities in America, cheaply, staying with friends and seeing the sights.  I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  This last trip was a whirlwind visit to both Boston and New York City.  Erin in Boston. Tom in NYC. It was great to see them both.  Pictures can be found on my photos page, which I'm pretty sure is accessible via the sidebar.  Those pictures, right there, where you just looked.

Let's talk for a moment about cupcakes. I like cupcakes, I do. But I don't understand the
 craze.  And yet, unwittingly, I managed to eat a cupcake from the place that started the cupcake crazy. Magnolia Bakery in NYC.  As you can see from the picture right here, they're lovely. And they were tasty. But I still don't understand why everyone is so nutso about cupcakes.  I don't.

I must still be jetlagged because I have nothing else to say. Sorry.


This Longing
by Martin Steingesser

                ...awoke to rain
around 2:30 this morning
thinking of you, because I'd said
only a few days before, this

is what I wanted, to lie with you in the dark
listening to how rain sounds
in the tree beside my window,
on the sill, against the glass, damp

cool air on my face. I am loving
fresh smells, light flashes in the
black window, love how you are here
when you're not, knowing we will

lie close, nothing between us; and maybe
it will be still, as now, the longing
that carries us
into each other's arms

asleep, neither speaking
least it all too soon turn to morning, which
it does. Rain softens, low thunder, a car
sloshes past.


the good stuff

Okay. Enough with the blueness. There are good things happening in my life. There really are! It's just so much easier to narrow your attention on the negative and bad stuff isn't it? Yes indeed. I know this, and whenever a particular friend seems to fixated on the negatives in his life I make him tell me five positive things that he has going for him, and that he isn't allowed to even mention the negatives. So that's what I'm going to do for myself this morning. Five positive things that I have going for me.

1. I found a new music love. Ray LaMontagne. I do NOT know how my radar has missed him until now. But Oh. My. Goodness. I love him. I love his music. Even though Chris calls him "Rayla" and states that sometimes he can't tell that it's a man singing. I maintain that he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to music. Ha. Interweb, if you haven't listened to him, just click play on this nifty little youtube player. This song is my favorite, and I've just started it for the fifth time in a row.

2. On Friday I'm heading up to Seattle to spend the weekend with family. I have a lot of family, and I get to see a good portion of them this weekend. I'm lucky that I have family that lives in the Portland Metro Area, so I don't feel totally all alone here, but I get to see family I haven't seen in over a year. Plus, it's my brother's 22nd birthday. I love my brother. Happy Birthday Brother! I'm super excited to go to the Mariner's game and bother you with all the questions that make you shake your head and wonder why you ever bothered to invite me. Yay!

3. I love my new apartment. It's in a fantastic neighborhood, and I love that I can walk pretty much everywhere I need to go. Minus work. Also, the neighborhood had a street fair on Saturday. The Belmont Street Fair. They took one intersection and they made a little yard out of it. It was snazzy. Also, see that red building? It's home to a Stumptown Coffee Shop. Best coffee in the world. I promise you. Also. This is a mere two blocks from my house. Ha! So dangerous that I live so close to such good coffee. So dangerous. But also good!

4. I finally finished Erin's Boston Blanket and Dawn's Nugget Snuggler! My major summer projects, the ones that I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to finish with the move and oppressive heat. But they're done! Done! Done! Here...I'll put pictures up too! I won't toy with your intelligence and explain which is the baby blanket. (Hint: it has more pink than the other one.) So now I'm moving on to new projects. I'm making some cute little toys for a friend's kiddos (who I babysat the other day...you want a story? THAT'S a story...) And then onto a list of 3 afghans. One for friends who just broke ground on their first house! Yay! Two for dear friends who are getting married next summer. Wait. Maybe four are needed. Heavens! I should get a move on these blankets!

5. Most importantly, and most impressively, I have amazing friends. Whether they're sending me loves from all the way from DC, New York or Boston. Whether they're just saying hi on a lonely Saturday night. Whether they're willing to sit and listen to me cry after a particularly miserable day at work, or to have dinner waiting for me when I get home. I am truly truly lucky to have such wonderful people in my life. I love you all. You are the best thing that is happening in my life. Thank you.


I'm blue interweb. Maybe it's the changing season, maybe I'm just tired, maybe it's work, maybe it's the awful news I just got about a lifelong friend. Probably a combination of all of the above. Either way, I'm blue and I just can't seem to shake it.

But that's silly. It's okay to be sad sometimes. It's not affecting my life, really, I still got out of bed this morning. I made breakfast for my roommates. I went to the gym. I cleaned my room. Took a shower. Am still productive. I just feel sad.


sad sad songs

Once again, I’ve found myself taking a brief respite from the blog world. I, again, have felt as though I’ve nothing to say. I haven’t been inspired to share anything with anyone. There hasn’t been much time to sit down and write either. I miss writing.
It’s surprising to me how inarticulate I am. I’m a relatively well educated young woman, I read a lot, I know a lot of words, and yet my ability to express my self is shockingly poor. Especially when I’m talking to people, my mind moves more quickly than my mouth and my words end up in a jumbled tangled mess. Or they combine themselves into new and exciting words or phrases which, more often than not, make no sense whatsoever.
I’m sitting in Powell’s right now, having decided to give up on being productive and am seeking solace in the air conditioning. I’m not really sure what made us (my roommates and I) decide to move during the hottest month of the year, but here we are, in the middle of a heat wave attempting to move all of our stuff into a loft apartment in a 100 year old house. However, I did find some strapping young men willing to move all of my books for me. All eight boxes. Thanks so much Barber twins! Plus I got to spend the day with them, which always makes for an interesting and laugh filled day.

I’m tired, Interweb, I’m so tired. I don’t know if it is the heat, the move, the insomnia or everything else. I don’t even know. A dear friend’s mother passed on Saturday after battling breast cancer for years and I just feel so helpless. I can’t even explain it. I’m usually a pretty astute empathizer, but I just can’t imagine how awful it would be to lose a parent. It seems like it would be a paradigm shift, no matter what your parents are always there, and then in an instant one is gone forever? But not really an instant with a disease like breast cancer. Instead you are forced to watch their slow and painful descent into death.
It was bad enough watching the affect Parkinson’s had on my grandfather. My grandfather whom I always felt the purest degree of love, who taught me life could be made tolerable and joyous by saying the right words, who taught me the subtle ways of wit and sarcasm, who had such life shining out of his eyes. It was awful to see him fall into the state of being wherein the least amount of life was left in his body for it’s maintenance, to see that once luminous, generous personality cruelly inverted to a confused, lost doppleganger who didn’t even recognize me.
But to lose your mother? How do you cope with that?


I'm having one of those days. One of those days where I'm all anxious about moving, all anxious about life, all anxious about everything. So I'm remarkably spacey. What have I done today? Why don't I list it for you:

1. dropped my iPod off the treadmill while i was running

2. fallen off the treadmill while attempting to pick my iPod up off the floor

3. managed to lock my keys into the mailbox

4. spilled an entire mug of coffee all over the white slipcover on the couch

5. stubbed my toe on the spout in the bathtub

6. flashed the kids outside while changing after my shower

7. flashed the maintenance man while changing after my shower

And it's only 2:30. But the day will get better. Oh yes it will.

chasing pavements

Interweb, I have listened to this song for about an hour straight now.


but it's a national holiday!


This is how I feel.  Between negotiating rental applications, and hope hope hoping that we get this (super! amazing! wonderful! perfect!) apartment, attempting to figure out a possible moving timeline in an already very busy month, and doing my best not to drown in a pool of sweat, I feel like blargh.

Well, the weather is lending me a hand today, as it's only 65. And everyone has been very helpful and cooperative when negotiating between our current rental management and (possible) future landlord.

How was everyone's 4th? Mine was lovely. A little warm, but lovely.  The weekend started out with a bang on the 3rd.  We went to see "The Empire Strikes Back" at the Baghdad, a midnight show.  Oh man do I love Star Wars. Wait, scratch that, I love the original Star Wars. But holy smokes Interweb, you should have seen the costumes people were wearing.  Quite impressive. And I was informed by Dan that the lightsabers they were all carrying were the "good" models and cost upwards of $100. So they were dedicated fans.  Oh and let me tell you, if you want to hear some interesting movie talk, go to Star Wars with two men whose lives and livelihoods essentially revolve around film.  I think there was a stretch of 45 minutes where I couldn't add anything to the conversation because I had no idea what the heck they were talking about.  But it was interesting.

I kept quoting Empire on the 4th, most likely to to consternation of Kasi.  But she put up with me, and we went to a BBQ out in deep SE PDX, and sat in the shade in a wonderful backyard and had a nice little time.  Then we came back to the apt and proceeded to lie on the couches and pretended to be Jordan and Daisy.   We had no Tom or Nick (or Jay) to fan us or cater to our everyneed, but it was still fantastic.  

Evening festivities comprised of mojitos and fireworks.  The mojitos were tasty and refreshing.  The fireworks were amazing.  Fireworks always make me feel like a little kid.  They're just so amazing and wonderful.  And the view from Mt. Tabor offered breathtaking views of so many different shows across the metro area.  It was great.  After the fireworks Chris and I went back to have more mojitos.  Possibly a mistake.  Three mojitos, as it turns out, is far too many.  Like 2 to many.  Oh well, lesson learned.  My 22 year old self is ashamed of my 26 year old self though.  Meh. And to think of all those years when I boasted of never getting hangovers.  Karma is a bitch my friends.  

And here is a "patriotic" poem by Sharon Olds: 

by Sharon Olds

After we flew across the country we
got into bed, laid our bodies
delicately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my 
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas your Kansas
burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


Free to good home. Can make pie.

It's a beautiful beautiful beautiful day here in Portlandia. I didn't have to work, and I'm listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. They're amazing.  It's making for quite the relaxing early evening.  

I made a strawberry-apple pie yesterday. I'd never had one before, but always thought the idea sounded 
super tasty.  And boy is it!  Yum! It even looked pretty when fresh from the oven. (The lighting looks funny in this picture because, well the lighting in our kitchen is wack. No lie.) Also, it only looks like it magically was more cooked in the middle than the edges because of the cinnamon-sugar topping (what a brilliant idea!) not because I am some crazy non-adept cook.  If there is one thing in life that I can do well it is make a pie.  True story.  I used to make pie all the time.  My parents have a pie cherry tree in their back yard and every summer I'd make cherry pies for all sorts of occasions. They were tasty-good, and it seemed I had a magic hand with the pie crust.  Wish I could tell you my "secret" but I don't have one, except maybe to make sure the water you use in the crust is ice cold.  I always put ice cubes in to chill the water before mixing it all together.  But I didn't make this crust, I bought it from the store. Am super lazy about cooking now, and I don't have a food processor, which is an essential part of making pie crust.  It doesn't taste as good, but whatev.  It tastes better than the last kind of pie crust I bought from the store, for the strawberry-rhubarb pie I made over Memorial Day Weekend.  My parents were in town and I made them a pie.  They said the pie was tasty, and that they'd find me a husband yet.  My dad said he'd make a sign or put an ad in the paper: "Free to good home. Can make pie." 

And then Chris threw away my favorite pie tin. 

Favorite pie tin. Who knew I'd become so domestic?  In other news on the domesticity front, I believe I may have found us all a new place to live. I'm super excited for it so I'm not going to jinx it by talking too much.  But yay!

Also, I've been (slowly) working away at the projects that are stacked in my crocheting basket.  There's Momma's Market Bag, Erin's Boston Blanket, and Dawn's Nugget Snuggler.  The "nugget snuggler" is not, sadly, another man thong, but a baby blanket.  It's the baby blanket who's cute a button granny squares are right next to this paragraph.  The baby is a girl, obviously. I'm enjoying the craftiness, and the soothing thinking that it allows.  Well, for most of it.  For these granny squares I'm using a nobbly cotton thread and a teeny-tiny (size D) hook.  It takes quite a bit of concentration.  But no fear, I have 19 out of 54 done.  Sigh.  Good thing I have several road trips planned back to Moscow, and I find crocheting makes time in the car go by quite quickly.  And you feel productive.  And I like feeling productive.  I always get a little antsy if I'm not doing something.  It doesn't have to be anything important, just something with my hands or mind or whatever. Thus plane rides and car trips and days spent doing nothing but lying in bed tend to kill me. 

But that's not necessarily true.  Sometimes a day spent in bed is exactly what you need. Take, for example, this past Mother's Day.  We didn't get out of bed until almost 2 o'clock in the afternoon.  It was wonderful.  And then we went to a crazy movie.  But I don't know what I was expecting, Roman Polanski directed it.  

So this has been a long and rambly post about nothing.  Gee interweb, it's almost like we sat down and had a mojito.


I watched the "special" Jon and Kate last night. I cried.  Poor wee kiddos. Poor Jon and poor Kate.  

I don't think I can continue to watch this show. Who wants to watch the painful dissolution of a marriage? Not me, that's for sure.


We went to see "Up" last night. I liked it.  I especially liked the first thirty minutes of the movie, particularly the four minute wordless montage that sums up the happy life and romance of Carl and Ellie.  It made me cry.  No big deal.

The rest of the movie was endearing, and colorful and beautiful in the way all of Disney/Pixar's films are.  I think this might be my least favorite though.  The story, which started out so wonderfully, felt a little banal and increasingly ingratiating towards the end.  Oh well. Also, 3D movies give me headaches.  


A Partial List Of Things That The World Seems To Love And Yet Towards Which I Remain Curiously Unimpressed

* Beer

* Twitter

* Engagement Photos

* Wedding Videographers

* Proactiv

* BareMinerals Makeup

* Gladiator Sandals

* Crocs

* Horror Films

* The Davinci Code

* Nascar

* Professional Hockey

* Miley Cyrus

* Skinny Jeans

* Jodi Picoult

* Cruises

* Manicures

* American Idol

* Diamonds

* Long/Painted Fingernails

* Tanning Beds / Use of Self Tanner

* Coach Bags

* Buffets

Hmm, I'm sure there are more. 

What about you?


by William Wordsworth

I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at one I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


I was on the treadmill this morning, attempting to ignore the fact that my body hates running, and I couldn't help but be distracted by the man on the treadmill next to me.  He made what can only be described as "come hither" faces at himself in the mirror for the entire time I was on the treadmill.  45 minutes.  You go ahead and try to concentrate on not falling off the spinning torture machine when you're doing your best not to laugh out loud.


by Carl Sandburg

Desolate and lone
All night long on the lake
Where fog trails and mist creeps,
The whistle of a boat
Calls and cries unendingly,
Like some lost child
In tears and trouble
Hunting the harbor's breast
And the harbor's eyes.


By Gerard Manley Hopkins

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.
With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me. flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.


Wednesday rain

Yoga. Crocheting. The Sound of Music.  All in all everything I need to make a rainy May day bearable. 

I finally finished the baby blanket for my friends in Minnesota.  I sent it along in the mail, stuffing as many good wishes and happy thoughts as I could into the envelope before sealing it.  Apparently when she opened the package and unwrapped the blanket the baby kicked, I like to think that the baby felt all the happy thoughts I was sending along to him. 

(Want the pattern? Comment and I'll send it along...)

Let's talk a moment about something other than crocheting: namely the fact that all of my friends are getting married or doing great/grown-up things with their lives.  I am not. I am still doing the same things I was when I moved to Portland. I can't really believe that I'm four days shy of my two year anniversary of nursing school graduation.  Have I really been a nurse for 2 years? On one hand it seems like I've always been a nurse, on the other....

I don't know. I guess I feel like I'm on the cusp of something and it's driving me crazy not to know what it is.  I thought for a while that it was going to be graduate school, but with this crazy economy and possible lack of job security (yes...even as a nurse) graduate school simply doesn't make sense right now.  I have a job, and what makes the most sense is keeping it. So not graduate school. I'm in no financial position to buy a house. I'm not inline for a promotion at work, unless you count being charge nurse...which I do not. And yet...and yet there is this feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me something is going to change in my life, and not just in my life but change my life. (It is this same gut intuition that makes being a nurse both satisfying and insanely frustrating.) What is it universe? Can't send a little clue my way? PLEEEEAASSE? Pretty please with a cherry on top?

Okay. Vapid whining over.

I'm going to watch Maria and Captain VonTrapp fall in love.



Hello Internet!

I've taken a brief leave of absence from this blog. But now I'm back, having spent my time crocheting and collecting thoughts and ideas that I like to share.  Ha.  Actually I love crocheting and I think it would be lots of fun to start a craft blog...in fact my friend and I have discussed starting one together.  She's far craftier than I am and would be better at it...but anyway it might be a possibility.  

That, an octopus by the way, is one of the things I could share with a craft blog! I could also share how to make silly things like those paper roses in the background.  They don't look like much in this picture, but they're almost 2 years old and have stood up to time and a mischievous kitty quite well. 

Crocheting is very soothing for me.  I started to learn how when I was in my senior year of nursing school.  Well, truth be told I attempted knitting first but the coordination required to control two knitting needles and the fear that I was going to poke my eyes out made me turn quite quickly to crocheting.  I guess the main motivation to learn was the fact that I adore scarves and could no longer afford to buy myself the pretty scarves at the co-op and thus decided I should be able to make one for myself.  And so I did.  Now to motivation lies in the  fact that I really love the soothing rhythm of twisting yarn into tangible objects. Scarves, afghans, octopus...you name it and I'll try.  I'm currently in the process of making a baby blanket for a friend and will post pictures when I'm done.  

I also am fostering a love of gardening.  I'm really terrible at it. I can't seem to keep a plant alive for longer than two days.  Good thing this does not translate into my job.  It seems like it should be easy...you just water plants, right?  Make sure they get sun.  Seems brainless. However...I kill them. I have a black thumb.  Poor plants.
  Oh well.  I can't wait to have a yard and garden! 

Crocheting. Gardening. Poetry.  I'm officially old before I've reached 27.


I walked all around Balboa Island yesterday and did NOT find the Bluth Banana Stand. Boo. 


hang on tight, this is a long one....

I watched the last fifteen minutes of the movie Stepmom on Saturday. By the time the credits were rolling, I had tears pouring down my face. Sure the story was sad (Susan Sarandon was dying) but I felt that so many tears weren’t warranted when I had only watched the last fifteen minutes. (Not that crying during movies is at all unusual for me; I’ve been known to tear up multiple times during Armageddon.) Anyway, it put me into a funk for the rest of the day. A serious funk. I was irritable, restless, and generally unpleasant to be around.

Anyway, much later Saturday night the cause of the discontent hit me. The last time I had seen the movie was the day after a friend had killed himself. We watched it in health class, as the teachers were aware that nobody, even them, could possibly focus on anything other than the horrible even that had occurred the day before.

I was a sixteen-year-old high school sophomore on April 20, 1999. I remember sitting in the biology classroom, watching the news in disbelief as they showed pictures of kids, who looked and seemed just like me and my friends, huddled together as rescue workers pulled victims out of the library window. I still get goose bumps every time I see this picture.  The next day a giant yellow banner appeared on the wall of our commons, and we were encouraged to send words of comfort, or hope, or general support to the survivors. Many students, myself included, sported rainbow ribbons on our backpacks to show support. Later that day, that Wednesday, someone called a bomb threat into our high school. Teachers and administrators attempted to corral us into the outdoor commons while police cleared the building. It was a beautiful spring day in Moscow, and it was almost a party like atmosphere. Very bizarre. Luckily they found no bomb, but I remember teachers had a difficult time keeping our attentions on our studies for the rest of the day. Some never even bothered to.

Prom was the following Saturday. I wore a beige dress that I had worn to the Frosh Ball the year before, had to arrange my bangs so to cover the huge burn I had on my forehead (had yet to master the art of the curling iron) and lost my shoes about 2 minutes after arriving at the dance. All and all it was an unremarkable high school dance, except for 2 key points. 1. I FINALLY danced with the boy whom I had loved for the entirety junior high. 2. My friend B and I danced to “Lady in Red” all the while mocking our other friend J (who happened to be wearing a red dress) as she danced with her crush of the moment while her date glowered in the background. B was wearing black pants, a black shirt and a red tie. He smelled deliciously masculine, and I think about him every time I hear that song.

Would I think about him every time I hear that song if the following Tuesday had never happened? I danced with several boys throughout my high school career, and certainly don’t think of them whenever I hear those songs. I can’t even remember what songs they were, even with the boys that I really liked. I have a feeling that dance is only memorable because it was followed so shortly by B’s death. Like three days later. Three days.

It was a Tuesday. I was wearing new jeans and a Stanford swimming t-shirt. My hair was, for once, not slicked back into a wet ponytail, but down around my shoulders. I had slept in, there had been no morning swim practice, an optional afternoon practice and the sun was shining like it only does in Moscow in the springtime.

Then, once again in biology class, everything shifted. I was standing at the front of the classroom talking to Joe, coolest bio teacher in the world, about some paper I had written when I looked up to see a Police Officer walk by our classroom. His face was white, and his jaw seemed to be clenched. His eyes caught mine, and then he looked away as if he couldn’t focus on anything other than simply walking down the hall. I looked quickly back to Joe, who seemed to have blanched as well, and he told me to go back to my seat. “What about my paper?” I asked, ever the anxious student. “Just go sit down.” He said. I don’t’ think the rest of the class noticed anything, but I sat at my desk for the next 5 minutes feeling very unsettled. Something was wrong, I didn’t know what, but knew I was going to find out soon.

Eventually the entire high school was paged overhead to go to the gym, as I walked through the halls, with my jubilant classmates who were happy we free from class, I couldn’t help but look at the faces of the adults. Every one of them had earnest, set, fixed expressions that I couldn’t read. The face of the principal was so close to anguish, as if it took every fiber in his body to hold himself together. Like he was steeling himself to say something terrible. As I sat on the bleachers, next to a friend, my mind raced. Surely I would have heard if the elementary school up the street had been bombed, my brother was a student there, they would have told us, wouldn't they? Was it the junior high, it was a mile away, we couldn’t have heard that, could we? Where were my friends? Did I see them all? Were all my friends there? What happened? Why were the teachers so upset? G and I grabbed hands. I watched a senior boy walk out of the gym, and then the Principal told us. B had left suicide notes in the office for some friends, and had been found, less than an hour before, successful in his attempt. I don’t remember the collective gasp that surely happened, or the reaction of the students around me. I remember the icy feeling as if I had been plunged into a bucket of water, I remember I had to keep reminding myself to breathe, I remember staring intently at the face of the principal, as if I looked at him hard enough he would stop crying and tell us all it was a joke.  It was an utterly bizarre out of body experience. They must have released us back to our classrooms, or said something, but I’m not really sure. I think G and I sat there for a good 20 minutes, holding each other’s hands, unable to move. And when I finally did go back to the classroom, I had to focus very closely on every movement I made. I walked down the stairs and passed doors that looked out on an outside area and saw the same senior boy who had left the gym with his twin brother and their friends, counselors close by, all of them crying. I remember thinking to myself how odd it was that they could be feeling so much when I couldn’t let myself feel anything. How could they be crying when I couldn’t even breathe? How could P possibly stumble into the arms of our vice-principal and breakdown when I couldn’t even focus on walking? How could a person possibly feel so numb? Somehow I made it to the swim pool, having apparently decided what I needed most was to some distraction, managed to put my suit on and to dive into the water. Somewhere 20 minutes into the practice my numbness was erased by an awful anguish. I sat on the edge of the pool and sobbed while my coach sat beside me awkwardly, not knowing what to say to comfort a hysterical 16-year-old girl. Luckily red eyes and a pale face can easily be written off by serious training, so my mom didn’t ask many questions when she picked me up from practice, in fact I don’t think I even told her or my dad until my friends came to pick me up shortly after dinner.

It’s bizarre, isn’t it, the way our brain perfectly preserves some things but not others. I remember most of the details from that day so perfectly, I remember saying hello to B as I passed him in the hallway at lunchtime, I remember what I wore, and I remember how the sun was shining. But I don’t remember my immediate thought, how I got to the swim pool, whether or not I went back to my classroom, or if anyone else was at swim practice. In my memory I am the only one there, alone at the end of my lane sobbing. There must have been other people there, my parents must have said something comforting, but I don’t remember any of it.

B’s death was a defining moment for many of us at MHS, and as I watch the high school students that are flitting around the library, I can’t believe how young we were. How young they are, about how I would never wish a week like that on any of them. B’s death was the first time I had seen a grown man cry. It was the first time that I had ever seriously felt fear, the first time that I realized my parents didn’t know everything about me, the first time I realized that sometimes adults felt just as lost and hopeless as we did. I can’t believe it was 10 years ago.

I wish I had a point to end this long (looooong) reminiscence. But I don’t. I guess I just feel better now, having let this all out. For the third time in a week. I’m attempting to be healthier emotion wise, and am learning that bottling everything up doesn’t allow you to heal. So this is the third time since Saturday that I’ve thought of that awful week in detail. My roommates (who were in my class in high school) and I talked about it on Sunday night, and it was interesting to hear their perspectives. Another friend and I talked about it in detail on Saturday night. It’s bizarre, because he was the senior boy I watched walk out of the gym before KC told us. I didn’t know him at all then, and now I consider him one of my favorite people. Isn’t it funny how you kind of circle around some people until finally making any sort of real connection?


after all, I am from Idaho...

Ode to the Potato
by Barbara Hamby

"They eat a lot of French fries here," my mother
   announces after a week in Paris, and she's right,
not only about les pommes frites but the celestial tuber
   in all its forms: rotie, puree, not to mention
au gratin or boiled and oiled in la salade nicoise.
   Batata edulis discovered by gold-mad conquistators
in the West Indies, and only a 100 years later
   in The Merry Wives of Windsor Falstaff cries,
"Let the skie raine Potatoes," for what would we be
   without you--lost in a sea of fried turnips,
mashed beets, roasted parsnips? Mi corazon, mon coeur,
   my core is not the heart but the stomach, tuber
of the body, its hollow stem the throat and esophagus,
   leafing out to the nose and eyes and mouth. Hail
the conquering spud, all its names marvelous: Solanum
   tuberosum, Igname, Caribe, Russian Banana, Yukon Gold.
When you turned black, Ireland mourned. O Mr. Potato Head,
   how many deals can a man make before he stops being
small potatoes? How many men can a woman drop
   like a hot potato? Eat it cooked or raw like an apple
with salt of the earth, apple of the earth, pomme de terre.
  Tuber, tuber burning bright in a kingdom without light,
deep within the earth where the Incan potato gods rule,
   forging their golden orbs for the world's ravening gorge.


I have a problem. A self control problem. I seem unable to exhibit any sort of self control when it comes to book buying. It’s like I go into a book store and I lose any sense of control or common sense. I may already have two copies of Pride and Prejudice at home, but this particular version has a different cover and is only $4! (And that, friends, is why I have SEVEN copies of that book. Ridiculous.)

This lack of self control combined with a love of Powell’s Books has led to a problem. Don’t believe me? This is what it looks like underneath my bed:
Please ignore the dust bunnies. I do not clean my house in a way that would make my mother proud (am gross.)

For my birthday my parents were kind enough to give me a gift card to Ikea (IKEA!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE IKEA!!!) so I could purchase myself some new bookshelves. You would not believe the amount of stress this has caused me.

You see, though I have an impulse spending problem when it comes to books and dvds and cds (and essentially any worthless thing Target may have to offer), when it comes to “big-ticket” items such as a bed, or a car, or bookshelves I get a VERY specific idea of what I want in mind. And nothing EVER fits what I want. It’s very annoying for the people I force into shopping with me. (Here is a warning to you all, I am a difficult person, deal with it.) The last time I purchased bookshelves (less than a year ago…if that’s any indication that I need to stop buying books I don’t know what is) I spent MONTHS searching for the right bookshelves. I found them:

Unfortunately I live in an apartment and don’t have the space to create my own reading library. These are what I ended up with:

They’re not bad. They hold a decent amount of books. But given what my underbed space, (and my nightstand) look like, I really need new bookshelves. God give the person who goes to Ikea with me patience…


by Marianne Bouruch

It seem so--
I don't know.  It seems
as if the end of the world
has never happened in here.
No smoke, no
dizzy flaring except
those candles you can light
in the chapel for a quarter.
They last maybe an hour
before burning out.
                                   And in this room
where we wait, I see
them pass, the surgical folk--
nurses, doctors, the guy who hangs up
the blood drop--ready for lunch,
their scrubs still starched into wrinkles,
a cheerful green or pale blue,
and the end of a joke, something
about a man who though he could be--
what?   I lose it
in their brief laughter.


Today is my 26th birthday.
I went to the coast, again, on Monday.  The above picture is my attempt to show just how gosh darn excited I was to be there.  I think my excitement was captured pretty well.

So, birthdays.  Am I the only one who finds having a birthday slightly stressful?  There is all this pressure from other people who ask you incessantly just what you want for your birthday, how you want to celebrate, if you want a party. I don't handle this well.  Honestly I don't want a huge fuss made, thank you.  All I really want to do is have dinner with my parents.  This might make me a lame 26 year old, but there it is.

Here's a song I love! I've been humming it for about a week now. And it's as old as I am! Yay!  Oh, Billy Joel how I love your music.


Sonnets From the Portuguese 43:
How Do I Love Thee?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's 
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,--I love the with the breath,
Smiles, tears, or all my life!--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


Friendship After Love
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

After the fierce midsummer all ablaze
   Has burned itself to ashes, and expires
   In the intensity of its own fires,
There come the mellow, mild, St. Martin days
Crowned with the calms of peace, but sad with haze.
   So after love has led us, till he tires
   Of his own throes, and torments, and desires,
Comes large-eyed friendship: with a restful gaze,
He beckons us to follow, and across
   Cool verdant vales we wander free from care.
   Is it a touch of frost lies in the air?
Why are we haunted with a sense of loss?
We do not wish the pain back, or the heat;
And yet, and yet, these days are incomplete.


After Love
Maxine Kumin

Afterwards, the compromise.
Bodies resume their boundaries.

These legs, for instance, mine.
Your arms you take back in.

Spoons of our fingers, lips
admit their ownership.

The bedding yawns, a door
blows aimlessly ajar

and overhead, a plane
singsongs, coming down.

Nothing is changed, except
there was a moment when

the wolf, the mongering wolf
who stands outside the self

lay lightly down, and slept.


and then I found $20!!!!

Go visit http://loveyoubut.com/ .


I Heard You Solemn-Sweet Pipes of the Organ
Walt Whitman

I heard you solemn-sweet pipes of the organ as last Sunday
     morn I pass'd the church,
Winds of autumn, as I walk'd the woods at dusk I heard your
     long-stretch'd sighs up above so mournful,
I heard the perfect Italian tenor singing at the opera, I heard
     the soprano in the midst of the quartet singing;
Heart of my love! you too I heard murmuring low through
    one of the wrists around my head,
Heard the pulse of you when all was still ringing little bells
    last night under my ear.


Slumdog Millionaire

Go see Slumdog Millionaire.  You won't be disappointed.  I promise you.  I really do.

I saw in on Friday night and am still caught up in the emotion of the film.  The New York Times called it "one of the most upbeat stories about living in hell imaginable."  So true. I was so overwhelmed with every emotion imaginable after seeing the film I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, or to simply do both.  

Amazing film.  Amazing.


me me me me me

There is a little meme floating around facebook where you share 25 random facts about yourself. Then you’re supposed to tag 25 of your friends so you all can share and know all sorts of random facts about everyone. Fun. Timewasting, and everyone likes to talk about themselves all the time, right?


So here are 25 “random” facts about me.

25. I get along really well with my brother. I often feel as if he’s the only person who truly understands my sense of humor and is never offended by it. We are especially ridiculous when we are together and feeling mischievous. Take this little message we sent our cousin as an example” “M, This is K and C…aka the Moscow Richards…aka the progeny of the Superior Richards Son…aka KriCon. We are HIGHLY offended by the post on Cousin A’s wall that insinuates we Moscow folk are not of the norm. We believe you are all mere mortals and simply aspire to our height of greatness. Indeed. Toughen up buttercup.” Seriously. I’m pretty sure we’re the only two people on the planet who find that funny.

24. I watch shows like “My Super Sweet 16” and am flummoxed by them. Who are these kids? Who raises their kids to be such nasty egomaniacs? Who lets their kids treat them like garbage? Shows like this make me never want to have children, and make me think that if I ever do have children then they will feel very very unspoiled.

23. Horror movies scare me. Tense movies scare me. I think I might have an overactive imagination. My mind tends to dwell on things (all things really) and scary/tense images from movies pop up in my dreams. After I saw the movie “Body of Lies” I had nightmares about being tortured for a week.

22. Sometimes I’m astounded that I actually live in Portland. This mostly happens when I’m driving home at night along Naito Parkway and I watch downtown as I pass. It’s a surreal feeling that usually passes by the time I’ve hit the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. But weird nonetheless.

21. Those clear.com adds make me incredibly irrationally angry. Something about the green and the “this is not a bus stop” just irritates me and I see tiny flashes of red whenever I pass one.

20. Microbiology was one of my favorite classes in college. There was something so satisfying about identifying those tiny clusters of microbes, and though I spilled an entire bottle of Gram’s iodine all over my lab coat, doing Gram stains were my favorite. I even contemplated switching my degree to Medical Technology instead of nursing. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t.

19. Everytime I go to Starbucks I get the same quote. It’s the one about commitment. I can’t decide if this is just a massive coincidence or if the universe is trying to tell me something.

18. Speaking of commitment, I’m massively commitment phobic. This is a relatively new development in my personality, and I’m sure it stems from my already cautious nature. Getting hurt sucks and I’d like to avoid it again at all costs.

17. I love all things Harry Potter. I’m super excited for the next three movies. I’m also really sad that there aren’t any more books to come. Really sad.

16. My parents raised my brother and I with no cable television and they sequestered the PBS only TV to the basement. To this day I still am fascinated by cable television and have a hard time concentrating on anything else when it’s on.

15. Whenever I see an old couple walking down the street or holding hands or anything, my heart melts. I really really really want to be one of those couples someday.

14. As a bizarre combination of really shy and really sarcastic I feel that I often come off as really harsh or elitist. I’m not, I swear. I try really hard to be a nice person because I seem to have no control of what comes flying out of my mouth.

15. I just learned that Mr. Rogers once went to a swimming pool in a speedo. I find this disturbing. However, I loved that show and my favorite one was when he went to the crayon factory.

14. I’m studying for the GRE. I have test anxiety. I have put off registering for the exam because this will kick up my anxiety into full gear and practically make me unbearable to be around, and will prevent me from sleeping. I *know* that I can always retake the exam if I don’t do as well as I would like to, but I have a tendency to expect perfection from myself. And when I don’t attain that perfection, I have a hard time forgiving myself. So, I’d rather just do really well the first time around.

13. I don’t like beer. It makes me gag. And the smell reminds me of urine. So I don’t drink it.

12. I go through phases with food and drink where all I want to eat or drink are certain things. This is most evident in my coffee tastes. Sometimes all I want is straight up drip coffee, sometimes I crave the hazelnut lattes, other times mochas and yet others pumpkin spice lattes. I’m in a drip coffee phase now.

11. I recently dyed my hair. It’s super dark, almost black, and I feel the color suits me better than my natural color.

10. I can’t decide if I think that men and women can be just friends. I have friends that are men, however of these we’ve either had some sort of “tanglement” in the past or they’ve been attached to someone else throughout the duration of our friendship. But I don’t know.

9. Speaking of male-female friendships, I have a tendency to fall for guys who start out as my friend. Call it the Monica-Chandler phenomena or my natural tendency to be guarded until I actually trust someone, but out of the relationships I’ve ever been in only one started out as a “love interest.” And I cut that cord after 6 weeks, so there you go.

8. I want to get a dog. Two dogs actually. I’d name them Clarence and Bernard.

7. I live with two girls I went to high school with. One was one of my best friends during high school, but we weren’t super close during college. The other went to nursing school with me. We have fun.

6. I used to swim for at least 2 hours a day. I haven’t been swimming in six months. I miss it, but hate how awful my body feels when I swim now.

5. I want to be on Cash Cab. I’ve contemplated going to NYC just to accomplish this goal.

4. Reading is my escape. I often have to force myself to be social when I’d rather sit at home and read. If I didn’t, I’d likely be a hermit.

3. I have 26 first cousins. On both sides of the family I am the second oldest grandchild and oldest granddaughter. Both of my parents are the third child in their (large) families and the first of their sex. Both of their birthdays are on the 8th. I enjoy this and like to think it makes my parents “soul-mates”.

2. Despite my loud talk about never having children, the idea isn’t as repulsive to me as it was in the past. I think I’d like to have kids at some point in the future. I even have names that I like. Atticus and Grace.

1. It took me a long time to think of 25 facts to share with the Interweb.


uno mundo

There are times, like this exact moment, when I miss Moscow so much I can taste it. You see I am sitting in a coffee shop, World Cup Coffee & Tea, studying for the GRE and all I can think about is how much I miss One World Café.

During last year and a half of nursing school, when going to library made me realize just how young college freshmen are, I studied exclusively at One World. I was there so often the baristas knew my order and often had it waiting for me, in fact, I ran into on the baristas here in Portland the other day and she referred to me as “hey! Hazelnut latte!” (Oh man do I miss those hazelnut lattes.) I was one the regulars. All the faces were familiar, and I had nicknames for all the other regulars. I shudder to think what their nicknames for me were.

Such is not the case with World Cup Coffee & Tea. For one, it’s not even in Portland, but Beaverton, so I’m stuck people watching in the suburbs. (It is, however, attached to a Powell’s location, thus the basis of its appeal.) There aren’t any Hot Construction Workers, or weird haired people, just old women, businessmen and mommies and their children. Note to self: don’t move to the suburbs at this point in my life. I miss the Moscow-People. I miss the essence of One World. I miss sitting at the table with the secret drawer.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop, listening to Ben Folds, and missing Moscow.

Do you know what the weird thing about it is? I have a longing for Moscow, but not necessarily for home. Moscow and home are not synonymous anymore. Well, Moscow will always be home in the sense that it’s where I’m from, where my parents are and it will always be a place of comfort. But my heart isn’t there, and I don’t belong in Moscow anymore.
I’m very much in love with Portland, and am quite happy here. I don’t know how long this will last or how long I’ll be here. But for now, Portland is home.


tea wisdom

Some advice from my chai tea:

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.


smiling's my favorite!

I should be studying for the GRE. And I'm doing my very best, I really am.  However, the sun has once again chosen to shine over Portland, and it's doing its very best to distract me.  And so is my iPod, it keeps choosing to play songs that make me stare at the window for long periods of time, smiling over nothing in particular instead of memorizing word groups.  Silly inanimate objects. 

I'm in a good mood today.

What is making me smile?

This song always makes me smile. Always. I love the upbeat tempo. I love that it makes me think of Ann and Erik dancing at their wedding, I love that it makes me think of driving around Portland on a sunny afternoon, and I love that it makes me think of Laurelhurst Park.

Laurelhurst Park makes me smile.

The view from my work makes me smile.

Life makes me smile today.


I spent the day at the beach! Yay! It was sunny, it was warm, and it was perfect. Take that rainy Portland January.

I love living in Portland, I really do.  The city is beautiful, friendly and super accessible. I love the neighborhoods. I love Portland.  However, the weather gets to me sometimes. Bleah. The rain. Gah. Rain. So depressing. 

The upside of all the rain is an appreciation of the sun, I guess. (I'm attempting stop being so negative all of the time.) It's true, I do appreciate the sun more than I did before living here.  Every day that sun shines here it totally makes my day.

Today, however, was amazing. It was a sunny sunny day, there were no clouds in the sky and the ocean was so gorgeous. We went to Manzanita, which is my favorite little town on the coast, and had a lovely day there.  My desire for a puppy has increased tenfold, though. It seemed like everyone on the beach had one.  


I go to Powell's often.   I love the store. I do most of my gift shopping there. Books are a loving gift.  

I bought four books yesterday, and I will share with you the first sentence of each.

  1. "Dad always said a person must have a magnificent reason for writing out his or her Life Story and expecting anyone to read it." Special Topics in Calamity Physics Marisha Pessl
  2. "The ghosts of the three children set up residence in the kataa next to the fishing rods and burlap sacks of potatoes, behind the shovels and rakes." People I Wanted to Be Gina Ochsner
  3. "Midway along the journey of our life/ I woke to find myself in a dark wood,/ for I had wandered off from the straight path." The Divine Comedy Volume I: Inferno Dante
  4. "Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote/ The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,/ And bathed every veyne in swich licour/ Of which vertu engendred is the flour;/ Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth/ Inspired hath in every holt and heeth/ The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne/ Hath in the Rame his half cours yronne." The Canterbury Tales Geoffery Chaucer
Powell's Books might be the reason I moved to Portland. 


by John L. Stanizzi

for Carol

I had seen them in the tree,
and heard they mate for life,
so I hung a bird feeder
and waited.
By the third day,
sparrows and purple finches
hovered and jockeyed
like a swarm of bees
fighting over one flower.
So I hung another feeder,
but the squabbling continued
and the seed spilled
like a shower
of tiny meteors
onto the ground
where starlings
had congregated,
and blue jays,
annoyed at the world,
disrupted everyone
except the mourning doves,
who ambled around
like plump old women
poking for the firmest
head of lettuce.

Then early one evening
they came,
the only ones--
she stood
on the periphery
of the small galaxy of seed;
he hopped
among the nuggets,
calmly chose
one seed at a time,
carried it to her,
placed it in her beak;
she, head tilted,
accepted it.
Then they fluffed,
hopped together,
did it all over again.

And filled with love,
I phoned to tell you,
over and over,
about each time
he celebrated
being there,
all alone,
with her.


My father's diary

How excited am I that the holiday season is finally over? Quite. 

It's not that I'm a scrooge, a grinch or a hater of the holidays in general. The relief simply stems from the fact that nothing is quite as depressing as spending the holidays alone. And so I did.  Crying alone underneath the Christmas tree after working all day just doesn't say Merry Christmas to me.

I'm not attempting to garner sympathy, just sharing the facts. I'm relieved the holidays are over, and I'm looking forward to whatever 2009 throws at me. I feel like it is going to be a fantastic year.

by Sharon Olds

When I sit on the bed, and spring the brass
scarab legs of its locks, inside
is the stacked, shy wealth of his print.
He could not write in script, so the pages
are sturdy with the beamwork of printedness,
TRIED OUT SOME RACQUETS--a life of ease,
except when he spun his father's DeSoto on the 
ice, and a young tree whirled up
to the hood, throwing up her arms--until
TO DESERVE SUCH A GIRL? Between the tines
of his W's, and liquid on the serifs, moonlight,
the self of the grown boy pouring
out, kneeling in pine-needle weave,
worshiping her. It was my father
good, it was my father grateful,
it was my father dead, who had left me
these small structures of his young brain--
he wanted me to know him, he wanted
someone to know him.


For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.  And to make an end is to make a beginning.
T.S. Eliot