Saturday, August 28, 2010

Offering a Hand

Here is a selection from an essay I am writing.  First draft, but I thought I'd share it anyway.  Feel free to give some critical feedback!  


He looked like any other kind, elderly black man: rocking gently on the cinderblock front porch of his subsidized home, tired after years of living— having survived a few wars, the lynching of a few relatives, integration.  His slight, wrinkled body, dark and weathered by the sun and the years, seemed one with his chair. Each morning during the fall semester, I walked past the government-housing complex just a block off campus, and thought about the unfairness of life and the tragedy of a man who was forced to navigate life as a black man in a white world.  “Good morning!” I’d call and wave to him, thankful for the opportunity to share the love of God with a lonely old man.
            One particular morning, before the sun had fully risen and the haze of the dawn was still making the world seem wobbly, I was walking sleepily to class when I caught his eye.  I didn’t want to wave this morning, I was tired from staying up too late the night before watching a 90210 marathon on cable.  He blinked his black eyes slowly and they reminded me of a horse’s eyes, red and watery, but with the depth of soul and the wisdom of experience.  I stretched my lips into a half smile and raised my hand in an attempt at being friendly.  He smiled a big, toothless grin and waved his one hand back at me. Oh, did I mention he only had one arm? I immediately felt guilty. Here I was, this able bodied, young white girl, given every opportunity and I was too tired to say hello. 
            I was never really a fan of the acronym WWJD, promoted by the more commercial brand of my faith, but, this morning, I knew what Jesus would do. So, I stopped, my smile working its way to a full grin and asked warmly, “How is your day going?” The old man called something back to me, though I imagine his being toothless made clear articulation hard work.  I walked up on the sidewalk, as I had been walking in the street, and faced him.
            “What’s that?” I asked, my bright smile shining the light of Jesus directly at him. 
            “I need some love,” he said.
            Not sure I understood him correctly, I asked for clarification again.
            I didn’t want this man to feel foolish for not being intelligible.  After all, it really wasn’t his fault.  Lack of education and lack of dental care had taken its toll.  I thought it was particularly heroic that here he was, a handicapped man, every morning, fully-dressed at 6:45, in his baggy, plaid button down shirt, brown suspenders and blue Dickies.
            “I need some love!” he called louder and more clearly this time. “Twenty dollars. I’ll give you twenty dollars to come on up on this porch and give me some love.”
            Shocked, I said what every self-respecting, independent college woman would say: “No, sir!” 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Living a Better Story

Remember this blog post? 
***

The beginning of my pursuit of writing began last year. I started reading a book recommended by a creative writing professor at Vanderbilt called Writing Fiction, a Guide to Narrative Craftby Janet Burroway. Writing Fiction is a text that walks the reader through the many elements and qualities of a compelling story and provocative writing. Like Donald Miller in his new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I have gotten excited as I connect the components of what it takes to write a good story to what it takes to LIVE a good story. Story is a theme I am thinking about daily. How do we live out this narrative we experience as life and how does it connect to the larger Meta-Narrative? These questions have reinforced for me anew my hope in the Christian story laid out in the Bible and have pushed me to ask myself how my personal story fits in that larger mystery.

Guided by Donald Miller's latest blog entry, Living a Good Story, An Alternative to New Year's ResolutionsI have decided to apply the elements of writing a good story to living a better story. As outlined in his post, instead of New Years Resolutions, I am going to "think in narrative rather than goals. The goals get met in the journey of the story."

To start, a story begins with a character who wants something enough to endure conflict and suffering to get it.
"...in order to engage our attention and sympathy, the protagonist must want, and want intensely. The thing that the character wants need not be violent or spectacular; it is the intensity of the wanting that introduces an element of danger."- pg. 33, Burroway.
So, here's question number 1. at the start of 2010: What do I want? Though I have several desires for this year, I think I will only focus on a few to be intense about. :) The "intensity" thing wears me out a bit. I'm not sure how much danger I want. Though, if I look at it that way, I can always avoid danger by choosing several TV shows to really be into this year. I could make sure to catch every episode, sacrificing all that comes in my way. But, I remember quickly, that doesn't make a good story. And who wants to look back at the end of 2010 and say they had a great year keeping up with what happens to Quinn Fabray's baby (not saying that a healthy obsession with the love triangle of Quinn, Finn and Puck is wrong, it just isnt very soul-fulfilling, in the end.)

One of the things I do want is to grow as a writer. I am willing to give up some things: mainly money (MFA programs are no joke). I will battle the fear that I am wasting our families financial resources. (They could be used to send Ellie to camp or get Atticus stellar drum lessons, or even more guilt: to buy Dave professional photography equipment that will grow his business! O the guilt!) I also have to let go of my deeply imbedded bad theology that leads me to believe that "nurturing my creative self" is selfish and, honestly, a bit new-agey. (Yes, I KNOW that God is Creator and by creating I am "imaging" him. But knowing something and believing it are two completely different things altogether!)

Another component that makes a good story, as outlined beautifully by Mr. Miller, is the "climactic scene". Writers know a story always leads to the pivotal scene. All of the action is leading up to that one event.
"They know their entire movie is heading toward that scene where Frodo throws the ring into the fire. And they write the movie to get him there."
That leads to Question #2: What scene am I headed for? What is my climactic scene? I am currently applying for grad schools. Its fairly exhausting work. I had to study for the GRE and suffer the pain of having my intelligence quantified by that stupid left-brain dominated exam (My boss told me to stop ripping the scab off that wound, but clearly I enjoy watching the blood letting!) I also had to write twenty-five pages for a writing sample. I have to still write a critical analysis of a literary work, and so on. However, this IS all headed somewhere: To my first "Writers in Residence" experience! I am applying for low-residency MFA programs that will include 7-10 days on campus going to workshops, writing, dialoguing, and editing my and others' pieces. In effect, I get to spend a whole week taking my creative self seriously! I get to call myself a writer!

I picture myself in a group of the cool kids (or, to be more realistic, a weirdo ecclectic group of socially awkward, potentially introverted, writer-types) discussing the political, social and spiritual problems of the world and then inspiring one another to write about them creatively (all while eating our lunch from a plastic tray from the university's dining hall). The scene includes my sitting underneath a tree on the university lawn writing til my hand falls off, sitting in an auditorium taking extensive notes from a lecture given by one of my favorite writers...Donald Miller, perhaps?

Don advises that, "Once you have that climactic scene in mind, you’ll know the scenes it takes to get there. Also, write this stuff down. Even if you just throw it away, write down what that climactic scene looks like, smells like and feels like. It will get in your brain and like a good protagonist in a great movie, you’ll wake every day knowing what you are supposed to do with your time."

Characters don't want to change. We really don't like it. We fight against it. We sit on our couches and watch too much hulu.com because we like comfort. Characters in a story need INCITEMENT, something that forces them to change. "An inciting incident is the event in a movie that causes upheaval in the protagonist life. The protagonist, then, naturally seeks to return to stability. And in order to do that, he HAS to solve his new problem. In Taken, Liam Neeson’s daughter is kidnapped and he MUST find her."

Question 3: What will force me to do this? Well, first of all, embarrassment. I have just told the blogging world my goal. If I don't do it, if I flake on my deadlines and don't get into any school, I have to admit it. Bringing people into my story has helped. Melinda Franklin (as previously defined as my Editor) and my other writing partner, Leslie Mitchell, have read my short story, spent time editing it, and care what I do with it. I will let them down if I don't follow through. They will have wasted their time. I do not want to let them down! Telling people my deadlines, for example, is another way to incite me to action. January 15th and March 1. All the schools I am applying to are due around then. Now, see there, I HAVE to turn them in on time because some of you are going to ask me about it. And, again, I do not want to fail you. :)

I will also need to make some extra dough for it to happen, and I think that fits in the "overcoming conflict bit", but I will try to figure out the inciting incident that will force me to make the money to pay for tuition. I'll need more time to think of that one. I'm not really motivated easily there. Any suggestions?
***

As I continue to pursue being a better writer, I celebrate my moments of victory...getting accepted into Vermont College of Fine Arts, attending my first residency this summer (the plastic tray in my vision was accurate, at least). But, my journey is far from over. The small hilly obstacles on the horizon get closer, I see that they are not actually hills, but mountains. Publication seems far off, making any money at writing seems unlikely. Maybe Donald Miller's conference in Portland will inspire me! Don directly applies literary concepts and techniques that he has learned at various conferences about how to write a better story to how to life a better life.  Do you wanna go with me?

Check out the conference link here: www.donmilleris.com/conference or watch his video add for his conference:


Thursday, July 29, 2010

VCFA Days



My life as a graduate student began June 27th as I pulled up to Vermont College of Fine Arts' campus in Montpelier, Vermont.  I spent ten days living in a dorm with one hundred and fifty other writers of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction ranging from twenty-two year olds to, well, graying-hair year olds. From the cafeteria to the non-airconditioned dorms to the nightly boozing, the residency was in every way a college experience.  Oh, I suppose I should include the lectures, workshops and readings.  But those ended up being periphery to the core of my stay.

I met some fascinating people (like "Mayor Dave", who procured the nickname after only two days of schmoozing and making friends with even the "5th Semester Students", who are equivelant to the high school popular kids on campus) and some not so fascinating people (like "Angry Dave", who earned his nickname after reading his misogynistic, bitter poetry...I started locking my dorm door after hearing him read.) Is that bad that I just posted that on a public space? I mean, I didn't post his last name. And you also can't be that sure that he is in fact a he. He may be a her.  We just might happen to call her "Angry Dave" cause she might look like "Mayor Dave", just angrier.  But, I digress...

Since returning from Vermont, I have been a camp counselor for a week, unpacked myself and family, taught a summer course at Vanderbilt (which ended yesterday) and now am packing to head to Philadelphia for a week. I am really looking forward to returning home to begin a routine! School starts August 12 for the kids...Hallelujah! I will have more time to schedule my writing and not just have to sneak off and write as many pages as I can before one of my children demands to be fed (I hate that! They can be so demanding sometimes.  You'd think popcorn would be enough, but children these days are so entitled.) Needless to say, my life in academia has started much like my first attempts at driving a stick-shift, in fits and starts. I hope the smooth driving starts soon. 

Now that I am starting this academic season of life, I look foward to sharing some of the wealth of knowledge.  My first piece of wisdom is this. "Just do it. " Okay, I realize this is Nike's wisdom, but it's all I got.  My first packet of writing is due August 5, one week from today.  The packet is to include a 2-3 page critical essay (on something craft related), a book review (also 2-3 pages)...oh shit,  I just realized as I am typing this out that it's 2-3 pages double spaced. I think i have 3-5 pages, single-spaced. oh, nothing like an overachiever...shoot. I guess I have some editing to do...Anyway, that's not all... and 30 pages of creative writing! Yikes! I can write 30 pages, but I cannot guarantee that it will be creative.  I will have to turn in that same amount each month this semester. So, feel free to try and keep up (my writerly friends). I am paying about $7,000 this semester for someone to force me to do this much writing.  Just think, you could do it FOR FREE!

Well, just thought I should update my blog. I was really getting tired of the "Proudly Serving Bologna" title on my last post. I thought it was cute when I wrote it, but now it's just embarrassing. Here's to hoping the Vermont photo makes my blog look a bit less piggy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Proudly Serving Bologna

 The Bunganut Pig in Franklin has been largely overlooked by the nouveau riche of Franklin.  It's a bit of an ol' boys joint. It certainly doesn't follow the new trends of serving "real food" from local farmers. They serve fried bologna wedges.  

However, the in-laws are in town and we were on the hunt for local fried pickles.  My fried pickle post has caused all kinds of non-organic cravings in my female readership, my mother-in-law not excluded.  So, we decided to hit the Bunganut, and I was so happy we did. 

Other than the order of fried pickles, which are some of my favorite classicly-fried pickles with straight-forward ranch dipping sauce, our lunch was highly enjoyable and healthy! We all order the special of the day: chicken salad stuffed tomotoes.  The children enjoyed playing corn-hole while we awaited our food.  A perfectly southern afternoon in Franklin, Tennessee. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Book of the Week

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
 is a book on my creative non-fiction reading list for school.   Of course, there are many books I can choose from, but this title practically screamed out to me.  I've been in a funk this week.  I've been an emotional one-man, three-ring circus...giddy one minute, raging another.  Being a hormonal female is really getting old.  Anyone? Anyone?


The other night, I got out of the house for a few stolen hours (to be honest, I think Dave actually kicked me out...or at least strongly but sweetly encouraged that I back away slowly from my family and go be alone).  I grabbed this book off the shelf since the title pretty much defined my emotional state.

I'm half way in and am pretty hooked.  It took a minute to understand the writer's voice, what he was going for, but now I'm really enjoying it.  Nick Flynn writes about his absent father whom he finally meets in a homeless shelter that he (Nick) is working at.  It's a great memoir of a boy/man and his relationship with his father.  It's really his unique voice that makes this story a stand-out.  His choppy, sentence fragments keep the story moving. His writing pops the reality of the homeless shelter in such a way that I actually smell the Bowery Mission I was at fifteen years ago.

Nick Flynn's writing is completely without bitterness or cynicism. He just tells it like it is/was.    I feel a connection with him and want to know how his life turns out.  How does he stay open to his father without being sucked into fear or losing his self? He writes:
Sometimes I'd see my father, walking past my building on his way to another nowhere. I could have given him a key, offered a piece of my floor. A futon. A bed. But I never did.  If I let him inside I would become him, the line between us would blur, my own slow-motion car wreck would speed up. 
I'm enjoying this book. But, mostly, like you might have guessed, I really just related to the title 'cause it's another bullshit night in suck city when you are living in this body of depleted serotonin.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Best Fried Pickles in Town

Im on a hunt for the perfect fried pickles.  My husband actually makes a pretty tasty fried pickle.  I love dipping them in homemade crabby-ranch dressing (ranch dressing with Old Bay seasoning). My mouth is watering just thinking about them, and I even had some already today.  Don't judge me, though, 'cause I had them at this new burger joint in 12th South, Burger Up, and I am pretty sure they were organic, grass-fed pickles.

Burger Up, on the corner of 12th Ave. South and Paris, is amazing! The use only local, organic meats and produce.  The beef is from our very own Circle L Farm in Franklin (many of you know Bill Lee and his family).  The bacon on my burger was from Benton Farms.  This bacon is like world-renowned.  It's pretty much the best bacon you will ever eat. I'm fairly certain Marche's serves only Benton bacon (am I wrong?). I know some brunch place in East Nashville uses it.  The burger tasted amazing, what with the homemade ketchup and all.  The only negative was that our burgers, which we ordered medium, ended up just being cooked to the point that a vet might have still been able to save it. (Thanks to Allison Osenga for that fabulous imagery). Of course, since the beef is practically sushi-grade, there were no fears of e-coli! I'd suggest ordering it well. The fries, served in a metal cup, were salted with sea salt, could also, not have been better.  The only thing lacking was a 'special sauce', but I guess if you are making your own ketchup, what am I whining about?

But, this post isnt entitle Burger Up is it? No, its about finding the perfect fried pickles.  These were de-lish! The batter was a delicate, perfectly-seasoned coating. The pickles were thinly sliced chips. The portion size was not exactly ample, but I suppose they are trying to keep me from having an ample bottom. (Isn't that a song...ample-bottomed jeans?) But, keeping a fit rear is not really the goal when ordering fried pickles, is it? They could be my favorite all time fried pickles, if there were more than twelve pickle slices on the plate. But, alas, they can't win if I am picking up the crumbs of the batter off the plate from hunger.  Burger Up, I'd love to say yours are the best. So, would you consider adding more pickles? I mean, come on.  How much does a pickle chip cost you? 


Another place for good fried pickles is here in town on Main Street. The new restaurant, 55 South, serves southern cajun fare. The menu focuses on Louisiana inspired entrees like raw oysters, shrimp po-boys and red beans and rice.  Being married to a cajun has ruined me for cajun food at restaurants.  Unless we are eating at Cafe Benet in the French Quarter, nothing will live up to my mother-in-law's red beans and rice or Dave's dad's chicken gumbo.  However, I can recommend the fried pickles at 55 South, except- and only except- you must order them with flour batter. Warning! Do not order the ones with cornmeal batter!  They are like eating carpet covered pickles.  Blah. You must specify the flour.  The unique thing about 55's pickles is that they are served with fried jalepe nos, too. The dipping sauce is a nice tangy compliment, but nothing to write home about.  

I will continue the hunt for the perfect pickles and keep you posted once I find them.







Sunday, May 9, 2010

Guilt Gallery

I feel guilty. About a bunch of things.  First off, I haven't blogged this week even though I told myself that, no matter what, I needed to be more consistent with my writing.  So, I decided I will chronicle my week of guilt, including the survivor's guilt I feel over not having any flood damage. Not only did I not get any flooding at our place, our plants are looking mighty hearty due to all the rain.  Also, I was supposed to read this week.  You'd think I'd be okay with the fact that I used my reading time helping my neighbors with flood clean-up, but, honestly, I did not do very much, at least not as much as my conscience seems to think.  I'm feeling kinda guilty about that.  I got a new vine for Mother's Day. I'm planting while others are still throwing out life-long treasures and memories from their garages, basements and first floors.

I took this picture on Monday, when the sun came out, the waters were already beginning to recede, and people began venturing out of their homes to assess the damage. The day of my last post (Saturday) the rain started and did not stop for two full days.  It was torrential the entire time, too.  The tornado sirens sounded throughout the night and it never occurred to me to worry about flooding. My neighbors, literally one block south of me, began evacuating their homes at two in the morning when they finally realized the waters weren't cresting anytime soon.  The creek turned into a rapid-moving lake so quickly they had to abandoned their cars when they wouldn't start. Who knew my house was on one of the highest points in the Franklin city limits? SURVIVOR'S GUILT.





My kids had an art show at school this week.  (Aren't they amazing artists?) Do I encourage them enough? Do I tell them how awesome they are? I doubt it. I nag them and tell them they whine too much. I also did not volunteer to help the other parents who put on the art show and ice cream social. Boo. PTA GUILT.


Look at these faces? How on earth can I rage against them ever? And yet I do. I have this week. Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! This is how I know I haven't lost my religion. I have to cry out to Jesus to deliver me and my children from my rottenness. I know that some of you hate this kind of talk. You'll want to soothe me and tell me I do an awesome job parenting, that Ellie and Atticus are blessed to have me as their mom.  I do believe this...mostly because I believe it is God's plan for them and so who I am to dispute that...but that truth is not mutually exclusive from the truth that I am also a jerk to them. I accept both these truths fully. I just happen to be feeling the negative part more this week.  MOTHER GUILT (perhaps the worst kind of guilt!)



I woke up this morning, Mother's Day, to my children fighting. Atticus was knocking on the door as Ellie was screaming that he wasn't allowed to wake me up.  Atticus wanted to know if he could have a lollipop, at 8 am.  Ellie wanted him to obey the sign posted to my door.  It was a sweet gesture and valiant attempt at giving me extra sleep this morning.  At breakfast I told my family a story about my friend's child who, when I asked to fill out a Mother's Day card in their kindergarten class, said her mom's favorite thing to do was to lie down and she was really great at sleeping.  Thinking I would get a good laugh at my friends expense (oops, guilty), I was surprised when Atticus shouted after I finished the story, "Ahhh! I should have put that!" Double guilt.  I'm a lazing mother. My mother never slept past 7! WORK ETHIC GUILT.

Ellie's Mother's Day card included a poem. She announced to me that her goal was to make me laugh. Apparently, I laugh more at Atticus then her. Her attempt was as follows:
I love you so,
my heart is quow.*
You're like a song in my heart,
You're like a fart, 
ready to dart.

*quow is a made up word to force the rhyme. 

Yes, I laughed. Sadly,  I have encouraged my child to follow me in my path of potty-talk. She has stooped to using "fart" in a poem in order to please me.  Ugh. It worked. Guilty as charged. DIRTY-MOUTHED MOMMY GUILT.

And now, to continue in reasons to feel guilty, I'll recommend a book that I just started it yesterday.  I have only read one essay and I didn't really like it. It was about canoeing, the power of water and the force of current.  It was a little too poetic for my taste, though very timely thematically.  I am trying to slow my thoughts down to enjoy this type of literature, because I know it's supposed to be good.  I might be too used to eating at Burger King to enjoy French cuisine, if you get my metaphor.  I read just the other day on someone's facebook post that Natalie Merchant said a poet's job is to surround in silence that which needs to be paid attention to. (I just murdered that quote, and I kinda feel guilty about it, but I think you get the sentiment.) So, here you go: My guilty book of the week is Recollected Essays 1965-1980 by Wendell Berry.  I also have posted a link to Hannah Coulter by Wendall Berry, because (although I haven't read this either), I have heard this is a phenomenal book.  It's probably more of my speed, too.  IMPOSTER GUILT.
My neighbor across the street, Thomas "Brah" McLemore, died today.  He was an incredibly sweet man who never once neglected to greet me from his front porch, where he sat daily.  I wonder quietly if he wished I would have stopped to talk to him more.  I am sad that I may have missed out on knowing him better.  He was the great-grandson of the original land owner of our neighborhood. Mr. McLemore was a sharecropper who bought the land from his original slave master.  Thomas was so kind to me, even though I carry the guilt of my ancestors. WHITE GUILT.


This photo is of Thomas' great grandfather, Harvey McLemore. Ex-slave turned land-owner and namer of Hard Bargain. 

The biggest guilt-whammy I feel at the end of this week is from this picture that Dave took at 6 am, Monday morning, of the cemetery in downtown Franklin.  The photo is haunting and beautiful.  As I look at it, I feel ashamed of my guilt.  Why do I fret over these insignificant details? In light of the tragedy that my fellow Tennesseans have endured, in light of eternity.  Death is sad, but peaceful.  One day I will be without guilt. Worms maybe, but no guilt. NO GUILT.


You can click here to see the gallery of pictures from the Flood of 2010 (The photos look much clearer on his gallery).  "They" are calling this the 500 year flood, as the chances of this happening again are one in five hundred years.  Dave's photos will be available for purchase and proceeds will go to the Hard Bargain Flood Relief Fund. Email him  for more information.  





Saturday, May 1, 2010

Juniper Tree Book of the Week

Oh, I am so excited! I just got a package from Amazon with four books from my CNF (Creative Non-Fiction...learning the acronyms of my craft) reading list. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, Memoirs by Pablo Neruda, News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Persian Girls by Nahid Rachlin. This is my homework! I'm sorry I can't do the dishes, I have homework to do.  How much do I love grad school??

Since I have yet to read these books, I won't recommend them, but look for those titles to show up in the near future.


However, I am in the middle of reading a great memoir that I can recommend:  All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg. Just after reading the prologue alone, I realized just how far I need to go in my writing. Every sentence he writes is art.  Bragg's stories are his personal experiences, but the way he tells them is like an anthropological study on the poor in Alabama. I now know what it's like to be raised on a cotton farm in north Alabama by a momma who didn't buy herself a new dress for seventeen years because she used every dime she earned to help get her three boys through school.  

 "My grandmother, who fried me whole boneyards of chicken, who got midly drunk on her prescriptions, played "Boilin' Cabbage Down" on the banjo and stomped so hard on the planks so hard it sounded like Jehovah pounding at the door, was gone." 
This book reminds me of why I love (and am haunted by) my southern heritage. Bragg writes,
This is not an important book. It is only the story of a strong woman, a tortured man and three sons who lived hemmed in by thin cotton and ragged history in notheastern Alabama, in a time when blacks and whites found reason to hate each other and a whole lot of people who could not stand themselves.
 All Over but the Shoutin' is a beautifully written memoir about a tragic, but triumphant life lived out in the humid and dirty air of a small southern town.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Yoga, Flip-Flops and Guacamole

I decided to go ahead and get off my ass and go to yoga.  In the end, i chose to go, because, even though i hate to exercise and i especially hate women who exercise and have little boy hips, i can go to yoga in my flip flops. There really is something to getting dressed for a workout by putting on your flops that makes you think, this is not gonna be that bad.  My yoga pants are pretty flattering, too.  There is a nice seam across the middle of my rear that makes it look half the size it is.  Another added incentive to dressing for yoga.

Last week, I went to Pat's class for the first time in about a year. I think after I ran (okay, more like waddled) the half marathon, my body decided that it completed a year's worth of the exercise it needed.  Now, the year is over (last weekend was the Country Music Marathon) and its time to get back to work.  Unfortunately,  Pat didn't get the memo that this was my first time back and she decided to try out something I'd like to refer to as Yoga Torture.  I left after 45 minutes of doing every fourth pose.  I think she got confused and thought she was teaching the aerobics class. We sat in "chair" for 3 minutes, same with "plank". Like I said, I walked out and went to Kroger to buy some chips and dip.

This week was much better, though. After being convinced by some Facebook friendly-fire, I got motivated to lace up my flip-flops and head in.  Pat was much nicer today and remembered that yoga isn't really about exercise, but about pretending to.  Breathing loudly while standing in "Warrior 1" is definitely my kind of workout.  Half way through the hour we laid on our backs and centered our minds.  I particularly enjoy the part where we relax are hips and let our navels collapse. It's really tough work.  I also love doing "The Swan".  I get to look at my smartly pedicured toes, over and over.

There is one girl in class that takes Yoga a bit too seriously, though, and I am debating whether or not to tell her.  She exhales like an exploding tire and I wonder if that can't be good for her.  She looks great in her yoga pants, too. She stands in front with all the other skinny girls who have those little boy hips I mentioned.  But, our instructor, Pat, has healthy hips, so I can keep going without too much inner criticism.

That's what yoga is all about, anyways: Quieting that inner critic so balance happens, inside and out.  If I can just get them to serve guacamole during class, I think I will be able to find perfect peace.

Namaste.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Why I love Tina Fey

I mean, who doesn't love Tina Fey, really? But, I just wanted to write about her.  She is one of my modern day heros.  She is an archetype of the 21st century woman. She is a writer, actor, comedian, and producer. She  was the first female head writer for Saturday Night Live. And she is funny as hell. She is an amazing example of a woman who has achieved success without the expense of her femininity. 

I just spent half an hour googling about her life.  How did she know herself so well that she went directly from college (after getting her BA in drama) to taking classes and then trying out for the improv group where many of the comedians from SNL got there start? I think I'm jealous.  I wanna be a writer for SNL. I wanna write my own screenplay called Mean Girls. 

I wanna tell jokes about how girls should where cups, too, when they play sports. It hurts just as bad for us to get popped in the crotch.  It's even more embarrassing, though.  Guys get to roll around on the ground, recovering. Girls have to waddle to the sidelines and act like they twisted their ankle, or something.  I got nailed in the who-who one time by a soccer ball and the pain was so intense it radiated to my nipples. Thought they were gonna shoot right off my chest.  Of course, I just stood there, trying to catch my breath, waiting for the pain to subside. I was left to wonder, once again, if it was possible to break your vagina.  See, if I was Tina Fey, I could say that and people would laugh. I bet her mother didn't call her, "My Little Truck-Driver." Or maybe she did, but it was meant as a compliment. 

I love Tina Fey. I love her so much I want to marry her.  



  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Parenthood

I adore the new show Parenthood. I cry every episode. Other than the fact that everyone has amazing houses to live in, the characters are all totally relatable.  The family dramas are very close to home. The sibling rivalries, financial crises, sexual dysfunctions, mental health issues with the kids, competitiveness with the children, etc.  They handle all of it head on and with a sense of humor.  

I gasp every episode at least one time with how "head on" they face some hot button topics.  In the episode entitled "What's going on down there?", they lightly tackle the generation gap between the women who landscape and those who "go all chia pet".   In another episode, the eldest brother and his black sheep sister discuss the integrity of "faking it" after the brother realizes that his wife "fakes it." The sister explains gently that it really is more of an act of compassion than anything else. She explains its like a "Thank you for trying. Come again soon." 

Anyway, check it out on hulu.com. I think you'll find it amusing at the very least. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Motorcycle Memories


When he called, I was expecting a quick lunch at Puckett’s downtown. That’s feels like our usual place now, even though I think we’ve only been there once together.  But, then at one o’clock, I hear the familiar rumble of his Harley pulling up in front of my house.  I could recognize the sound of Dad’s bike coming from two blocks away. When I realized we’d be taking his bike, my stomach did a quick flip-flop. I hadn’t been on a motorcycle since Ellie was born, 9 years ago.  Not that I had many opportunities to decline a ride, but once I had a baby to take care of, motorcycles made me nervous.

Dad gave me a few options and we decided on the Loveless CafĂ©.  I’d never been there, even though it’s like a Nashville hotspot.  I climbed on, worrying that my older, more hefty, middle-aged version of myself would be more than Dad could handle on his bike.  I played the scene of Dad losing his balance and us crashing.  When my brain made the mental check that it seemed unlikely, he revved the motor and we took off.

A smile spread across my face. As we rounded onto 11thAvenue, the rush of wind against my face was followed by a rush of memories. A flip-book of a dozen childhood scenes flashed through my mind.  I remembered burning my leg on the tailpipe of a neighbor’s motorcycle that my dad forbid me to ride.  I remembered the utter terror of feeling like I was going to slowly vibrate off the back of Dad’s vintage Triumph speeding down the freeway in Atlanta.  I remembered, after taking a huge jump on a dirt track, landing hard on top of the gas cap of my brother’s Yamaha 250, wondering if it was possible to break your vagina. I remembered trying to keep that pain hidden because I was the only girl around and wasn’t sure if anyone had noticed yet.

Now, just like every ride I ever took with him as a small girl, I felt a visceral connection with my dad. His love of story, of adventure, and of me emanated from his back directly into my chest. And my chest was open. I sucked in deep gulps of it as the ride started, relaxing slowly into regulated inhales and exhales as we rode down the Natchez Trace.  The powerful rumble of his huge bike underneath me and the great, open sky above me reminded me of how small, how fragile I am. But, Dad, just like when I was eleven, blocked me from most of it.  His broad back, the gray hair curling out from underneath his helmet, and the soft crease in his neck were all familiar reminders that I was protected from the bigness around me. 

I am looking forward to more Harley rides with my Dad, though I am still a little unnerved by the thought of doing it again.  Adventures and intimacy are always risky business. 


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Juniper Tree Book of the Week

Now that I am required to read from a fairly obscure book list (or maybe not so obscure- I've just been had my literary head in the sand), I thought I'd start sharing some of the books with my readers. Vermont College of Fine Arts has some fairly extensive required reading lists for poetry, creative non-fiction and fiction.  I will be studying mostly creative non-fiction, but will be reading from all the lists.

The first book I want to share with you is juvenile fiction.  I have a huge love for that genre ever since I started teaching high school ESL.  We read dozens of books by Lois Lowery, Sandra Cisneros and Gary Paulsen, to name a few of my favorite authors.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is an incredibly addictive, fast-paced sci-fi.  It's not as cheesy as Twilight...you won't be as embarrassed for enjoying it.  For those of you who don't normally enjoy science-fiction, I have to say that it doesn't feel like you're reading sci-fi.

You will fall in love with the main characters, the heart-wrenching love-triangle, and the drama of sufferers of a government in the future that is obsessed with fashion and utter indulgence at the expense of its "district" citizens.

Get this book, but be prepared to ignore your family and friends while reading.  Nursing moms: this is one that you won't be sad to wake up in the middle of the night for.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

April Fool's


I was five years old and I walked down the street to the twins' house. It was a bit further walk than I would normally go, but they had invited me over for an official play-date. The twins were red-headed, freckled girls in my kindergarten class in Amherst, Massachusetts, where we lived for a few years. I was excited and nervous. This was a fairly big adventure for me.

Feeling oddly confident, I entered the twins' house and was greeted by their mom and dad. Their dad was seated at a small round kitchen table eating cereal from a bowl — in the middle of the day. This was my first inclination that something wasn't right. My dad was never home in the middle of the day, and if he was, he definitely was NOT going to be eating cereal.

Their dad seemed nice enough, though. He smiled really big and put out his hand to shake mine. He shook it vigorously while the twins giggled at his silliness. Then, he called me over closer and lowered his voice to a whisper. "Do you wanna see an elephant in the cat's water bowl?" he asked me in a conspiring voice. "Huh?" I articulated. He repeated his question, but with a sense of urgency, "Do you wanna see an elephant in the cat's water bowl?!"

I quickly turned to where he was casting his eyes to see if there was really an elephant in the cat's water bowl. The water bowl and the food bowl, were side by side, pushed up close to the refrigerator. No elephant in sight.

"April Fools!" he shouted. The twins erupted in staccato giggling, one hand over their mouth, one hand pointing at me. "He got you!" they cheered.

I stood there, unsmiling, staring back at them blankly. I had no idea what was happening. I started to cry.

Their dad quickly stood up and said, "I was just joking. It's April Fool's Day. Do you know what that is?" I shook my head and sniffed, stopping the flow of tears.

I don't remember anything after that. No playing in the twins room. No running in their backyard. No snacks. Only the empty kitty bowl.

decided then and there that I hated April Fool's Day. I had never heard of it before and, since I came from a Christian home, I also decided that it must have been a pagan holiday. The Druids probably made it up. That's what my parents had told me to explain why Christmas trees were a part of Jesus' birthday. Maybe those tree worshippers thought it was also funny to tease kids.

That was the last time I visited the twins and their foolish pagan father. Never trust a man who eats cereal in the middle of the day.




Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What She Was Thinking I Was Thinking...



Click here to read Kristin's inner dialogue.

Girls, girls, girls...By the way, the irony of this: my blog made me think about how much I needed a hair cut. So, I booked one for tomorrow with Kristin. Not only is she a good writer (you should subscribe to her blog), but she is truly a great stylist. Check out her salon Green Pea Salon in the 12 South Neighborhood. Maybe we'll run into each other there and I'll wonder what you're thinking.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What I Was Thinking She Was Thinking

I just finished reading my gal pal Kristen's latest post about how hard it is making girl friends. Even in our thirties, the same insecurities from the junior high locker room still haunt us, they just age. She has bigger boobs than me turns into Her boobs dont sag as much as mine.

Kristin and I just met for lunch last week, in the middle of my Atticus crisis. We just started hanging out recently to talk about writing. She is a writer, mother and uber-cool hair stylist and I wanted to get her input on where she thought I should get my MFA. I was down to two schools (Seattle Pacific U and Vermont College), and was hoping someone would help me figure out where to go since most of my brain power was otherwise depleted. I had to decide by last Friday.

As we were discussing the benefits of each school, I realized there was actually another conversation happening that Kristin had no idea about that exhibits nicely the reason why females struggle so hard to be friends. The two conversations kinda went like this:

ME: What do you know about Seattle Pacific's program? *Oh God. I didn't shower this morning and my hair looks so greasy. Kristin is gonna think I am a total loser. Do you think I am a total loser, Kristin?

KRISTIN: Yes! It's a great school. I don't know much about the program, but their journal IMAGE is really top-notch. You could definitely benefit from the connections you'd make there.

ME: But, don't you think I have opportunities in Nashville for those same connections? Do you think I should break out of the box and be in a place where my framework is challenged?
*You think I need my bangs cut, don't you? You are totally mocking my hair right now, arent you? You and your edgy 80's punk rock hair-do are judging my greasy, no hair-do hair-do, arent you?

KRISTIN: Yeah! Definitely. That would be a really great experience. You really can't go wrong either place. I'm really excited for you. That's gonna be awesome.

ME: Thanks, Kristin. I'm really excited. Thanks for getting together with me. I'd love to do this again. *You can't wait til I get my nasty-assed hair away from you cause I'm lowering your stock. I know you are embarrassed to be seen with me in Jackson's. You are hoping people don't notice your dorky, uncool friend with her stupid necklace. How do you know how to dress so freaking cute? Bohemian, yet still clean? Whenever I try that I just look dirty. Why do I always look so dirty? Dammit! I hate my hair.

KRISTIN: Me, too!


So, Kristin wonders why it's so hard to make girl friends. Exhibit A should help explain. We are shallow, caddy, critical, competitive comparers who can't just enjoy a simple conversation. I wish I were a boy who just wanted to show off how he could get a wad of paper into that hole other there. Life would just be so much easier...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Latest



Atticus is the same. Happy boy by day, angsty child by night.

After his EEG, the latest neurologist (the third in one week) relieved us slightly with his take on Atticus' situation. With the EEG being clear, his thoughts were that there was not enough evidence that pointed to Atti's hallucinations being seizures. He also said, contrary to what the other neurologist claimed, that the things he is seeing are unlikely to be related to the "spot" on his MRI and that the spot is most likely an enlarged blood vessel (a highly common occurrence). He recommended that we see an ophthalmologist next.

It's interesting how many people are coming out of the wood-work with their own hallucination stories. You'd be surprised at how many people have had them (non-drug induced at that).

In fact, tonight I just heard another story: when my friend was a child, he experienced hallucinations in the form of his Mork from Ork poster talking to him. Dave, my husband, had auditory hallucinations and is convinced he suffered from a disorder called Micropsia (otherwise known as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome), where perception is distorted and things grow or shrink in size.

I've been given horror stories (several, in fact) of friends who have been diagnosed with Celiac's disease after years of being undiagnosed with symptoms including hallucinations, paranoia, anorexia, and more! Really, I could write a book with the stories people are sharing with me...though, I think I already saw it at a store the other day. The book was titled: A Comprehensive List of all the Illnesses that I could Have: For the Hypochondriac.

At times, I have been grateful for the stories that help me know in which direction to look for answers, but at other times I have felt overwhelmed beyond belief. Believe me, if a dozen doctors can't figure out what is wrong with Atticus, it's a shame if he has to depend on me to figure it out. I'm just not that kind of person. You know the kind, the kind that is so devoted to one system of belief that he or she can heal someone just by virtue of their total commitment to researching and strictly abiding by an alternative way of treatment. I've never strictly abided by anything. I don't even shower daily. Or every three days. Seriously, I have to believe in God, cause I certainly don't believe in my own powers of healing.

The stories from adults about when they were kids help, though. We survived childhood. It was traumatizing, but we survived it. I always hate it when people say in response to all their worries, "Oh, to have the worries of a child..." Do they not remember how overwhelming their worries felt? The insecurities of not having friends, the fear of their parents divorcing, death, eternity, the boogie monster?? Its awful stuff. And yet, we made it. We survived it.

I think maybe this is one of those things Atticus is surviving. Maybe one day, if he remembers, he'll tell the story about these crazy light flashes he saw and how they lasted one month and then never came back. He'll say, "The doctors never figured it out, but now (in the year 2025) they call it Growth Spurt Psychosis. There is very little treatment, just comforting the patient that this too shall pass. It was so weird and totally terrifying. But, then it just stopped. My parents were so freaked out. They prayed a lot and a bunch of their friends from Facebook told them how much they were praying for me...can you believe there was Facebook back then?? Anyway, I learned a lot about how to comfort myself. I still like singing the song from Psalm 121 to myself—I lift my eyes up, up to the mountains, where does my help come from..."


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Keeping Green by Recycling My Posts

This one is an oldie, but thought I'd bring it back for my newer blog followers. Classic Ellie. And, since she hasn't gotten a lot of air time lately...

New Year, Carrots and Good Eye-sight


My New Year's Eve in Philadelphia? Oh. I was just laying in my bed, watching the Penn's Landing fireworks out my window and relaxing to the sound of gun shots a block away. Of course, I only assumed that what I was hearing was gun shots until I heard the news this morning that there were multiple arrests made for illegal use of hand guns, as well as news of several critically injured from stray bullets! I guess my first question is always: How then should I live? In light of guns being fired in celebration in my neighborhood, how am I as a follower of Jesus Christ with little children supposed to live?

It reminds me of an Ellie story...

This time last year, Ellie, Atticus (my 3 year old) and I were on our way down Girard Avenue on the coldest day of the winter. We were stopped at a red light. Up ahead, I noticed a woman walking toward us down the sidewalk. Now, because I was talking on my cell phone, my brain was slow to compute. This was no ordinary woman, but an obese woman without a stitch of clothing. My thoughts slowing disengaged from my conversation to this surreal sight. This naked woman looked like she was out for a Sunday stroll. "What in the world??" I said out loud.

Ellie, on-point as always, quickly sits up to get a look out the front window. "Ellie, cover your eyes!" She immediately obeyed. (Hmm.)

I then watch as a police cruiser slowly pulls up to the sidewalk and an officer gets out. He approaches the woman with one arm behind her back, gently shepherding her into his vehicle. She gets in and they drive away. The light turned green and it was my turn to go.

I look in the review window and note that Ellie is still covering her face with her hands. I tell her its okay to look. I asked her if she saw anything. She answers, "That police man?" I sighed in relief. She didn't see anything. But, I decided to double-check. "Did you see what that police man was doing, Ellie?"

You mean, putting that naked woman in his car?

Nothing gets by this girl. So, I then launch into a discussion about why on earth that woman, on the coldest day of the year, was walking down Girard in absolutely no clothes. However, Ellie, true to form, had to disagree with me on those details.Mom, she was not totally naked. She had panties on. I reassured her that she was entirely nude.

Again, I am called to ask the question: How then should I live? WWJD?? Even though I felt pretty much alone in my struggles, I prayed for wisdom and began to connect the sight we had just witnessed to our most recent family devotional. "Ellie, do you remember when we talked about how Adam and Eve disobeyed God and then, from that point on, sin and yuckiness entered the world? Well, that woman is not supposed to be cold and naked walking down the street. It makes God sad. We don't know why she is alone without any clothes, but we do know that God does not want that for that woman. She is made in his image and he wants only good things for her. And, one day, He will heal the world so that will never happen again. Do you understand?"

Yes, Mama. But if she was naked, what was that black stuff in her bottom?

Ellie, WHAT were you doing looking that closely at her bottom??

I eat carrots, babe.



Friday, March 19, 2010

Wisdom from a Saudi Student


I opened my work email this morning and found this beautifully wise words of comfort from one of my 18 year-old Saudi students. I am sharing it with you in the hopes that you will find his wisdom applicable for your situation today. Truth is global.

hi Sarah, today you reminded me of my little brother.. when you told us about  your son sick..  because before I left Saudi Arabia for America my brother a few of his face burned by acid, our maid put it on his face. The police take her to prison ,, but my brother needed plastic surgery and he did it but he is still under treatment.  

The most important thing I learned of that case is (((don’t be sad!))) never ever. In fact when I was seeing my brother I was sad and sometimes I was crying but with time I thought why did I do that? I lose my happy and my life but nothing change.. today I believe that ((we can’t change the life , but we can change ourselves)) whatever happen we must learn how can we settle it without sad.. our sad don’t change anything .. do your best and leave the rest to the god  

Sarah, don’t lose your smile because you have beautiful smile (without courtesy) I’ll pray for him and I believe everything well getting better when we close to the god   I’m sorry about my grammar and my writing but I was writing my feeling  please let me know when his case getting better Sincerely Messo

I love that I get the privilege to know these students from the other side of the world. To see more about the program I coordinate at Vanderbilt, click on the link below.  
www.vanderbilt.edu/elc/FoundationProgram

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Remember the Ouzel


Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein.

This torrent you are facing
It's smaller than hers.
And she, she is smaller than you.
And still, she flies in.

The current is fierce
The gorges are dark
The spray beats angry against her back
And still, she flies in.

She is only given sticks and air.
Alone she walks submerged
Hearing only threatening waters.
And still, she flies in.

She knows there is life there.
She knew this before she hatched.
She sings her water-songs
She sings and flies in.


The Ouzel alone of all birds, dares to enter a white torrent. -John Muir






Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Forced Lent

Lent is generally a season where you give up something comforting in order to get the real comfort given by the death and resurrection of Christ. Not coming from a very orthodox variety of Christianity, I never gave up anything for Lent. However, in the past few years, I have decided to give it a go and give up things like TV, potato chips (my most serious self-deprivation to date), and Facebook. Now looking back, I don't exactly remember that I found any huge jewels at the end of that scavenger hunt, at least nothing more than any other mild pursuit of God that I have ventured before.

Just a few moments ago, however, it just dawned on me (after listening to some podcasts about lent and wilderness for my creative writing group) that, this year, God has chosen my Lenten sacrifice for me. No, I don't think God has snatched away something of value from me in order to teach me a lesson, but, I do believe that since life is a journey of suffering, He is able to magnify the times of pointed wilderness-wandering and remind us of the beauty in suffering and what is on the other side. In times of intense pain, whether self-inflicted or simply the result of the brokenness of life, the promise that God will show up feels all the more poignant.

As we await the diagnosis of the cause of our son's hallucinations (so far we have a possible diagnosis of epilepsy caused by either a malformation or a tumor in his brain), I feel the intense dryness of the unknown, the hopeless futility of walking in circles and the panic of being left alone. But, I think I can handle all of this if, along this wild and painful path, I also get a glimpse of God's back — a brief moment when the light comes on and I see Beauty so much clearer because it has been cast so closely next to Darkness. The promise that God draws us into the wilderness in order whisper his unfailing love to us is a comfort, and I even dare to say, an appealing proposition.

Though I know this is not the Lent I would have chosen for myself or my family, I trust in the God who tasted the full suffering of this life, drank from the cup of death and overcame. Of course, I am looking forward to that last part the most.

Monday, March 8, 2010

God versus the Spiders

Atticus is still seeing things. Since our initial hypothesis (my overdosing of my baby) has for the most part been proven false, we are in the throws of trying to figure out what is causing the hallucinations. Our current hypothesis is that his asthma/allergy medication, Singulair, is the culprit, or possibly the combo of Singulair and Zyrtec. His last dosage was last Thursday night and we are hoping the medicine will be completely out of his body within a week. He slept through the night last night with no visits by spiders (Thank you, Jesus.). Though, this morning he abruptly stopped watching a cartoon to sit at the kitchen table to finish his cereal. I did not ask about it, but assume the spinning-light-thingys that he is seeing were bothering him again.

Friday night, he experienced three terror-stricken hours of hallucinating spiders slowly crawly toward him. His eyes, locked wide onto these invisible terrors, caused physical pain in my chest as Dave and I held him and whispered urgent truth to him. "Those aren't real. The medicine is playing tricks on your eyes. They cannot hurt you. You are safe." After several minutes of battling these lying apparitions, we were able to convince Atticus to close his eyes and tell us about all the things he is thankful for. His list was long. His ability to move so quickly from a place of darkness to his love for skateboarding and his thankfulness for all his friends was remarkable.

All of that was extremely painful to watch, but the worst was hearing him recount his "unanswered" prayer. "Mom, I asked God to make it stop. Why didn't he answer me?" This is the cry of every person who lives and yet hearing my child's plea for mercy sliced my heart. How many times just this year have I wondered the same thing. Where are you God and why aren't you making this better?

And yet, seeing this play out in the 5 year-old-version has helped me see the answer a bit clearer. Why didn't the hallucinations stop when Atticus prayed for help? If it is true that the medicine is effecting his body this way, he will continue to have them until his body has been detoxified. That is just the reality of our broken bodies and a broken medical system. There is suffering in the world. Does this alone mean that God is being apathetic to our pain, because he does not relieve it? Where was God while Atticus was suffering? I believe he was with me and Dave, broken-hearted watching him and moving toward him to ease it. God was present in the love we had to offer Atticus, the wisdom Dave had in giving clear direction to Atticus (Close your eyes. Listen to us), the relief he brings every morning when the sun comes up. The sun made the spiders go away and I know who commands the sun.

How painful and exhausting it is to see your children suffer. Even more painful is watching them work out their faith. I know this will be a life long journey for him. I can speak in, but I am not in control. I want him to believe, to trust in God's love for him, but I also want God to make it easier for him. I see my own wrestling while I watch my five year old wrestle. I want to believe that when I call, he will answer.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

From the safety of my bed and a well-timed Xanax


Lately, I have been struggling with panic attacks. It's a new thing for me, considering I have always seen myself as a rather care-free person, not prone to anxiety. I am generally less cautious than most. I love a good adventure. I don't wash my hands often. I sit on public toilet seats. I am a risk taker at-large.

Last night, however, the risk I took was accidental and at the expense of my five year old son: I overdosed him on allergy medication. We are fairly certain that is what happened as the evidence piles up against me. Atticus spent the entire night awake hallucinating spinning spiders. We initially thought he was having a nightmare. He seemed relatively lucid, but after an hour of paranoid shifty eyes, we began to worry. Dave ended up sleeping on the couch with him, though he never really slept. He sat in a chair shooting looks around the room with dialated eyes, talking of invisible spiders that don't hurt you but are everywhere, especially in beds.

Oh God, I am a horrible mother.

Not only did I inadvertantly (I must add that adverb to continue to ease my guilt) O.D. my son, I had a panic attack while trying to care for him. I think it was when he asked me, "What is time?" that triggered me. My feet started to sweat, cold waves attached themselves to my limbs and my ears started buzzing. I slowly set Atticus on the floor and hastily grabbed a half of a Xanax. Though I have only taken one once before and I am trying to implement self-talk in times of panic, I was certain I needed one immediately.

Atticus begged to go to school, presumably to escape the potential spiders of his drug-induced wig out. After a quick call to our family nurse, we feel comforted that he does not need immediate medical attention (though, feel free to give your take on what to do if you are a trained professional). He seemed like his paranoia was lessening as he ate his pancakes and talked of giving his teacher a picture of a catfish he drew between 1 and 4am.

My husband's role in life continues to be affirmed as the pyschological care-giver of our little roving band of schizos. As he left for work, he leaned over the bed, kissed me and left me with one last bit of comfort: "I hope you feel better. Atticus is going to be fine and I only judge you a little." What more could a girl ask for, really?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Snackeriffic!




I have a weird appetite. I can't eat breakfast, but when I do, it's usually cold spaghetti. I crave salted meats. I love chips and dip. Fried foods? Yes, Ma'am! But, I also love veggies. I get in these cycles of cravings. For one month, I'll eat the same thing everyday for lunch, like a spinach salad with Goddess dressing. My current craving is FAGE, the greek style yogurt. OMG. It's snackeriffic. I drizzle honey on top. Law, its delish. I get it at Trader Joe's, but I have also bought it at the Not-So-Dirty-Now Kroger in Franklin on Hillsboro Road. They even had the kind that was pre-mixed with honey. Oh my, that was nice. Actually, I must thank Anna Hyatt Nicolades for the introduction. Maybe she felt an ethnic duty to promote the product since she married a Greek man. Whatever her motives, I thank her. It's been my lunch for the past two months. I don't know how long this will last though, cause my work bag is all sticky from carrying around my honey bear.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Panic Attacks: A Counseling Case Study (Part 1) | CCEF

Panic Attacks: A Counseling Case Study (Part 1) | CCEF

Posted using ShareThis

Dave and I listened to this podcast the other night. Really engaging. I absolutely adore David Powilson and wish he were my grandpa. I took a course from him at Westminster. He really is as kind as he sounds.

Being in counseling this year with a therapist who uses a different model than the "Three Trees" has been a real lesson in learning how to integrate things I already know or have been exposed to with new paradigms. It has sent my brain reeling more than once, but I think its a beneficial experience for me.

Hope you enjoy the podcast...its about 30 minutes long.