Sunday, September 30, 2012


We've got a village.
It makes me happy.
We grew it from nothing.  Nurtured it with proximity and time.  Cultivated it with experiences.
We let what is take over what we were wishing for.
We pray and recharge each other's mojo.  
We root and console.  
We shut up and just listen. 
We tell the real story not the sanitized version.
We are learning to give in a way that is truly helpful, not in a way that is easy or that comes naturally or is what we like to do anyway, but in a way that is hard...sometimes very hard.
We are learning to receive in a way that is simple. Grateful and simple.  With no score being kept or tally of "I owe you one".
We are more than we are.  We are the varied things we have to offer and we are built up by our willingness to demonstrate just how much we cannot do alone.

It's not about where you live.  You can't move into a have to grow one.  Cultivate one.  Build one.  It's about what you have to offer.  And that you're willing to ask.

Community spills out of us if we let it.  We have to let it.  We are all givers but a village is born when we learn to receive what others have to give.  Just as they give it.

The Village, not those village people...MY village people...I am so grateful for you.

The woodcutter and the nutty professor
Mother Grey Goose and the cabinet maker
The maestro and the blogger
The teacher and the rock star
The foodie and the huntsman
The ice maker and the lifesaver

We've got a village.  
It makes me happy.

Friday, September 21, 2012

No. 2

The right tool for the job.  It's kind of totally a hang-up of mine. 

I have been known to halt the progress of a recipe and go on a kitchen wide search for a specific red spatula that often results in finding it dirty, in the dishwasher wherein I take the time to wash it before I use it instead of just grabbing the inferior blue spatula that was clean in the drawer.  The red one works better.  I'll leave that blue one for some other sucker, or scraper as the case may be. 

Ditto for pencils.  We have a jar of sharpened pencils on our counter that are easy to reach at homework time.  An eclectic collection of free ones from Halloweens past, small town parades and birthday party goody bags.  My daughters love them.  They remember with bizarre accuracy where each one came from and I'm happy for them.  These pencils all suck.  For me, the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 is the only pencil.  Period.  The right tool for the job; any writing job that might require revision or lengthy contemplation.  I keep a secret stash of them in my desk drawer in the basement.  I will, occasionally on rare occasion grab one of those inferior implements from the jar.  They do, in fact, make a mark on a grocery list or a smiley face on a sheet of math facts.  But when I do reach for the wrong tool, the whole time I'm using it, I am preoccupied by the fact that I know there is a better tool for the job.

It's kind of sick.

I come by it naturally.  My father would rather put off doing a job than to attempt to complete it with the wrong tool.  I inherited this trait handicap from him.  Thanks Dad.  Sorry Dad. 

Not doing a project because you don't have the right tool?  That's silly you say.  For me, it actually gets worse.

I stop cooking to search for spatulas.  I run extra flights of stairs to select pencils.  And I selectively remove myself from participating in all sorts of fun stuff because I am paralyzed by my fear that I won't have what it takes to participate.  That I won't have the right tools for the job.

Damn that was hard to write.

I opt out of sports with a lie about preferring to be on the sidelines because I am afraid I won't have a good enough throw, or a spot on swing or a nice hard hit or be able to catch that thing you threw at me.  Those are the tools of sport.  Right? 

I can't?  Or I won't?  I think I won't is closer to the truth.

How did I get here from a word about pencils?  It all comes back to having the right tool for the job.  Or not, as the case may be.  This essay feels more personal than most of the ones you'll find here on this little blog, but oh well.  There's big stuff coming for this little me.  And my anxiety level is off the charts.  I'm planning to tell you all about it...once it's over.  I have assembled many of the tools that are right for the job that's to be done; running shoes, road bike, helmet, gloves, water bottle.  There are other tools that will be required; motivation, endurance, courage.  Have I got the right tools for the job?

I am not sure.

I am sure of these two things:

There is value in knowing the right tool for the job.

There is also value in going ahead and attempting the job anyway. 

*Yes.  We are aware that technically "No. 2" is not a single word.  We decided to make a teeny exception because it was a reader submission AND because certainly No. 2 describes a single thought when referring to the lead of a pencil. Have you got a word you'd like to see us tackle?  Send it our way in a comment or post it to our Facebook page.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Storms don't appear out of nowhere.  Some kind of sign usually announces their impending arrival.  Swirling weather patterns like clouds and low pressure.  Stirred up messes like PET scans and suspicious lumps.  Dark days with eyes that won't meet your gaze and blame getting placed.  Weak systems like zero balance checking accounts and piled up bills.

There is usually some kind of sign.  The storm is coming.

How can you possibly be ready?  What if you miss the signs?  Or weren't looking for them in the first place?

Once you're in the thick of's too late.  Or is it?

There is one thing that stands confidently and watches the approaching storm.  One thing that gathers the necessary supplies and prepares for the onslaught.  One thing that leans into the wind, and bends but does not break.  One thing you can see even when the visibility is zero.  One thing that spreads over you when the debris of your life is falling down around you.  One thing that does not need to to be built back up when the storm has passed because it was never knocked down in the first place.

There is one thing.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Where did I come from?  My parents?  My parents’ parents?  Their parents?   Was it a place?  Was it always that place?  Or maybe a time?  Or the time before that time?  Who is my family?  What’s their story?  Is it a name?  Was it always that name?  What was the name before that name?  Before that?

How far back in my lineage do I have to go before nobody knows?  I’ve been pretty far down that list of names and dates.  We’ve got people in our family who know all of it.  I’ve gone far enough back to realize I don’t care how far back someone knows something about somebody.  Far enough back to realize that’s only part of the story? 

No matter how long the story is, no matter how much of it is known…it’s only the first part.

What brought me here and where am I going?  I’m learning painfully scraping along the journey of releasing, without forgetting, where I came from.  And all of a sudden there are new things I can do.  Things that I didn’t think I was supposed to be able to do.  Because of where I came from.  Things I didn’t know I wanted to do.  Because of where I came from.  

There’s the family I came from, and the family I made.  The man I chose and those precious children?  We made them.  They are of us.  We are of them.  These things we made are making us into who we are. 

That’s the next part of the story. 

I left one family.  And made another.  That’s just simply the way it’s done. 

As if any family ever gets made any other way.