Endless

I am poised to write – ready to go with a blank page and a blinking curser. But, what to write about?

The possibilities are endless. I could write about the long tongue of a giraffe curling around a leaf of lettuce held in my hand, or the dangerous seductiveness of a Midwest thunderstorm, or the masterfulness of Truman Capote.

There is the image of the Taj Mahal to describe, or the space of the Sahara, or the expression on someone’s face when something bad just struck.

I could write about the mosque alarm clock I bought in Syria that brought back childhood memories of a friend who brought the exact clock to show-and-tell, or how my boyfriend found three ticks on his body yesterday after we went shooting and I am worried because I found none, or how my mom just sent me the new Coldplay CD.

There is the meaning of life to embrace, the urge of not residing in the moment to contemplate, the fear of losing control to consider.

I can write about the gratitude of waking from a bad dream, or the shame of accidentally pushing a toddler in the sand as he cried reaching toward his mom, or the relief from taking a deep breath – accepting that what happened was true, and that I can live with it because I will.

There is the warmth of the sun, the healing of a drop of Neosporin, the truth of a smile.

The possibilities are endless.

Dirty Thirty

On the last day of my thirtieth year…hmmm…I woke up, dealt with insurance, took Big Dog on a walk, dealt with insurance again (then again), heard the thunder, cried with it, made a Yumm Bowl lunch, went to the store, went to David’s Bridal to pick up a bridesmaid dress, and now I sit here – writing.

Around the days celebrating our birth, we can feel reflective – what composed the last year, what emerging intentions we might have for this new beginning. Lest we forget, there are always new beginnings.

So this last year – thirty – was an amazing year. It wasn’t the easily AMAAAZING year that we sometimes have, but it was true and enlightening and funny and hard.

The fall bulged with colors on our street – red and green and yellow – mixed with sweat and the fading sound of cicadas.

Thirty, for me, culminated in a Midwest winter with North Winds and crazy amounts of snow. It slapped me in the face – wake up – she said – I did this so you don’t have any distractions, so you can face what you need to face in exposed cold.

And I did, and I still am.

The ice gave way to spring – to green everywhere. Then twisters (change) and fireflies (magic) and wheat (acceptance).

If anything, on the even of turning thirty-one, this last year was a year. It was a big year.

Haar

It’s softly dropping mist this evening in Topeka, after a previous night of thunderstorms. The rolling cracks woke me in the early morning just enough to feel a little fear, and beauty, and mumble “it’s thunder baby.” He pulls me closer because he knows I’m afraid.

In Oregon, I love thunderstorms. The heat, the warm rain, the thunder, the lighting that strikes in a high desert sky. Here, I am afraid. I don’t know yet what is a thunderstorm and what is calling for a tornado.

But this evening, it is calm. Like a haar. Living on a medieval coast of Scotland my first year of college, my Scottish friend told me the thick bank of coastal fog was called a haar. We all giggled and wrapped our foreign lips around the noise coming out of our mouths: Haaaaarrrr. Like a pirate.

The Harr was thick and calming. Encompassing and safe. It was soft. Kind of like it is tonight in Topeka.


 

New Years

It’s already been a seemingly tough year. New years generally start with a lot of hope and a first journal entry that encouragingly expounds on possibility and intent.

Not this year. The first journal entry this year started with: “The dream of myself then is not the dream of myself now.”Some may call it growing pains, or some kind of life transition moving to Kansas and living with a man for the first time. But, now in the bleak midwinter with below freezing temperatures, this upcoming year is going to be scary.

I dreamed myself into a certain image when I was young – smart, beautiful, strong, traveling adventuring journalist – but it stopped at the point when I met someone I could see my life with. I thought everything would effortlessly fall into place after that. I stopped fantasizing about myself beyond that point.

And that’s where I am now. I don’t know what happens next. I can create a new image for my future self to find arbitrary worth – perhaps as a teacher or a mother or a writer or whatever I think I want to be.

Or, I don’t have to.Instead of designing a new expectant identity, that separates me from humanity, I can reach into the fear of not knowing in 2014. I can trust, and open, and sit with that soft vulnerable spot in our hearts that connect us all.

I can just be. I can appreciate that I don’t know. And, kindly, that I never will.

You might be rough and scary, 2014, but thank you for it all.

Trains of Thought

With a dry run of inspiration for blog post ideas (after more than a year), it’s time for that fun writing exercise: stream of consciousness writing. So, the following is four minutes of “train of thought” writing. It’s always fun to see where this stuff goes.

          

The sun glances through our new curtains in a divine filter. Makes you smile when you get up in the morning and see it. My boyfriend noticed it first when he got up – oh baby look at the curtains – and yes, it is beautiful. Trains planes and automonames. Automonames. Sounds like a failed Disney movie.

Oh it’s almost Christmas! We are wrapping gifts and cooking things and listening to my Holiday play list of random holiday music that is not holiday music. Kind of fun. Snow outside. Cold outside. Sunny skies and squirrel nests in the trees. Ryan Adams makes me want to dance. Dance with honesty.

There is a pile of books next to me – some of my favorites – waiting to be wrapped. It will be my first Christmas in Kansas. That has a ring to it, huh? Christmas in Kansas. With the north wind and freezing temperatures and icy roads and Christmas wonder. Wonder of everything we know and don’t know, of God, and God. Of control and trust. I know there are more things I don’t know, than what I think I know. We never know, really. Our opinions and what we think is right or wrong or what is going to happen in the future or what we actually want even – we don’t really know. We just watch, and feel, and appreciate wherever the path may wind.

A Holiday Playlist

Confession: I’m not a huge holiday person. Dressing up as Dorothy this year, purely because it is my first Halloween in Kansas, on October 31 I usually sport a “This is my Costume” t-shirt and call it good.

This is the first year I live in a house with a residential neighborhood, so the first time I had to rush to the store to purchase forgotten candy for the costumed kids that will be knocking (good stuff, like peanut butter cups because I was excited to get those). Then comes Thanksgiving. Then Christmas. Then New Years. Then Valentine’s Day and Easter and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and my birthday and Fourth of July and Flag Day.

Each is a way to express yourself, eat through love, show appreciation, mark time in a way that all blurs together.

To help us remember that every day is a celebration. And a gift.

 

Music on my Holiday playlist so far (2080, Yeasayer; Halloween Head, Ryan Adams; The General Specific, Band of Horses; Beautiful Day, U2; Gonna Make You Love Me, Ryan Adams; The Deaf Girl’s Song, Cloud Cult)

Catapulting Cows. Or Pianos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After consuming Frito pie and drinking a few beers while tailgating at nearby University, my boyfriend and I sat down for a discussion about Pure Moments.

He referenced the scene from Northern Exposure, where they capitulate a piano instead of a cow in efforts to experience a pure moment. We both agreed that a pure moment can’t be planned or expected. It’s the surprise or the unexpectedness in the expectation that is pure.

Francine Prose in Reading Like a Writer writes that “We all begin as close readers. Even before we learn to read, the process of being read aloud to, and of listening, means that we are taking in one word after another, one phrase at a time that we are paying attention to whatever each word or phrase is transmitting.”

Listening is a pure moment. Sometimes my mind wanders to plan the future or replay scenarios of possible personal failures or success as other speak to me. But when I listen, which I am learning to do in Kansas with its propensity of storytelling as a cultural protocol, I don’t know what I am going to hear. It is pure because I have no idea how the story will end, or if I think I know it usually never ends that way.

Writing is similar. The pure moments in writing are when we get out of the way of ourselves. Drop the expectations of being published or even that what we write is going to be good. Instead, let the pure moment flow from somewhere inside of you through your fingers and onto the page.

That’s purity. That’s truth. That’s why we read and write and tell stories.

Brokenhearted in Antigua

I would much rather be in love in Kansas than brokenhearted in Antigua. I realized that last night eating pizza across from my boyfriend, talking about Des’s heart-rendering rejection in paradise. Just a few weeks before, she had said:

“If you want great love you have to take great risks.” Well, she did.

Once, I wrote a pitch about why I watch ‘The Bachelor’ for someone collecting essay ideas about life in our 20s. Here it is, because I think it might make a good blog post instead:

I was crushed when Brad Womack did not kneel down on one knee to ask Jenni, or DeAnna for that matter, to marry him. What?!? The carelessly handsome bachelor had rejected both women after months of seductively romantic courtships. It was the first time in The Bachelor’s history that this had happened.

I was crushed, but more than that, I loved it.

I loved it that both women had fallen madly in love with one man, that they both had been rejected, and that they were now in tearful anguish in the back of a limousine wondering “what went wrong.” I loved it because, at that moment, I felt the same way.

After ending a four-year relationship, I was also a crying heap on the floor. The Bachelor helped me – it helped me accept that I wasn’t alone.

When I admit that I watch The Bachelor friends will react with “That’s horrible!,” or some variance on the same phrase. I always respond with “I know!”

Because I do know – I know that it’s “horrible,” that it’s unrealistic, and that it’s dramatic crack for some women (like me). But while I don’t watch The Real Housewives or Gossip Girl, I am addicted to The Bachelor because the show embellishes underlying process of human attraction, romantic attachment, and intense communication. Watching the show every Monday night, I can always find a nugget of helpful empathy to bring to my own life and my own relationships

As a 20-something woman I love The Bachelor. The women are my age, they feel the devastating emotions I have felt, and they are on this continual journey (if you are a Bachelor fan, you must drink at that word) that I am also on. My journey, though, is not on TV – but I feel it all just the same.

Flipping Pages, Again

Well fellow friends and followers – it’s time for another change, and another chapter.

I just turned 30, so the blog’s tag line needs editing, but not too dramatically. Instead of “dangerously close to 30,” it shall become “barely 30”. As time inevitably passes, I would like to start making these changes with grace and integrity instead of with resistance. Clinging and resisting, I think, actually just makes time go faster. Feeling and trusting allows it to slow.

The essence and intention of this blog will endure, so not to worry.

Embarking today for my move to Topeka, Kansas (not via a tornado), I chose to begin another blog to record those adventures that will be happened

upon in Middle America. Check it out or follow the new blog: Kansas Adventuring.

While the Kansas Adventuring blog is a side project, Wonderings and Wanderings will continue to be updated twice a month with posts about geography, humanity, time, connections, and duct taped those small truths.

Even though we are now “barely 30,” we are still wondering and wandering.

Forever, and ever.That’s a promise.

Knuckleheads

Roger Clyne, with pointed boots and a mouth that hung seductively from a microphone, performed last week with the Peacemakers in Kansas City at the outdoor, industrial, adult Disneyland music venue that is Knuckleheads.

His voice dripped lyrics as a train visibly and intimately rumbled around the corner. At the venue, the neon sign was bright, the tin corrugated, the wood knotty, the beer cold.

I accompanied a few seasoned pros for my introduction to the band. Fortunately, the driver knew exactly where to stop on the return trip to Topeka. A WAFFLE HOUSE with three employees smoking on the curb as we pulled in at 1 am.

We sauntered up to the counter and sat on swivel stools, the only customers in the restaurant.

I ordered two waffles stacked for $4.04, with a side of bacon on top. The server magically unloaded peanut butter and chocolate chips to complement the waffles. The chips easily melted into the syrup.

I cleaned my plate (as you will unfortunately witness).

In honor of the man who bought DinnerBreakfast for us all, this is for you:

(It’s a series of waffle pictures with chosen lyrics relaying a story. The lyrics are from Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers songs performed that night)

I have no notion where I’m bound

I used to be sly

Clouds tumble over themselves in the sky

Yeah the good guys and the bad guys they never work past noon

It’s givin’ my heart a little elbow room

God bless the fools, for screwing up all the rules

You know I’d do it all again