Monday, January 26, 2009

Where I am

Hey Everyone,
I know I've been absent on this blog for the last few months! I hope to pick it up again in the not too distant future, but for now you can find me here:


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More from Poetry Class - Homestead

Here is another poem that I wrote for class this semester. It needs a bit of tweaking before I turn in the final copy, but at least I've gotten the words out (that's more than half the battle).

I've been spending a lot of time posting on the blog for our photography business lately:
However, I do eventually plan on keeping up on this writing blog in the near future. We've got some exciting changes coming up in our lives that may allow for this so...I'll keep you posted. No pun intended (oh no, my husband is rubbing off on me) :) Anyways, enjoy the poem and let me know what you think.

My grandma came home
from a funeral, bringing in a pot,
a tree she received in remembrance of-
I don’t remember who.
She said that I could help her plant it,
and every year after
I marveled to see it grow

the result of my tiny palms
pressed into the dirt,
securing one more Douglas Fir,
safely into it’s dark, native soil.
Shooting out needle green fingers,
It quickly outgrew my measly four feet
and now keeps watch over the creek

where I used to play
on slippery smooth stones,
still in the blissful state before
learning how to tell time, before
knowing that I was not the first
to touch the dirt I found
between my toes, beneath my nails.

Neither was my great-grandfather,
who built the place by hand,
with boards from trees
he was not there to plant,
and with nails from back East
that rusted into the timber and stayed,
curled up in the clouded damp
of an Oregon spring.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last year for one of my writing classes, we were all asked to write about something that irritated us, so that we could practice describing that feeling. I found it when I was sorting through some documents today!

Just keep in mind in case you miss this: I am making fun of myself for the little things in life that get on my nerves, not criticizing my husband.

When I got married, people told me that I would find myself arguing with my husband about the pettiest things. I shook my head at them in pity. No, not me…never. That is clearly only for people who haven’t gone through premarital counseling or don’t know what their Love Language is. Yet here I am, two years later, ready for a knock-down-drag-out with my husband about dishrags. It is a blow to my pride to admit that it has come to this, but it is the truth.

We have a reasonable amount of dishrags, at least seven or eight…enough for an entire week of clean dishrags. However, my husband seriously resists putting the old dishrag into the laundry and bringing a new one out of the drawer. Furthermore, he finds it unnecessary to rinse out the dishrag after using it, or to hang it nicely along the edge of the sink so that it can dry out. It is very disconcerting to come into the kitchen to wipe the counter, only to find the rag full of food particles, coffee grounds, and crumpled beneath a pile of dirty dishes.

We had to do away with sponges altogether because I read somewhere that they are basically like breeding grounds for bacteria…little petri dishes for diseases that can be used to wipe your kitchen surfaces. However exaggerated this might be, I just can’t bring myself to use a sponge or a dishrag more than couple of times unless I soak it alternately in each liquid cleaner found in my house.

Maybe after having children, I will ease up about the germ factor in our kitchen, and embrace the dirty dishrags and sponges altogether. In the meantime though, my husband will probably have to suffer through my lectures, and indignant marches from the kitchen to the washing machine. What is the solution to our deep seeded marital problem? Probably paper towels!

Thursday, September 11, 2008 goes!

I'm taking a Writing Poetry class this semester which seems to be taking a great deal of courage. Listening to a lecture is one thing, actually sharing a poem with a class is something entirely different.

I really haven't written any poems for a few know, since the phase in life when I was going through breakups and dramatic things like that.

Anyways, here goes my first try. This is the draft I am taking to class today for editing.

Remembering Italy From the Kitchen Window

The first time my toes touched the Mediterranean
I was worried about a lot of things.
I didn’t even see the sun make liquid
Out of my third gelato for the day
As I agonized over important decisions
And my adulthood started to rise up inside of me,
Slowly like the balmy tide
Swelling and then retreating, one wave and then another.

Now instead I worry over dishwater
And with raisin fingers, wonder about the perfect temperature for baking chicken,
Or how to pay the health insurance bill
That is threatening me from the kitchen table.
But I know that these things are worth having,
These humdrum treasures I’ve strung together to make a life.

I know this from the way the sun filters through the blinds just enough to wake me in the mornings,
Or the mama bird who lays her eggs in my petunia basket so that I can watch them grow feathers and leave.
None of it, not a single mundane miracle
Goes unnoticed by my briefcase of a soul
Which has been filled to the brim, and overflowing
One menial moment at a time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Poem to Share

I know it's been a while since i've posted on here. Recently some loving words from a friend inspired me to update more regularly.
I wanted to share this poem that I read today.


by Mary Oliver

It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I will change. I promise.

So, what is the point of having a blog that you never update? Nada. There is nothing. Hakuna.

I vow to update this blog at least once a week this summer. When school starts, this promise is null and void. There you go...this is a big commitment for me, and I'm getting cold feet. Tony, if I can do it, you can too!

Here is a random picture because I think that every blog post should have something for us to stare at. This is from my husband's blog which is also never updated. Actually, he has gotten better about it lately. He also has a website. Yes, it is true that there is nothing on the information page. I guess if you like his work, you just cannot contact him. There is no way. You can always wonder what it would have been like to have him take your picture...if only you had his email...his phone #...or even a fax.

Actually, I'm just giving him a hard time.

Here are some pictures I used for a video project for a class.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

untitled, autobiographical essay (for class)

I always try to reach back in my mind to define the moment when my child hood ended. For my friend Jeruto in rural Kenya, it was when she became strong enough to strap a baby sibling to her back. Her life could be divided into two phases of life: when she was a baby strapped to someone’s back, and when she had a baby strapped to her back. Another division occurs for Kenyan women when their body begins to grow into its maternal glory, with the round rump for dancing, balanced on strong legs for working. For young boys, there is the long awaited circumcision ceremony with its painful aspects being balanced by their first real taste of home brew and their father’s proud eyes.

There was no ceremony to mark my passing from that place of trust in the world; and no obvious signs that I had embarked on my own journey of understanding the currency that the world really deals in; My distrust of the world came creeping up on me, the way that the ants in our yard would invade your body if you mistook their mounds of dirt for a sandbox. Gradually, so that you didn’t even know they were there until they reached your shoulders, leaving no choice but to strip down and start slapping.

My mother says that I took the world upon my shoulders long before I should have; becoming a wispy, dreamy child with the eyes of a sad grandmother. Sad eyes that come from opening them up too wide in Africa, where it is impossible for a sad little granny in pigtails to go on believing that all is right with the world.

Francis, our gardener could never get anything done because I followed him around the yard asking him big questions about the universe with a vocabulary that far exceeded his understanding of English. My mom didn’t mind because she hated the thought of having servants anyway. She tried to let them all go the week after she arrived in Kenya to find that they had been hired for her.

Francis kindly explained to her that she would be looked down upon in the community if she didn’t provide wages for at least two people, when she was clearly wealthy enough to own a car. Washing missionary’s dishes was a coveted position. She agreed at the time, but was never entirely comfortable with the arrangement, always sending them home early, giving them breaks for sodas and chai, and teaching us to treat them as friends and equals.

My sister and I were forever making up games. Francis would let us parade him around the yard in paper handcuffs as our prisoner. We were top secret detectives. He raced in our very own Olympic games, complete with gold and silver medals, made from the lids of tomato cans. Francis pushed me on my bike, played hide and seek, helped me hunt for beatles, and took my discarded toys home to his beautiful daughter Vivian.

All of the white people in Kitale were invited to a dinner given by the ladies of the Indian Community. Femina Night; I repeated the words in my head in the days leading up to it. I had heard there was to be a fashion show (women in saris) and real Chinese food brought in from Nairobi. I laid out my black velveteen Christmas dress and thick white tights, stained on the heels with red dirt from the times when I couldn’t stand my shoes. The night before the big event, I saw fit to invite my best friend Francis, the Gardener, Prisoner, and Olympian. He stood in his Kelly green coveralls, and repeated back to me my new favorite words, Femina Night?

After running inside to tell my mom the good news (that Francis was able to attend), I learned a very hard lesson. Black people cannot come to Femina Night. This is for white people and Indian business owners only. My Poor Mother. How can you explain to a broken hearted eight year old the rules about colonial Africa, supposedly long forgotten? How do you explain why Mahindra at the grocery store yells at his black assistant and beats him for loading our groceries too slowly? I pondered the revolutionary thought for the rest of the afternoon, while mom (with tears in her eyes) called Francis inside for a soda to try to explain why Black People are Not Welcome at Femina Night. Black people cannot watch sari fashion shows or eat Chinese food from Nairobi.

Later that year we learned that we could no longer eat fish from Lake Victoria, which flows out of Rwanda. When my mom told me about this, I learned a new word. Genocide. Our Kenyan friends shook their heads and clicked their tongues in pity as we all gathered around the newspaper articles with pictures of the bodies. Thank God there is no tribalism in Kenya, they would say, rolling their eyes towards the sky.

Now I read on the news about the ancient tension between the Luo and Kikuyus who are now bent on killing each other in Kenya. Last year their children were going to school together, unaware of who was in each tribe. This year, they are being exploited by politicians who have found a way to cultivate hatred in order to get what they want. While the slums of Nairobi are being looted and burned, they sit in their mansions with body guards and wash their hands of the whole thing. Meanwhile, across the ocean, we watch yet another African country disintegrate into violence and hunger.

I am older now though; and long past the growing up point, though it’s hard to say when that actually happened. Little girls with sad eyes inevitably grow into women with their own burdens to bear and their own secret sadness. As I turned twenty-four this year, I couldn’t help grieving the child that I was before I learned about things like Femina Night and Genocide.

I miss that child because she still believed that there was a place for everyone in this world, and that no one would be left out in the cold; no one would be chosen above anyone else; loved because they are white. I guess it’s not a question of being able to hold onto to that naivety about the ways of the world; but that we still choose to believe in what should be;
how it somehow could be.
I honor both the child that I was, and the woman I have become with the extent to which I fight for those ideals held by the young and innocent...those who haven’t yet learned to differentiate between who does and does not deserve to be loved.