Monday, May 21, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I don't consider myself much of a poet. But, in my grieving last week at the loss of Grandpa, just 4 months after the loss of Grandma, I found myself penning a poem. This is part of my healing. Part of my learning to say, "Goodbye."

This is my small tribute to Grandpa and Grandma.

Saying Goodbye

As I pass your still form,
I look into your face
and whisper a goodbye.

The word—so meager—sticks
in the hollowness of my stomach
and in the lump in my throat.

Tears run rivers of paltry
down my cheeks,
my neck.

No word can encompass
the thirty years of love-filled
how are yous?

Later, I stroll through what remains
trailing my fingers over hills of
dishes, wallets, tools, shoes.
Ninety years of possessions collected,
chaotic and out-of-place.
So unlike how you lived, unlike even
how you died.

Memories, thick as smoke, rise
from the touch of a kitchen cabinet door,
from the scroll of penmanship across
recipe cards and a well-thumbed copy of Hoyle’s,
from a glance at the ever-vigilant Grandfather clock,
from a seat at the table around which so many meals
began with Father, we pause just now…

You are here,
sort of.

I am told to find a token,
a memory.

I don’t want a thing.
I want you.
If I take of what is left,
I acknowledge you are not.

Yet, I take to help say goodbye.

I lift a sewing machine—a mere toy—
crafted by your own hands
and caress the smooth two-toned wood
seamlessly joined as one.
In this small piece I see
the couple you were and the family you built.
With each twist of the knob,
I watch the threaded needle bob
up, down,
up, down,
sewing a rhythmic memory of your life—
dedication, precision, family, laughter, faith, hope, love.

And as I tuck the sewing machine beneath my arm,
I remember our eternity and how
saying goodbye to you today
is an invitation to
say hello again
some other day
in glory.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What I've Been Reading: March/April Edition

I know we're nearly halfway through May already, but I thought I'd bring you my March/April reading list. January came and went and for the first time in several years I didn't set myself any particular reading goals for the year. Instead, I've read whatever has caught my fancy. For this year, it's been a good decision, though I hope to create goals for myself again. But for now, I'm enjoying reading at whim.

I am never at a loss for books. In fact, between work and home I'm constantly surrounded by them. I have a never decreasing stack of books I'm either perusing for information (usually health and exercise related or cookbooks--I have an addiction to checking out cookbooks from the library!) or reading just for the sheer pleasure.

For whatever reason, my reading has been dominated by nonfiction in the last few months. I'd like to highlight three particular books. Real Food by Nina Planck is a thought-provoking book asking the reader to consider their food and eating habits. I tend toward being a thinker about food anyway, particularly because of Jeremy's eating needs. But Planck's book caused me to make a few more changes, the biggest being the kind of milk I buy. I now buy my milk from the farmer. Just about the time I read the book, I local farmer began selling his cream-top, grass-fed milk at the farmer's market. It is of course twice as expensive as conventional milk, but it's a price I'm willing to pay. Plus, the milk is delicious!

I was first introduced to the writings of Lauren Winner while in college. She's written several books about her faith and conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, which I've enjoyed and appreciated. So, I was quite interested in reading her newest book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis. This is a different sort of spiritual memoir because Winner is examining and questioning her faith after the death of her mother and the demise of her marriage. While I haven't walked through either of those tragedies, I still found much food for thought. After finishing the book, I decided to re-read Winner's book Mudhouse Sabbath. It was just as good the second time around.

Lastly, while I don't have any children, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pamela Druckerman's book, Bringing Up Bébé. Druckerman is an American raising children in Paris. This book is her exploration of the difference between American and French parenting. It's both interesting and easy to read.

Real Food by Nina Planck
Girl Hunter by Georgia Pelligrini
Scenes From an Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine (graphic novel)
Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott
The Real Elizabeth by Andrew Marr
Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner
Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth
Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner
Wild: from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
Thirst (poems) by Mary Oliver

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (YA)
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater (children's)
A Surrey State of Affairs by Ceri Radford
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Ponytail

Today I stopped by the post office and spent $2.12 mailing my ponytail. Late last week I parted with 9 inches of hair. Thanks to my mom, I'm sporting a new short, layered, summery cut and the rest of my hair is on its way to Pantene Beautiful Lengths hair donation program.

This is the fourth time I've donated my hair in the past 12 years. But this is the first time donating to Pantene. Previously I've sent the extra locks to Locks of Love. Locks of Love makes wigs for kids with hair loss. Pantene makes wigs for woman who have lost hair due to cancer. I decided since I'm 30 now, maybe it would be nice to donate to a program for women. :)

Every time I cut my hair off for donation I figure it's the last time. And this time it may well be, but I'm thankful I've had the opportunity to share my hair with those in need.
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