Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What's in a name? | Tuesday Slice

I'd seen her before. Sometimes with a toe-headed little guy bouncing about. Sometimes by herself gardening. Down the street from our house, in front of one we looked at during our never-ending search nearly two years ago now. It demanded some work and we moved on, serendipitously as I judged from the backhoe cozied up to the curb in front.

Today, she made the most of the afternoon's sunny warmth by schlepping large hardware store paper bags of lawn clippings down their steep driveway for trash pick-up in the morning. I watched her progress as I pushed Grant, tucked neatly into his red umbrella stroller, nearer. After all, we were making the most of the weather too.

"I think a boy from Reid's soccer class lives down the street in the house we looked at earlier...you know, the one with the unfinished basement?" Tom's words from months before echoed in my mind.

I played the 'what if' game while bumping rhythmically over the neighborhood's sidewalk cracks.

What if I stop and introduce myself and she seems indifferent?
What if I stop and introduce myself and she wants to be friends?
What if I stop and introduce myself and her little boy becomes a friend for Reid?

The latter idea won out; I fashioned my opening line.

"Hi. I know this may seem random, but I think you have a son who is about my son's age...four?"

"Yes, we do."

"My husband noticed that he followed your husband back from a soccer class the kids were both in last winter. And I've seen your little guy outside playing."

"Oh, yes. Callum was in soccer. Little Kickers in Carmel, right?"

And we went on to chat about their house, and her remarks about it being "tired." So tired, in fact, that they had to destroy the existing deck because it was close to collapsing...not to mention that it somehow encouraged basement flooding in recent months when all the snow decided to exit stage left. 

Whew -- we dodged a bullet.

"What's your name?"

"It's Jo. Josephine. But Jo is easier. For everyone."

"Josephine is a pretty name. My name is Brenna."

She giggled. GIGGLED.

I'm used to being called just about anything. Breanna. Breena (as per my college graduation). Brenda. Breonna. Branna. But a giggle? On our first meeting? My face must have given away my thoughts...

"That's Celtic," her British accent more pronounced now, "maiden with dark hair."

"That's what I hear -- although my hair color's off with these dirty blonde tresses," I offered as comic relief. "Why do you giggle?" Did I really just say that?

"We call our black Labrador 'Brenna.'"

And now I've heard it all.

I giggled too, the awkward way one might when she doesn't exactly know what to say next...

Home base.

"So, it would be fun for the boys to play together sometime soon. Can we call you?"

Write on,

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I sit here... | Tuesday Slice

I sit here
a hen on her nest
incubating ideas
then hatching them
one by one
Sometimes it
takes a while
to see them grow
and sometimes I blink my eyes and they're gone
taking wobbly steps
out into the world
Sometimes they come back
begging for more
I oblige
never one to turn down an opportunity to fluff
and preen
never one to miss the chance to nurse 
just a little bit longer
and hold tight to the potential for what will come
be it lengthy or sparse
verbose or exacting
We work together to figure it out
in this sun-drenched roost
surrounded by antiques
soothing music
and chai in the perfect polka dot mug
I sit here

Write on,

Monday, March 31, 2014

Retrospective | Slice 31:31

Playing in the nursery this morning before nap, 
Grant happily climbed around on the antique rocking chair from my parents. 
I snapped pictures, for fun, but realized they go right along with where we are today.

It started off at the beginning
like a challenge
one we'd have to climb up into
making solid our footing
piece by piece

And once we were up 
it seemed like daily 
we grew
through community
Fellow writers made us strong
even when we weren't confident about
the words and ideas we'd strung together

And there were the days
in the high-teens and early-twenties
where a tired thought argued with a productive one
It'd be easy to skip tonight...
The challenge won out
Perseverance blossomed
We chose a new angle from which to write

As we drew near to 30
we stood tall
surveying our stories
noting the influences 
of friends
of mentors
of comments

And now we've arrived
March 31, 2014
We sit
the satisfaction of stick-with-it-ness
we know we can do it
And because we can keep growing together
week by week

Until Tuesday...

Write on,

Sunday, March 30, 2014

We are together | Slice 30:31

The sun is shining
through the creamy sheers
that dress the bank of windows
on the east wall of the family room
I choose to sit
in front of them
feeling each ray's warmth
melting into a hazelnut leather armchair
that angles toward its better half
which cushions my better half as we
explore summer vacations
while I write for you
you sit with us here
in this peaceful space
on this quiet morning
your feet crossed in an X 
atop the rectangular pincushion of an ottoman
sharing a corner like we do
there is so much to say
but sometimes we don't say it
we sit
we bask
we reflect
like the sun 
as it illuminates the pair of wall hangings
shining like glassy waves rolling into
an idyllic beach

We are together

Write on,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dress-up | Slice 29:31

I do this sometimes
I disappear into my closet, and reemerge many times
as someone different
Maybe I try on my black leggings, new tunic from Anthropologie, and the suede Mary Janes I wrote about earlier this month...
the boho-hippie girl I like to be sometimes
Maybe I try on my spring capri pants (to make sure they still fit) with my mix-and-match knit shirts, mostly striped...OK, always striped...
the preppie girl I like to be sometimes
Maybe I try on my black dresses with new accessories (like pearls, or statement necklaces, or a scarf) and different pairs of heels (like round-toed pumps, pointy-toed patent leather slingbacks, or bronze peep-toed slip-ons)...
the refined girl I like to be sometimes
I consider this all homework
You know, for the mornings where I need to get dressed quickly
(which, incidentally, is most of them)
I remember
which shoes complement each
skirt, pair of pants, and dress
I remember
the combos I wore last season
and the new ones I create while playing dress-up
I found a sleeveless dress hanging in a suit bag from Parisian
I bought it four years ago when the store was still open downtown
It still has the tags hanging from the left armhole and it still fits
But when I put it on it needed something that popped
so I added my most recent purchase
this belt, a steal at $4.88, from Loft

It goes with the dress like the two were sold together
A blessing...I might need such an outfit sometime soon
And I found it playing dress-up

Write on,

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ice cream? | Slice 28:31

I am watching 'Diners, Drive-In's, and Dives', sitting cross-legged on the family room rug while my husband runs to the grocery store for ice cream. It's amazing how easily our conversation transitioned from idea to grabbing shoes, one wallet, and a set of keys...

He giggles, "You know, I'm still hungry."

"I could eat again...I'm not really full either," I throw out the way a little child does with an encouraging nod and a wink that ensures he'll ultimately get what he wants.

He bites. "Well, I could go to Marsh. If you could have anything you want, what would it be?"

"My favorite is Ben and Jerry's Phish Food. You'd love it -- chocolate ice cream full of mini chocolate fish and intersecting rivers of caramel and marshmallow cream.Will you try to find that?"

"Will it be on sale?"

Our eyes meet; he reads them like a billboard.

Then he advances a knowing glance. One that covers my tired body like a cozy blanket. One that acknowledges the strife I feel when analyzing (and over-analyzing) my next career move and lets me know that it will be alright. One that soothes my spirit by plying it with sweet treats, because even if it doesn't make any sense to my diet...it most surely does for my mental health.

Guy Fieri continues to jabber about greasy treats, cheesy delights, and desserts slathered in sauces; I keep typing.

I won't lie -- I'm looking forward to the perfect bite of Phish Food that is speckled with a little ice cream, oozing with a caramel, marshmallowy river, and built on one perfectly incorporated chocolate fish.

I think I hear the garage door opening...

Write on,

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Art lesson... | Slice 27:31

We had just finished the tough part -- peeling the final product from its waxy background.

"Mommy, let's hang your new sticker over here," he headed toward the dining room window while padding around shiny pieces of All-Clad that dotted our kitchen floor thanks to one toddler who likes raiding cabinets far more than toy boxes. I followed with baited breath and a back-pocket "Why this window, Reid?" just in case he didn't offer tantalizing details, such as this one. I'm always so curious to see how his line of thinking unfolds...

"Here we go," he slid behind the white wood blinds with the colorful dragonfly sticker pressed into one hand. We had made it together over the past two days, thanks for a kit my parents mailed him on Valentine's Day, and had waited...and waited...and waited for each component to dry before moving on to the next. 

Reid's little creative heart swooned as he found just the right spot on the lower half of the casement window. He used his soft fingertips to pad it into place.

Time to pull it out. The question du jour. "So, Reid, why this window for your beautiful dragonfly?" His answer came before I took my next breath.

He walked toward the antique chair closest to the window, patting its black leather seat pad. "Well, Mommy, you sit at the dining room table everyday...in this chair...to do school work on your computer, so I wanted you to have something pretty to look at. You can look at it and think of me."


He teaches me with his dried-goo artistry...
that none of us is done growing and changing, child or adult
that we can be transparent, allowing His light to shine through us 
that we can bless others with our gifts, stickers or words

Write on,