Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A creative moment

Warning: spontaneous creativity ahead...

She looked like a fashion plate, standing outside on the sidewalk the day we met. I think it was the shoes that I noticed first, because they made absolutely no sense for a Washington winter. I was bundled in as many layers as I could manage, from sweaters and scarves, to boots and a hand-knit, slightly lopsided wool hat. Her shoes were tall and pointy and lime green, a startling contrast to the cold and the grey of the morning. They were definitely not the type of shoes one could wear with socks.

I debated going over to her, asking who she was and what had brought her to our little corner of the world, but I stood frozen to the sidewalk, literally and figuratively. She checked the scrap of paper in her hand, scanned the street, presumably for street numbers, then turned and walked purposefully down the opposite side of the street, past the library.

It was a split second choice, but I suddenly knew that it was incredibly important for me to go to the library at that very moment, and with all possible speed. Ironically, this decision made it necessary for me to follow the same path as the mystery girl. Before I knew it, we both stood at the library door, which I gallantly opened for her. "After you, miss."

Not really sure where this is going...just a picture in my mind.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Taking this in a new direction

So I realized that sometimes this blog may sound a little whiny, and I want to change that starting from this moment forward. I'm not the only person who's ever moved to a new place and had a hard time adjusting, so instead I want to focus on the adventures of this place I find myself calling home.

For example, right now I am sitting in a really cute little independently owned coffee shop in southeast Portland. There are so many lovely places to sit and drink a cup of coffee in this city. This one is attached to an offshoot of Powells, which is the world's most amazing bookstore. If you are ever in Portland, Powells is a must-see. I had a moment in a coffee shop this morning as well, where I was able to sit by a window and watch the world go by while scribbling down a few lines of poorly written poetry. It made me realize that I really like to sit in coffee shops and read and write. This also made it occur to me that there is no reason not to do this when in Yakima. The one cute coffee shop in town is within walking distance of my new home, so maybe once a week it would be good for me to get out of the house and go sit there for a while to do just that.

I also reread Regina Doman's The Shadow of the Bear this weekend and it rekindled in me a desire to write something of value. This summer was an interesting time for me as I took a long look at what had become of my faith during the first year of PACE. I realized that I value the Catholic identity of my personal faith, and now I need to see what that means for my life as a teacher and hopefully someday as a writer. I love the idea of rewriting fairy tales, but I also love the idea of infusing my writing with my own Catholic identity, slthough unlike Regina, I think that I want to keep these two goals separate and maybe write two totally different kinds of books. We shall see where these musings take me. My poetry about women in the Bible is slowly but surely coming along. If anyone wants to give me feedback, it would be greatly appreciated. (hint hint, I need someone to read for me :)

On that note, I think I'll sign off for the night and start writing something creative.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An eventful week

So Glacier National Park was every bit as beautiful as I had imagined, and Montana is still my dream location for starting my cherry farm. Perhaps it is even more ideal to me now that I've been there and seen how absolutely amazing it is. I am currently in the process of uploading pictures to facebook so you can all appreciate the watered-down version of the experience that even gorgeous photos can give you. If you can't tell, I kind of fell in love with Glacier.

It rained most of the time we were there, so I was wet and cold pretty much all the time, except for when we were hiking. But it was totally worth it, and I learned all about camping. I can now start a fire, cook all sorts of yummy things in it, and make friends at a campsite.

In other news, I went to the eye doctor today because I've been having trouble reading the road signs while driving. They upped my prescription, which I expected, but then they gave me some very different news. Apparently I have a hole in the retina of my left eye and "retinal thinning". While I don't know yet how serious this is, I do know that I have to see a specialist and also go back to the regular guy in 6 months. This is causing me rather a great amount of stress. My mom ended our conversation about the issue with a very cheerful "well, you only get one set of eyes." This does not make me feel good.

So, if you have a moment and think of me, send some prayers for my eyes this way. I don't think my cool new purple glasses are going to do it for me on this one.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Poem

"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She replied, "No one, sir." John 8:10-11

Why is he writing in the dirt?
They brought me here, dragging me
through the dust and the filth of the
street, flinging me down, making me
know shame.

They are yelling at him- teacher look
at this whore, she what she's done
It was their hatred made me what
I am. Still he writes in the dirt, I read
my name.

They have stones in hand, to kill and
bury me, but slowly their jeering stills.
I am afraid like I have never been before
as he speaks, but one by one they drop
their stones.

Footsteps fade into the distance and
the dust kicked up makes my eyes
water. I still have not looked up, not
seen his face, but I know that he and I are

Where are they? He would know
better than I, yet he asks. Has no
one condemned you. They have condemned
me for years with their laughter at
my pain.

I know that's not what he's asking so
I find my voice and tell him no, waiting
for the judgment. Instead he offers
something new. Go then, and be whole

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Bend in the Road

On Saturday or Sunday I will once again pack up my belongings into my Intrepid and make the drive over the Satus Pass and into Yakima. I am really excited to be back in school in teaching mode and to see all my old students and meet my new ones. I'm feeling a little bit burnt out by school right now, and my motivation is lacking. Right now I have little to no interest in investing time in things which don't directly benefit my students. That being said, I know that all the things I'm currently working on will definitely make me a better teacher in the long run, but it's hard to keep that perspective in the midst of papers and assignments and deadlines. I'm also feeling a little frazzled as I realize that I will not be living with my old roommates ever again.

My new housemates have been much more difficult to live with than I had originally anticipated. There are some really strong personalities in the group, and I am not one of them. As a result, I'm rather unhappy with a lot of the situations I find myself in. I'm getting more assertive about things, but its hard not to compare with the people I lived with last year. I don't think I'll ever be friends with at least one of the people I live with.

On a more cheerful note, I am challenging myself to be more creative this week. I am going to write one poem each day for the next seven days and see how it works. Maybe if I have any decent efforts, I will post them here. My goal is to get back into the practice of writing every day, and start small. Then maybe I can expand things a bit and get back to writing some fiction. Another goal for mental stability is to get back into running. I've been taking things a little too easy since the half-marathon, and I'm getting excited to run for a cause again. I'm recruiting a bunch of people to run a 5 mile portion of the Portland Marathon with me in October. If anyone's interested, let me know.

I'm trying to be better about investing time in people out here. I miss having friends.