H is for Howdy, Universe

I worked out (hooray!)
And after I finished, I lay in savasana for a little while.

I tried to clear my head, as I always try, but I kept thinking about my list, my work, Maya’s new huge bonk on the head, alphabet blogging, etc.

So I decided to just strike up a conversation with the universe – at least that way I would be focused on one thing rather than juggling thought balls up and around my noggin.

“Hello, Universe. I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the huge good fortune you have sent our way this week. We really needed it.”

“You knew that if you kept walking, if you just kept moving forward, the road, on which you stumbled, would rise to meet you again.” (Yes, in my mind, the universe speaks like a sage man on top of a high mountain.)

“I know. But still, thank you.”

“The trick is to say thank you even when things are most difficult.”

So, I am kind of joking around here with my *imaginary* conversation with the universe, but I do believe that if you are quiet, if you listen, you will hear answers.

This is literally, verbatim, the *conversation* that went on in my mind while I lay on my floor. I don’t know whether both voices are mine, or if I am picking up on cosmic signals, or what. But I do know that things are clearer when I am silent.

Maybe it’s just finding the time and space to root around in the cabinets of my mind for the right file, or maybe it’s aliens/angels/the muse speaking through my radio waves. Whatever, it works.

For the record, I also came up with two new ideas for my lessons next week (even though I was TRYING to NOT think about work).

Our conscious minds are so clogged up with multi-tasking that no one thing gets our best, full attention. Clearing out that clutter makes magic happen.

Now I have to add “meditate” to my ever-growing to-do list, sheesh! ūüôā

G is for Golden-Eyed Dog


Each morning, there are tasks to be done. Usually, because I have a wonderful husband and I try to be a decent wife, these tasks are split in two. One of us gets the babe up, changed, soothed, milked, and dressed, and the other gets the dogs up, out, fed, watered and the coffee brewed.

front porch dogs

The dogs are familiar with this routine, and are, for the most part, patient. Pious in their faith that we will come each morning and take care of them.

I have had Anna Banana since she was just a 3 pound pup Рand that was almost 13 years ago. But she is a small dog Рa Jack Russell Terrier Рso she will live 18-20 years. Sometimes her proximity to her upper years makes me realize my own proximity to my upper years, as we have grown together.


Holiday Anna
Holiday Anna

Sean rescued Nina from an abusive household when she was already a couple of years old. She is fiercely loving and loyal and grateful to him. Unfortunately, she is also wary of anyone else, nature (thunder, rain), technological advances (cars, cameras) and especially gun shots (occasional in our country neighborhood).

Nina and the blooming cherry tree
Nina and the blooming cherry tree

And Lola is a dog’s dog. She likes people okay, but she is all about chasing squirrels, running, and enjoying the outdoors. She’s also cool with stretching out on the living room rug. She has her flaws: a taste for neighbor’s chickens, a slight Alpha complex, but she is pretty much an all around good dog otherwise. She does not beg, does not get on the furniture, only barks if others do first. Lola was the runt of the litter (I think this is what caused her Alpha issues – a canine-Napoleon complex) and Sean rescued her before she was starved out by her siblings.

Nina, perpendicular to Lola
Nina, perpendicular to Lola
Lola getting a boost from Nina
Lola getting a boost from Nina

We were unsure of what it would be like to introduce a new little baby into this bustling household of doggies. Would she be part of their pack? Could she learn to out-Alpha Lola?

There were no problems when we brought little Maya Bell home – Anna and Lola became fairly indifferent, though Anna was initially peeved about losing her prime lap space, but Nina fell in love.


Nina, once dubbed by a friend, “the mean one”, now lets a toddler pull her ears, push her face, ride her back, and yank her tail. She sometimes is a little over zealous with baby-face kisses.


Our golden-eyed Nina is getting old. Because she was a rescue, we are not sure of her exact age, but she is somewhere around 13. And our best guess is that she is a Pit-Lab mix. So that’s 91 in large breed years. We are noticing her sharp edges waring away a bit and we fear her hours are winding down.


I so hope that Maya remembers this wild beast that loves her so; this golden-eyed girl that found joy in her baby hands. And I will do my best to appreciate this love, this dog, these moments, and capture as many as I can for Maya to hold on to as she grows.

Maya on Nina

E is for Endings

My parents are selling their house. It goes on the market this week.

They have been in that house for 22 years.

Though I consider our craftsman house in Oakland, CA to be my “childhood home” – the one that pops up in recurring dreams and nostalgias, I have spent the greater lot¬†of my years living in or coming home to this house in Chapel Hill.

It is a suburban house Рthe kind to which I never thought my central urban family would concede Рbut despite my initial determination to judge, it has been a wonderful, warm, loving, bright and homey home.

Right now, I am high on the excitement of the preparation for the listing.  I am thrilled by the talk of design for the new home.  I am giddy as I visit the land my parents bought on the river in Saxapahaw. But I know that soon, the messy, sentimental, hard-loving part of myself will take over and mourn the closing of this chapter.  I will feel the crumpled discomfort of change and want to not let go.

Our time with this house is ending, but it is a good family house, and for some other, now-young family, it will welcome them in and keep them warm.

(I will include pictures when the house goes on the market in a few days – in case anyone is interested/curious)

Day 4: A to Z Challenge

D is for Decisions

This week, the beach has been pulling at the water in my body. ¬†It feels as though all of my being is drawn toward the shore and my head is screaming with “WHY DON’T WE LIVE AT THE OCEAN!?”


People do it. They live in the most beautiful, exotic, tropical locations. ¬†Places where other people go on vacation. ¬†Why can’t we be those people?

And I don’t even need tropical. ¬†I just want to be close enough to get to the ocean the same way we go to the park or the playground now. ¬†I’m totally happy living in NC and driving 20 minutes to the beach. ¬†That is so do-able; why don’t we!? There are some very cool towns in Coastal NC – or even the Charleston area in SC (where I was this week).


I have moments of “clarity” where it seems I have made up my mind. We are definitely moving to the beach. ¬†Just for a few years, while the kid(s) are young. ¬†Sean owns his own business – we can expand it to the coast! I would like to stay at home for a couple of years with babies – let’s do it! We can always come home¬†in a few years.


But then I get back¬†and I realize the elements of home are so much more than a geographical location. ¬†Here, in Chapel Hill, we have grandparents on both sides and Maya sees one or both almost every day. ¬†We have my professional community, where, as much as I yearn to be a stay at home mom for a while, I am still very much a teacher and a part of this school district. We have our friends with whom we get together as much as possible (which is still not often enough!) Sean’s business is here. ¬†My family business is here (which, potentially, I may take over in a few years). We know these streets; we know these people. ¬†We are so overwhelmingly supported and loved here. ¬†And while I know we would carry that love, support, family and friend ties with us wherever we would go, why go now?

Mom, cousin, me, sister
Mom, cousin, me, sister

Sean promises me that we will live at the beach one day. ¬†Maybe not until we’re retired, but one day. ¬†And until then, the beach is only 2.5 hours away – an easy day trip if I’m jonesin’. ¬†And summer is just beginning…


Day 2: A to Z Challenge

***I know what you’re thinking: I’ve lost before the race has even started! ¬†Only day 2 and no post. ¬†But unfortunately, the place where I was staying at the beach lost its internet connection! ¬†So I was disconnected for about 3 days. I know that some bloggers are super savvy with their phones, but I have not yet reached that level of tech-ability.

Though I respect the parameters of this challenge, including a post every day, for me, the daily writing practice is the goal, and to that, I have been faithful. So (and I apologize to everyone’s Twitter feed, Facebook walls and e-mail inboxes), I am going to be posting these in quick succession and playing a little catch up.***


B is for Beauty

When I was younger, a psychic told me that I was destined to create beauty in this world.

Well, now I have made Maya. ¬†Am I done fulfilling my destiny? ūüôā

I’m not sure how to feel about that.

But she does make this world a more beautiful place. I am so grateful for her every day.


Day 1: A to Z Challenge

A is for the Alligator that I saw this morning in front of our vacation abode.

April Fools!

For real, there is apparently an alligator living in the little pond across the way from this wonderful townhouse in coastal South Carolina, and while the kids and I have kept a keen lookout on this combined family vacation, there has been no sight of him/her yet.


I am notorious (in my own mind) for having little discipline for writing regularly, and that is one of my major goals for this blogging enterprise – to have a writing¬†practice. ¬†So I have joined this community of writers taking on this challenge of every day posts, going through the alphabet one day at a time, excepting Sundays, and simply putting “pen to paper” with a broad ABC prompt.

I intend to keep these¬†posts short and hone my chops at making a succinct point , but I’m already not doing very well at this aim – cut me some slack, it’s only the first day!

A: American Dream

I am so fortunate to be on the coast of South Carolina for a few days away with some dear friends and our kids.  I thought this would be an opportune time to use the relaxed timber of the day to think alphabetically Рto get me off on the right foot.

Last night, the adults in the house stayed up way too late talking, and along the way, I agreed to be the typing fingers and editorial consultant for my friend’s memoir. ¬†Gus is from Uruguay and while I feel I know him quite well (our kids refer to each other as cousins), I am always mind-blown when the glasses are refilled and the stories are flowing. ¬†He has had a journey to his “American Dream” that is as heartbreaking as it is uplifting.

I am excited to help him tell the tale of how he changed his story.  I do not know yet how much of that will end up on this blog, but I think the telling and writing will do us both some good.

Gustavo, his kids, and Bell, seaside
Gustavo, his kids, and Bell, seaside