Tuesday, October 30, 2007

poetry tuesday: postcard poetry

I had a wonderful professor in college, Jack Ridl. He is an excellent poet and one of the best teachers I've ever had. Often when we students arrived in the classroom there would be an "assignment" on the board, a writing exercise to get our minds working. One of my favorites was postcard poetry: write a poem small enough to fit on a postcard. The poems that resulted were like postcards, too; instead of telling a story, a poem that size is like a snapshot. A single image or moment or idea.

So I've been writing postcard poems. Here's one I wrote yesterday...

When you're gone

I still sleep on my
side of the bed.
A tiny part of me
if I don't look--
if I'm still enough--
you'll crawl
into bed
next to me.

October 29, 2007

Even if you're not a poet, here's a challenge for you: write a postcard poem. You can do it, it's fun! And if you're brave enough, share with us! :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

a meme about me

I couldn't think of anything to write about today, mostly because I'm on day three of a migraine. But there was a meme on Alex Year One, and she said instead of tagging people, because it's been around for awhile, she'd just leave it out there for anyone to use. So there you have it.

4 Jobs I have had:

-day camp director
-church youth director
-day care teacher
-framer (picture frames, in a frame shop)

4 Movies I love to watch over and over:

-The Shawshank Redemption
-Office Space
-The Fifth Element

4 TV shows I enjoy watching:

-Battlestar Galactica
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer

4 Places I have been:

-Hell, Michigan
-Paradise, Michigan
(I'm being serious, those are both real towns)
-Paris, France
-Washington, DC

4 Websites I visit daily:

-Baby Center
-Painted Maypole (and then on to many many other bloggers!!)
-Justine Larbalestier's blog (She's a fabby author from Australia who also lives in New York City part time. An amazing writer! Her blogs are lots of fun.)

4 Favorite Foods:

-real European bread, especially baguette
-Irish stew, but it must have lamb and turnips
-Swiss Chocolate

4 Places I would rather be:

(I'm pretty happy here, but since you asked...)

-Michigan, with my family
-Kansas, with my best friend (or better yet, one of the two places below with her!!)
-Rome, because I can't wait to visit there
-Greece, because that's my dream vacation

And that's it. I tag Rose Daughter ('cause I can, hee hee!) and anyone else who wants to steal it. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

(just about) one year ago

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Not the best of days. I started throwing up this afternoon. How awful. But [the Sergeant] did something so sweet--he cleaned the kitchen and made pancakes for dinner. Aww. :)
(from my journal)

That was the beginning of my morning-noon-and-night sickness. A year ago I was sick...and today I have a beautiful baby boy!!

Friday, October 26, 2007


I cannot believe it is quiet. Ten o'clock in the morning and the Little Mister is still in bed. (of course, that is because he was up at three, seven, and eight, chowing down food every time...I think it must be a growth spurt.)

It's funny how quiet has changed in my mind. In college, quiet did not exist. I had to learn how to live with a roommate who stayed up very late studying and, if she happened to be sleeping, talked in her sleep. Plus living in a dorm, or even later when I lived in an apartment building...sharing space with that many people equals constant noise.

The summers after college, when I worked at a beautiful camp in northern lower Michigan, quiet was escape. Working at a camp there is no such thing as personal space, so you have to make your own quiet time by sneaking off. (I don't mean sneaking away from campers. I mean sneaking away from the other staff!) I was only by myself if I made an effort, and if I didn't make an effort I went a bit crazy. (but as we always said up at camp, in order to work at a camp you have to be at least a little bit crazy...)

The first time the Sergeant was deployed I complained about the quiet every day. I had never in my life lived alone before. To break up the silence I had long, one-sided conversations with my cats. I left the tv on for endless stretches: not because I was watching it, just because I needed background noise. I listened to more audio books that year than ever before. When I played SimCity4 on my computer I tuned the sound up loud (usually it's muted). I spread out my errands so I could go out nearly every day. And I was very thankful for the huge number of free minutes I had on my cell phone.

And then the Little Mister was born. And I thought quiet didn't exist when I was in college! This was a whole new experience. I remember there was one night, just a few nights after we brought him home from the hospital, that he slept for a stretch of four hours. After three hours I woke up completely panicked because he suddenly was quiet. Why was he still sleeping? There must be something wrong! I checked on him, but of course there was nothing wrong, he was just sleeping. But I stayed awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, until he woke up an hour later. I almost cried when he woke up, I was so thankful for his cries breaking the silence.

Now that the Little Mister has gotten himself (mostly, anyway) into a routine, there are stretches of almost quiet. There are still noisy cats playing with bells, the German range nearby (sometimes the walls shake from the artillery!), people in the stairwell, cars driving by. The Sergeant is gone again, not deployed but spending some time in the field for training, so at night when the Little Mister is in bed there is a stillness. But I've grown accustomed to it, and don't feel the need to fill the silence with the television, even as background noise. I usually read a book instead, usually with a cat on my lap.

And now it is not quiet, because the Little Mister is awake and having a long, in-depth conversation with a giraffe.

This post was inspired by both my sleeping son and my bestest friend, who posted about a peaceful morning yesterday. Along with the meme I tagged her for. Here's the post...check it out! (note: it's a different address than i posted last week. She had to start over. But her blog is up and running now!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

poetry tuesday

Yesterday's post was heavy, for me anyway. I'm glad I wrote it...but today I need something with hope.

So I picked up my poetry notebook. It's not everything I've ever written, but it's a lot of it. In college I studied writing and ended up focusing on poetry even though in high school I was terrified if I even had to read poetry. Go figure.

I don't write as much poetry as I used to. I could post my nearly endless list of excuses, but it's best just to say I haven't made it a priority. But I miss it, so I'm turning Tuesday into Poetry Day. And if I don't write something new I'll post something old, like today.


The sun smiles at me
from across the lake, breathes
warm air over the glassy
water to kiss my forehead. I sit
on the shoulder
of the mountain, remember
my canoe paddle slicing
through the liquid blue, painting
whirlpools on the canvas of yesterday.

I want to be a tree, to reach
with my toes, deep
into the ground, to feel the brown
of the earth around my ankles. I want to touch
the damp feathers
of the clouds, to snare the moon
with the leaves sprouting
from my fingertips. My body, thick
and stronger than any
angry wind, always stands.

When the sun yawns and sinks
into its silky waterbed
and the night wraps me with a cool
blanket, I watch as God the Artist
speckles the sky with stars.
Soon I stand and begin to climb
down, toward the place
others call home, but my footprints
will never leave the mountain.

march 30, 2000

Monday, October 22, 2007


I spent the first part of October in the United States. While I was there I was blessed to be able to visit with so many friends and to introduce them to the Little Mister. At times I felt pulled in far too many directions, but mostly it was good. Except for a moment of loss.

One night I saw a dear friend, let's call him Boris.* As soon as he looked at me I knew something was wrong. He was choked up when he said, "Please say a prayer for Natasha."**

He went on to explain that three days before she'd gone to see a doctor because she had a urinary tract infection. While she was there, she found out she was pregnant.

Natasha and Boris were shocked and overwhelmed and unsure of the future. They knew it wasn't very good timing, and they weren't sure they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. But they also knew it wasn't about them, that they had a baby to take care of.

Three foggy days later (back to the present) Natasha went to have an ultrasound to determine how far along she was.

There was no heartbeat.

The person doing the ultrasound (I really hope it wasn't a doctor saying this) told her that when she found out she was pregnant she stressed too much, and that's why her baby died.

Listening to Boris talk, explaining things slowly and monotone, my heart was breaking. When I heard that last comment, though, I was enraged. How dare someone tell Natasha that she killed her baby? What a horrible, heartless thing to say to someone who is probably in shock to begin with. I begged Boris to tell her that it wasn't her fault. He assured me that he'd already told her, and that he was comforting her every way he knew how.

Boris and Natasha were heartbroken and relieved at the same time. What an odd combination of feelings. Boris knew the timing was horrible, but he desperately wants children. He's not ready to settle down yet, but he longs for the day he can be Daddy. And regardless of how newly created the child was, that was his baby. His son or daughter. He grieves.

And I grieve with him. That little boy or girl would have been just about a year younger than the Little Mister. They probably would have been friends.

Boris was afraid to tell his parents, afraid that they would be angry, or disappointed, or give him a lecture. When he told them, they didn't say much of anything at all. Boris felt worse.

I ended up talking to Boris' parents. Turns out they didn't know what to say. They were heartbroken, but didn't know if Boris was heartbroken. They realized they had lost a grandchild, but they didn't know if Boris felt like he had lost a child. So they said nothing. When I told them all he wanted was to know that they cared about him and weren't mad at him, they talked to him and now things are better. Good. I was worried about all three of them.

I don't know what will happen with Boris and Natasha, if this is "the real thing" or if their relationship will fade. Right now they're doing okay, I think. I just wish they didn't have to deal with this loss.

Thanks for letting me ramble. This has been on my heart the past few days. It's hard being so far away. All I can really do is pray, and be there if Boris wants to talk.

And if you want to say a prayer for them...well, God knows who Boris and Natasha really are. :)

*A few people who know me in real life read this, and they don't really need to know Boris' identity. And anyway, wouldn't it be fun to have a friend called Boris? I could call myself Katerina and we could talk in Bad Russian Accents. ah-ah-ah! (Bad Russian Accent laugh)

**Boris' girlfriend. Again, not her real name.

* * * * * * *

In completely unrelated news: VICTORY!! Last night the Little Mister went down at 9:15...and he slept until 7:45 this morning!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

sleep...who needs it?

Well, I need it...but I'm certainly not getting it.

Monday the Little Mister and I flew from Michigan to Germany. He used to sleep from 9:30 pm to 7:30 am, but since we've been home he thinks bedtime is sometime between 1:00 am and 4:00 am, and then he only sleeps for five or six hours (if I'm lucky). Jet lag reigns.

On top of that, the Little Mister has a tooth coming in. (And it's a very strange place for a first tooth: it's on the side! Odd..)

And on top of that, we're changing formulas to try to fix some tummy problems.

What all that boils down to is I haven't had a decent amount of sleep since Saturday night (he was up teething Sunday night). I'm starting to feel like I'm losing what little sanity I still cling to. Earlier today I kept hearing someone knocking on my door. Every time I checked, the stairwell was empty.

I know this comes with the motherhood territory. I know I am truly blessed with a baby who sleeps ten hours straight at night, especially when that started around eleven weeks. I know even this craziness is much better than when he was just two days old and we brought him home from the hospital.

But I still really wish I could sleep.

p.s. Does anyone have any tips for helping an infant adjust to a six hour time change? I just can't bring myself to wake him up at 7:30 in the morning, like normal, or to cut his naps short during the day. And I've never done this before! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

the dreaded literary meme (according to painted maypole)

Well. Painted Maypole sure has, erm, painted a lovely picture of me. (sorry.) I hope no one is terribly disappointed when it comes to light that I'm actually just an ordinary human being. ;)

And now the meme. Back before I even had this blog I was tagged...it was sort of the final push to begin blogging. Painted Maypole calls it "the dreaded literary meme"...but I call it fun. The very long and descriptive title is Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married and Want to Stay That Way So Maybe We Should Forget This. I have a take similar to that of Painted Maypole: I've never really read a book and thought, "wow, I sure would like to kiss him." But I have had this thought many times: "wow, I sure would like to be part of that kiss." And since I read just about anything I can get my hands on I'm pretty sure I can come up with ten easy.

(Please don't call me a copycat...but I have to use two that Painted Maypole choose. One book I recommended to her, and the other book (well, series) she got me started reading. Before I even read her list I thought of these two characters....)

In no particular order...

1. Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Clare and Henry just have such passion for each other. I've read this book three times, and there are scenes that still make me a bit dreamy-eyed. And just knowing that the first time he kisses her is not the first time she kisses him...or something...it all gets a bit confusing. But I love it.

2. James/Billy from A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

I don't want to write too much about this one, because if you haven't read it I could potentially ruin a lot of the story. And I highly recommend it. What I can say is that the main character wants so badly to kiss him (not just to kiss him, but to be able to have a real relationship with him...like I said, it's hard not to give anything away!) that it's very difficult not to be fully involved in the story.

3. Cal from Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

Partly this is because kissing Cal could literally be hazardous to my health. Partly it's because he so wants to kiss Lace but knows that if he does, bad things will happen... But mostly it's just because Cal is so cool, the smart guy who is way more than just a brain.

4. Dave the Laugh from On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God (and also the following six books) by Louise Rennison

Help me out, it's been awhile...Dave the Laugh isn't in the first book, is he??

Anyway, who doesn't love Dave the Laugh? Georgia is truly herself when she's snogging Dave the Laugh, and when she's talking to Dave the Laugh, and when she's laughing with Dave the Laugh. Besides, who else could so beautifully pull of phrases like, "The hills are alive with the sound of PANTS." ...?? :) Truly fabby.

5. Romeo from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Okay. I know it's cliché, but seriously. They climbed mountains of adversity to get married. What a moment!

6. Jack Reacher from the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child

This one is slightly more difficult to explain. He's big, he's strong, and he knows 22 ways to kill you using only his pinky. If I was in trouble, there is no doubt I'd want Jack Reacher coming to rescue me. But, somehow, he's kissable, too. :)

7. Legolas from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Those who know me know I have a tiny, tiny thing for Orlando Bloom. But honestly, Legolas was always my favorite character. And who wouldn't want to kiss an elf? Magic!

8. Edward from Twilight (and the following books) by Stephenie Meyer

Perfection. Deadly and terrible, but truly the definition of perfection.

9. Richard from the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind

This is my inner geek shining through: I just admitted to the world that I am completely addicted to a fantasy series. Magic, dragons, sword fights, the whole deal. I guess I'm also showing that I'm a fan of next-to-impossible love, for Richard and Kahlan's relationship is another that has to be fought for.

10. Tristan from the Tristan and Isolde novels by Rosalind Miles

I know this story is very old and there are many versions, but I like Miles' version of Tristan. A beautiful, melancholy love...I cry for them every time. And how lovely to have a knight kiss your hand and offer you his sword?!

And for the bonus answer, because I can do whatever I want, here is another character...but this one is about as far from "literary" as you can get...

Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Laugh if you like. I know he's a vampire. And I know most of you are laughing at me for watching the show in the first place. But that lovely British accent, the insane way he acts when he realizes he's fallen for a human and the lengths he'll go to to convince her...*sigh*

Okay. That was tremendously long and took much longer than I expected. But how fun! And now I have to tag Rose Daughter, my "bestest friend in the whole wide world", who has a brand-new blog of her own!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

a blank page

I've been keeping a journal (almost) faithfully for about fifteen years now, and nearly every time I start a new book I write some version of the same idea:

"I love a blank page. The crisp, untouched pages smell of possibility. And even though the old books are still around, crammed into their boxes, this one is free from the frustration of bad days, the sadness of loss, the pang of regret. This book of blank pages is just for me. I might fill it with bits of pain or anger or grief, but for now it is blank, waiting...and all I can do is hope for joy instead of sorrow."

And here is another blank page. The smell isn't exactly the same (computers aren't quite the same as books!) but I still have that little tingle of excitement I get when faced with possibility. I may be the only one who ever reads it (who knows?) but I am full of hope for the pages to come.

This actually isn't my first blog, it's my second. Last January my husband and I moved to Germany (when I was 19 weeks pregnant!) and immediately I felt disconnected from friends and family back home. I made phone calls and sent letters (a few emails also, but I'm one of the few Americans still sending handwritten letters through the U.S. Post Office)...but it didn't take long to realize that every conversation and letter started with fifteen minutes or a page of things I told someone else just five minutes or three hours or two days ago. I finally decided to start a blog to share my experiences with pregnancy and explorations of Germany. It was great fun at first, but as soon as the Little Mister arrived people stopped reading what I wrote and just skipped to the pictures. And I wanted to write. It was Painted Maypole who unknowingly convinced me to give this a shot, with her fun Monday Missions (currently hosted by The Flying Mum) that would have been so out of place on my blog. So...here we go.

Flying on dragonfly wings.