Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Today I ate a bowl of soup at my desk. Warm and spicy. But at the same, not food. Not really. The soup was a moment. To sit and not think. To eat a noodle, and feel like a scarf was being wound around my neck, but not worry about buying a scarf or making a scarf. Or teaching the dictionary. Or make a better commitment to my students, my child, my bathroom floor, my marriage, taking vitamins, flossing my teeth.
Just eat the noodle, drink the broth. Not even hungry. Just doing what a mouth does.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

have faith

Awhile back, we listened to a guided meditation recorded by Alan Wallace. (I have a funny story about this! On the way home from class I told my mom I had trouble following because his accent was hard for me to understand. My mom says sarcastically, "yeah, that California accent can be tricky.")
Anyway, despite his difficult "foreign" accent, he did say something that has been kind of holding my hand lately. This isn't an exact quote, but it feels like he said:
You may find that you have to start over. In your practice you start over again and again. It's ok.
I have had to start again with my meditation practice. And I've also had to start again with Ramona.
Since the little tantrum I had about a month ago, things changed; things got easier. I started over. A friend said, Toddlers are destructive. Keep your routines consistent and expectations clear. But mostly just ignore that stuff. They move onto something else anyway.
This is very gentle advice. Advice with love as the only motivation. Nova, start over.
When I return to my practice, I see that it has been waiting for me. Waiting for me to start over again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ramona in a nut shell - also known as, Ramona is a nut

Last night when our parent educator came to visit, the girl really put on a show. She played intelligently with the toys for awhile, but after she got tired of that she hopped into the materials tub and shouted "WEEEEE!"
When it was time to clean up she got really angry and dumped the tub full of stuff on the ground, and threw herself down and screamed. However, she dusted herself off quickly so she could give her teacher a nice hug and a two handed "bye,bye".
What a girl.

Monday, September 20, 2010

book talk - Eat,Pray,Love

I'm not sure how it happened, but I read Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love. I have a bunch of things that I've committed to reading and Eat, Pray, Love was one of them. At first, I snubbed the book's somewhat silly tone. But, somewhere around Rome I gave in and just started loving it.

I have realized that I love travel books. I was reading this completely silly book from school called Go Big or Go Home by Will Hobbs. In the story, 13 year old Brady's bedroom is hit by an asteroid and he is infected with super Martian bacteria and is blessed with amazing super capabilities. He also begins to "go dormant" because of the Martian bacteria. It was so silly that every once in awhile I would stop out of the blue and read a sentence to Brian because it was so hilarious. But I loved the book because the characters live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and spend most of the book biking, fishing, and camping. It's like reading a Black Hills guide book as long as you don't let yourself be distracted by the unbelievable asteroid named Fred. I've long forgotten Fred, but I'm still loving the Black Hills.

But, back to Eat, Pray, Love. I am obsessed with this book. I am not a very good traveler. I prefer to stay home and read a book. About someone else's travels.
For me, traveling is like going to the zoo. It's something that seems like it will be totally great, but once I am there I hate it and can't figure out why anyone ever does this. (I hate the zoo so much.)
If I have any criticism of Eat, Pray, Love it's that I'm afraid people will come away with the wrong idea about meditation. You do not have to go anywhere to meditate And really, I don't think you should indulge very much in reading about other people's successful practices. Of course it's more fun to read about meditation than to actually do it! Meditation is hard and has zero glamour. I'm not judging Elizabeth Gilbert. I promise. I'm just saying long after I've forgotten how fulfilling it was to read about Gilbert's practice, I'm going to be loving Bali.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

learning to fly

I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings - Tom Petty

When I was little I must have been inundated with a lot of books about one's "special gift" because I was really driven mad by the whole concept. My mom said that when I was young I would always ask stuff like, "mom, what's my special gift?" This was not said like a casual musing. It was a desperate, worried plea for help in finding something lost.

This makes me smile now, because a grown up doesn't worry about her special gift. By the time you become a grown up, you have spent such a long time tending your precious ego that you have developed quite a list of why you are so special. Sometimes I'm just so done in by how special I am I worry how people can carry on in my absence.

But this post isn't about special gifts, it's about learning to fly. Which I have learned to do.

When I got home from school yesterday, my bike was waiting for me in the garage. My 19 year old, never ridden bike. My dad and husband had spent two hours fixing the tire and breaks so that I could finally learn to ride a bike.

Sure, I already knew how to ride a bike. When I was in fourth grade, my best friend finally got sick of my crap and bullied me into learning to ride. She was a tiny little drill sergeant of a girl and I was pretty much terrified of her. We must have been a funny sight. Such a small girl, holding the back of her best friend's bike and forcing her to learn by sheer fear. She did in a matter of 30 minutes what my father had failed to do my whole childhood.

After that afternoon, I knew how to ride a bike...sort of. However, If you combined my total bike mileage, you wouldn't have a mile. Not even close.

Last night, I sat on my bike, at the edge of the driveway. Scared of falling, scared of the cars, scared of looking stupid. But I pushed off and rode. Slowly and with my hand clutching the brake, but I rode. And it felt like flying.

I'm going to keep practicing. I'm going to practice until the bike becomes a vehicle for enjoying the fall leaves and the company of my husband on our romantic weekend away.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

memoir in 6 words

My dear friend and fellow teacher, Lindsay Neal, presented this idea at a staff development meeting. I found the whole thing very appealing.
A writing teacher gave his students the task of writing a statement that summed up "who they were" in 6 words; a 6 word memoir.
This is mine:

A heart: sitting, bouncing, trying again.

september song

This is what happens when I over-think things.
Sometimes I let too much time go by before I publish a blog post. I start lots of posts, but then worry they aren't coherent enough to share. And then here we are, a week and a half goes by and the stories I've saved up are stale. And I feel like I've undershared and you don't understand me anymore. So, let's catch up.

The weather is very nice and September actually feels Septembery for the first time in years. Lately, I've been under the impression that "September" was a myth. But today, September is crisp, but still warmish. I've been living here (for the second time) for about two years and this year is the first I've noticed how early our backyard trees lose their leaves. Especially our ornamental crab apple, which is quite a nice tree. It's wonderful and dramatic somehow. It gets white flowers in the spring and in the fall we get these idyllic red berries. Now, I have another reason to love this tree, because it gives us Fall first, before anyone else has gotten to enjoy the season. Lucky us.

Ramona has entered what I'm going to herein refer to as The Golden Age of Toddlerhood. (I know, a far cry from the whine fest from two weeks ago) I am enjoying her very much. She's been so loving and funny. She says weird one-time-only-words like "sock" and "snack" and "poop". She loves to play ball, run, and jump. I'm amazed by her athleticism. For me, it's like finding an alligator in my nest instead of a chicken. I am starting to see the person Ramona, not baby Ramona. I think accepting our children without judgement, worry, and concern could be the greatest gift we ever give to ourselves.

Brian and I are planning a Romantic October Vacation! We are going to leave Ramona with my mom and ride bikes on the Katy Trail. We are staying in a quaint town and plan on enjoying the local pubs. Ready for the punch line? I don't really know how to ride a bike. If you combined my total lifetime bicycle mileage you would probably not have a mile. But, in a dream a few weeks ago I was riding and it felt amazing. I will deal with this issue in the way that I deal with all issues, by practicing. A little every day.
Ah....I feel better already.

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few, September, November, and these few precious days I'll spend with you. These few precious days I'll spend with you. September song. -K.W.