There was only one time when I really felt like I could be sure I was keeping my babies safe, and even then I knew it was illusion. These big amazing boys were once snuggled up against my ribs and heart, fluttering, kicking, making my belly look like there was an alien inside. I remember the first time I saw Jonas’s foot roll by, through my tight belly skin. I didn’t even know that he was a him, but there was this tiny foot.
Then there was the end of the illusion of safety, the moment of magic when the miraculous occurred and there was a new person in the world.
The unthinkable is what is on my mind these days. December 15th was the deathdate of a dear friend who died of an overdose sixteen years ago. I remember the stunning dignity of his parents and sister when they spoke to us at his memorial service, speaking with such articulate clarity about the unthinkable and about our friend, their son and brother.
Here we are in the darkest days of the year, confronting the darkest parts of humanity in ourselves and each other. I’m grieving like everyone else. I could be grief-stricken all the time thinking about our children who live in inner cities, living daily with violence and loss, children who live with violence in their homes, or with war in their communities. These are our children too.
I have three hearts. Two of them are walking around in the world every day, without even a protective ribcage around them. Only prayers.
looking up and down
And then there was the owl hoodie that I had been stalking over at Threadless. I would look it up and ogle it, then think $50? No way. But one special day they had a deal going on and it was half-off hoodies! I love wearing them on my back. And here is a tee-shirt to make a librarian’s heart go pitter-pat (thanks, Carrie).
The biggest creative endeavor this fall has been getting to know my new job and community of learners and teachers, my new library space, loving these 8th and 9th graders, teaching classes, and problem-solving a library with a very old collection and very few funds to reinvent it.
The average copyright year of this collection is 1986! Yes! Think what has happened in the publishing industry in the past 25+ years: Hello, YA literature, and Hello nonfiction that is meant to be interesting and enjoyable to read (thank you Malcolm Gladwell). What we have is a collection of books that are old with unappealing covers, books that are too long or obscure for this population. Oh, the other thing is that this school used to have 9th-12th graders. Can I interest you in a 500 page biography of Chekhov? Is anyone reading 500 page biographies of Chekhov anymore?! (Sorry Chekhov, we are getting more stupid because we have the internet now).
We’ve gotten a grant! (And I’m going for another one!) We’ve gotten donations to our manga collection (thanks to a student) and also contemporary YA fiction books (thanks to a fellow librarian who is on a national reviewing committee but who teaches younger students). It’s coming right along. Every day brings some new adventures, and I’m having so much fun that I don’t even mind getting up at 5am every day. I have a library blog where I write about news and updates, tech tools I like, and some book reviews.
Just a little update on my creative work life!
These first two shots are Octobrish photos: beautiful blueberry barrens in the autumn (above) and planting garlic for the spring with my friend B. It frequently happens that I drive by something amazing, like the field above, and have no camera at hand. When I remember in time, before the Amazing becomes Less So, it feels like a major coup. Like finally getting something mailed at the post office. Which can also feel like an epic adventure.
We had Thanksgiving, with so much in our lives to be grateful for. There’s our own squash, getting ready to be dressed up with bacon, kale, and corn for a festive and tasty dish. Do you remember it from this photo? Our babies are all grown up and taking their places in the things we like to eat.
There were lots of busy hands on deck and plenty of magazines to consult. With post-it notes of course.
action shot of Jonas
And beautiful table decorations!
Can you see those cranberries in the bottoms of the vases? Such a crafty idea for holding flowers in place and looking so harvest-y to boot!
I had my first experience rolling out pie crust on a stone countertop and it really blew my mind a little. It was all-butter crust, from Fine Cooking, and I had pre-made it at home before traveling. I always thought that those people who sung marble’s/granite’s praises were really just trying to justify an unnecessary expense of kitchen remodels. But it sure made rolling dough out an easy and pleasurable thing. We had pumpkin (our own garden-grown!), cherry (family favorite), and pear/apple crisp topping (a hybrid of two recipes, here and here). That last one was the winner of the day.