a girl and her boy

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Tag Archives: dreams

Rules to Live By

12 Rules to Live by Robert Louis Stevenson
Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.

Make the best of circumstances. No one has everything and everyone has something of sorrow.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Don’t let criticism worry you. You can’t please everybody.

Don’t let your neighbors set your standards; be yourself.

Do things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.

Don’t borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than actual ones.

Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish enmities and grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.

Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about places.

Don’t hold post-mortems or spend time brooding over sorrows and mistakes.

Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.

Keep busy at something. A very busy person never has time to be unhappy.

* * *

Just a little something extra for today. I hope you are having a fantastic day!


It's a snow day.

Public Garden, Boston. Photo by Sally Chen. From Boston.com’s Facebook album.

We got about 18″ here in Boston so far, and the snow will continue until late tonight. Perfect day to snuggle in under the red fleece blanket I bought freshman year of college and sip on coffee and finish reading The Waste Lands by Stephen King. Gabe’s gone in to the office for a few “freebie” hours.

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I don’t know about you, but dreams mean a lot to me. They fascinate me. They convey meaning and direction, often times revealing things I’ve been searching for but never could find in my waking life.

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Dreaming in Color.

I ❤ Autumn.

I’ve knit four feet on Gabe’s scarf. The colors are intoxicating. Why don’t we weave more color into our lives? Live in full color instead of monochrome? I have a lot of existential questions on my mind. That’s what happens in the fall when the leaves start swirling around my feet. The crisp cool air and the increase of orange in the landscape leads my mind back to the search for knowledge.

This urge to dig into books and steep meaning from the pages has me melancholy. A teaching position just doesn’t seem to be working out, again, this year. Lots of reasons:  the economy is still tough, saturated market, etc. But that doesn’t make being sidelined another year any easier to swallow. So, instead of stewing in my misery and getting depressed, I’m getting mentally active.

I started taking a serious look at grad school again. I have no idea which program(s) I’ll apply to, but I’m looking. I would *love* to do an English lit program. Special Education would be worthwhile, too. But, I always wanted to go all the way with English literature. When I started my Bachelor’s program, I saw myself going all the way to a PhD with it. My roommate at the time, who was also an English major, but later dropped out for a radiology program, always a very practical person, asked me, “So, what are you going to do with it?” I never had a good answer. But I do now:  to enrich my life and my inner world. To give voice to and unleash the insatiable thirst for knowledge that I’ve always had. So I’m looking at schools.

In the meantime, I’m still reading for my blog project of pairing the cryptozoological adaptations with the classic novels. I’m knitting. I’m tidying and organizing the apartment with Gabe’s tireless and cheerful help. I run and plan for road races. And I dream.

That’s what I’ve been doing the most lately. Dreaming. And it’s been wonderful.

Bits and Pieces

cozied up at home

I feel like writing today. It’s been a while.

It’s a chilly, grey, rainy day here on the north shore and my thoughts have turned to warmth and comfort. I pulled out a sweater from the tub I hauled down to the basement a month ago, slipped into some jeans, wrapped a scarf around my neck and settled into a book first thing this morning. It has been a while since the house has been quiet like this for quiet reflection and reading. I sipped on coffee made with lowfat milk and honey in my new Emerson mug. Perfect.

the house I rented in Maine

new transitions

My thoughts drifted back to autumns and winters past, the little comforts for chill days, and how different my present is, and how much greater the difference will be in five weeks. I went from renting a house in rural Maine were I chopped and split and hauled my own fire wood to soon living in an apartment building in the up-and-coming part of Boston with amenities I never dreamed of having at my finger tips. Worlds apart.

the roof deck of my new home

In Maine, I had organic farms and farm stands a few streets away, chickens in my back yard that ate bugs off my herbs and vegetables, and fruit trees. I was blessed with an abundance of food that could easily be traced to its roots. Boston has Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and farmers’ markets, too, but it’s different. I’m not sure which I preferred. Maine was wonderful, but living in Boston where I will be commuting to gather groceries by means of public transit will be a new and interesting experience. Maintaining my organic, green, healthy lifestyle in 750 square foot apartment in Boston has given me a new focus for blog writing.

I look forward to the new experience of getting on the silver line and having time to think and observe while going to gather food. I look forward to the bustling farmers’ market full of new and wonderful things. And I look forward to a new opportunity to start fresh and make more adjustments in my diet for a healthier life. This whole experience will be new. And I look forward to the challenges and opportunities it presents.


I curled up with The Eyre Affair, a novel on loan from my friend Jose. I’m working on zipping through so I can return it to him at his farewell party in two weeks. I inadvertently slammed the book when I last saw him at a gaming event by saying something to the effect of I’m in the middle of a bunch of books right now and haven’t had a chance to finish it yet to which he replied something to the effect of so there are a bunch of books you like better than this one. So I’m trying to make up for it by actually finishing the book and coming up with an honest review of it.

I’ve been in a book gathering mood of late and have picked up the first four books of The Dark Tower, of which I’m in the middle of book two, an annotated complete works of Milton, the Divine Comedy, and the new instant classics of Little Women and Werewolves as well as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I’ll never have enough books. I’m doomed to living in a book-lined home.

hand and home crafts

Nothing much going on with needle crafts such as cross-stitching or knitting. Per usual, I have a ton of UFOs sitting around that need some attention. The hexacomb cardigan has been set aside until I have an opportunity to fix some errors using EZ’s “no tears” method. The hexacomb pattern became a spiral when I was under the influence of Vicodin. I haven’t had the spirit to fix it since I discovered the error.

gaming and geekery

I picked up copies of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII this weekend. I look forward to settling in and playing them through this summer. I also picked up the first volume of some comics:  Lenore, The Wizard of Oz, and The Dark Tower. I cannot wait to purchase the whole of each.

That’s what I’m up to and some of what I’ve been thinking about. I hope all is well with you!

Much love. Black Sheep.


Looking at my desk and walls reminds me of an art piece displayed in Lord Hall at UMaine created by Yvette Tardiff a few years ago:  a round kitchen table full of espresso cups with varying levels of fullness, with a wall full of sticky-notes behind it. I don’t remember the title of the piece, but it was something along the lines of “American Dream”.

I remember standing there staring at the installation and thinking:  Damn. That’s me.

It still is.

My desk is full of tea mugs that need to find their way to the kitchen and my desk, walls, and planner are full of sticky-notes reminding me of things I need to do.

What is the American dream to you? I asked a group of students this once as part of a unit on The Great Gatsby. I got a range of answers, but each one included being happy and healthy as part of it. It never occurred to me, until now, to examine my personal dream and how close I am to achieving it.

When I was in high school, and a half-hearted at best practicing Mormon, my dream was to have a modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love coming and going throughout the day and year. This vision of life included being married, having a handful of kids, and being completely immersed in family life.

And thinking about it now, my vision hasn’t changed that much. I still want that modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love. Unfortunately, the kids part won’t happen, at least not out of my body without serious intervention that is not certain to work.

A few months ago, after experiencing serious pain in my pelvic region for several days straight, I called my doctor in Maine. I told him what I was experiencing and asked for a reference closer to me in the North Shore area. I ended up spending a few days in southern Maine being poked and prodded and imaged. As if I wasn’t already sore enough. But it was necessary.

I waited and waited and finally the results came in:  between cyclical ovarian cysts from the time I was 14 and the damage my reproductive organs sustained from repeated sexual assault, I am unable to have kids. The pain was from a cyst that burst through years and years of scar tissue build-up. My organs are too scarred up to become pregnant without medical assistance. And the PTSD would make being pregnant and giving birth likely to change the chemistry of any child born of my body.

Even though I had already come to (mostly) decide I didn’t want children anyway (I’ll get to that later), having the choice taken away from me due to years of assault and a medical condition that often develops in people who have been sexually assaulted hurts.

I am still dealing with it.

And more than that. I have been feeling hurt and angry the last week because I am remembering what happened and realizing just how much it has affected me and how much it continues to affect me. How much someone else’s actions has changed how my brain and body functions, and how much has been taken away.

Looking around at these sticky-notes full of reminders and mugs of tea makes me wonder how close I am to that dream, and how far I have to go to overcome and tame these demons to get there.

What do you want?

image from ^riza^ on flickr

image from ^riza^ on flickr

Ever since the separation took place, I’ve been asking myself, and have been asked, “what do you want?”

I keep answering, “I don’t know.”

That’s always been my answer though. I want everything, but nothing. I want something but am not sure what it is.

I realized today that I do know what I want, I’ve always wanted it, and it’s very simple.

I want to be appreciated, loved, and safe. That’s really it. Those are the mountains.

The hills of what I want are:  to be the best English teacher I can be; find a community to settle down in that supports me as a person and as a professional; live in one place for more than 2 years (it would be a record!), and by in one place, I mean in one home; to travel within and without the U. S.; to develop my spirituality and deepen my practice; to become a healer; to publish one of the many novels I’ve written; to continue to set and obtain new goals; to be married to someone who wants to be married to me.

The stones of what I want are:  to work through my list of books to read; to knit and knit some more; to increase my running ability; to get into better shape; to find a place to live this summer after I obtain a new teaching position; to settle in and make my new place my home; to have a gun dog named Adelaide, Ade for short; to have a cat named Niea.

I’m taking it one day at a time and one step at a time. I’m making sure to show the loved ones in my life how much they mean to me by word and deed. And I’m trying to make sure I don’t slide backwards like I keep wanting to do.

“Go back?” [s]he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible. Go forward? The only thing to do. On we go!” So up [s]he got.

– Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, ch. 5.

(The image in today’s post is from ^riza^’s photostream on Flickr.)

Ah, fickle spring.

The warmth of the last several days has mellowed to the mid-sixties today. After being in t-shirts, skirts, and sandals, having to put on jeans, socks, and a sweater makes me long for summer even more! I am typing this post with a mug of tea  nearby that I cannot wait to have in my hands again for the warmth. Allan and his brother turned the heat very low a few weeks ago and it’s not much warmer than it is outside indoors.

Reflecting back on the last few days has made me realize how much I needed this break. Prior to vacation, I was a mad-woman with a mile-long to-do list running from one thing to another. I’ve returned to normal, meaning relaxed, calm and measured. I hope I can maintain this for the weeks to come, but that to-do list on the back burner makes me think otherwise.

I hope that this is as hard as it gets and that it eases up over the next  year or two.  November fifth to the present has been the most emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting period of my life. Those of you who have been reading along with me know what I’m talking about, mostly. I’ve kept a lot off the blog to keep you, my dear readers, from thinking you stumbled onto a LiveJournal page suddenly. 🙂

One of my many stress-busters this break was picking up an old favorite of mine to read:  The Fellowship of the Ring. I was thinking about when I first read this book and it made me feel old: I read it first my freshman year of high school, nearly twelve years ago! My best friend was an avid reader, too, and we swapped books all the time. It was she who put The Hobbit in my hands, and then The Lord of the Rings. I owe many of my current favorites, both genres and books, to her. She has been married since 2003 and has a young son, about three years old if I remember correctly. It’s amazing how things change.

I thought I would be married with a house, a child, and a few pets running around my feet by this time when I began reading the books. And here I am: single, but engaged to be married this summer; child-less, thankfully for now; and just starting a career that will keep me busy, and stressed, the rest of my life. Emmy has what I always thought I would have, and I have what I always thought she would have.

And here I sit in the fading afternoon light in front of my laptop wondering where I’ll be this summer. Will I be returning to Monmouth? Will I be in Maine? Will I be in the country? I have no answers and a lot of options. This time of life is stressful and scary. And yet, it’s also the time that I can do the most with the fewest worries.

I can pick up and teach abroad if I choose. I can pick up and move across the country if I choose. I can do anything I wish if I choose. The world is completely open to me. And that’s partly why I’m so scared. I’m so worried that I’ll make a wrong turn and end up stuck in Podunk with nothing stimulating in my life. I’m so worried that if I return to Monmouth that will be the end of my dreams and the beginning of my Podunkery. But then, if I remain at Monmouth for another year, it’ll be easier to make a big move towards my dreams as I’ll have another year of teaching experience under my belt.

Ultimately all I want out of life is a small, efficient little house in a town that supports my eco-friendly endeavors. I want to garden, to have a small flock of chickens, to have some fiber-bearing animals, and to be as self-sufficient as possible. I want to be able to mark off the seasons in my journal sitting and reflecting in the same spot for once. I am so home-sick for that which lies in wait for me, for the home I will someday have. I want it now, which is the hard part; I need to be patient.