Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The Queen waving and saying, "Y'aright?"

Well I'm getting ready to take my fourth trip to England, no big deal.

Rachel, Meg, and I got matching caps in February. I think these were our "Goodbye Meg" faces and for some reason this translates as mischievous for Rachel. Photo credit: Meg
I'm going to miss that so much. I'm going to miss that in just two and a half hours I can pop up in London and wander around wondering which of my favorite detectives is out there on a murder mystery, I'm going to miss the English countryside that is packed with sheep and people in wellies, and I'm going to miss struggling with British currency and once I figure it out the shopkeeper responds with "Cheers!" I know there are loads of countries accessible to me right now but I just cannot get over England. And there's so many places in the UK I haven't been yet! Wales! I really want to go to Wales! And Scotland! I found my dream vacation cottage on the sea shore of the Shetland Islands. Someday I'm going to go there all by myself and spend days staring out the window, collecting stones from the beach, and biking along country lanes just being quiet.

"To tear" in French is dechirer, a word I review every time I walk through the metro
I'm going to miss the accordion players on the streets of France. I'm going to miss the feeling when I realize more French vocabulary has embedded itself deep enough into my brain that it feels familiar and primordial, not like a stilted translation of what I want to say.

And I cannot stop thinking about visiting the Baltic Sea in the darkest night, the closest I have ever come to experiencing the abyss of expanding space.

Yesterday was my nine month anniversary. Only four more months of Europe.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


modified from original source

Everything fell apart
Once they realized the moon was filled with gak.
The people from Nickelodeon,
understanding the industrial components of gak,
felt like life had lost its magic.
Everybody's zest grew stale and
blew away in the wind
causing dust storms in unlikely places
like aisle seven of McGruff's Family Grocery
and between the toes of certain sailors.
Civilizations get shanked by the most unlikely things.

*written 12 January 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I've reached a certain place of lucidity about what happens in the next stage of my life. The time for my few acres, giant garden, and possibly some goats––I don't know why goats, it just seems like a thing that would be character building––has not yet come. (That will come though, right? In Montana or even still my brow-beaten North Dakota?) But I know some things that are next. And I'm surprised, but not surprised, to find the clarity has come through fire, through the perpetual forcing of this introvert out into the world until she loses much of her sense of terror, past the fields of breathless anxiety. I am surprised at the amount of discomfort this has taken. Before I supposed I would work through discomfort to a place of comfort and then triumph! Now I'm learning to fall in love with the sense of falling. Are you aware of that team-building practice of letting yourself fall backwards trusting the person behind you will catch you? Forget the team-building part for the moment, and the person to catch––I'm falling in love with the sense of falling and trusting. Trusting without knowing when I'll stop falling, what will be there to catch me, or even if there is an end. Even if I fall flat on my face, break my nose and several ribs...

I've reached a certain place of lucidity about what happens in the next stage of my life. I don't much want to speak of, or define things yet. There are these sprouts coming out of the ground and we'll all have to wait to see what arrives.

The empty feeling still drags at me regularly. This is just a thing I think I must accept. A part of me that will greet me on many mornings, lay me down to sleep many nights, and haunt me through long afternoons. "I'm in Paris!" I tell it. "Go away! I just toured three different countries, did well on a French test, and ate all my fruits and vegetables!" "I just went to the Louvre! Can't we be delighted and exalted? What is wrong?! How can I feel empty after that?" It spurs me on in it's own way. Writing has become a lifeline, not to keep me living but to keep me healthy. I certainly am excited and grateful for this opportunity, for these people I'm meeting, the things I'm seeing and doing. For all the hollowness in my heart there is a fullness and wonder that breaks forth and eats up this world with joy. Accepting joy comes easily though, while it is hard to not greet the empty feeling with guilt. Guilt that I can't shake this stain of sourceless sorrow. Guilt that I must be doing something wrong, I must be sinning, I must be failing to cause this emptiness. It is the guilt that must be shaken off, it is the true devil here.

Let me take you back to a wonderful place, though. Let me lift you up out of the murky recesses you may have slipped into, and let me share with you a few brilliant things. 

As recommended by my sister:

This song:

And two last, most important things: 

Memory One: A memory of my mom, I was probably in high school and she was probably in the middle of making bread, and she stopped what she was doing, drew me into the kitchen to listen to Camelot with her and to explain the significance of the song.

Memory Two: Enjoying a sunny Sunday lunch with a French family and friends, gathered around the table singing Beatles songs together. At one point assuring them that "a hard day's night" is really a sort of nonsense phrase. 

Do you have dear musical memories? Have you ever tried on Shaq's coat? When's the last time you had horchata? 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Conversation with a 14 yeard boy

After the manner of my friend Becky's hilarious blog posts of conversations she has with her twin boys, Conversations with 3 year olds, I have one conversation I must share with you that happened yesterday with the 14 year old in this house. To give you some context: I'm an au pair for a French family. I speak to them all in English as that is my main purpose, to help them all speak English fluently. They're all quite good, however, sometimes really fantastic things happen.

Me: I really think yoga would do you good.

C: You know what our neighbor told me about yoga?

Me: What?

C: That when you do yoga your anus passes gases. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


You are possibly familiar with Elton John's song Tiny Dancer and maybe even Joseph Gordon-Levitt's amazing job lip syncing to said song. While listening to Tiny Dancer almost every day in January (not all day long...just half a day or so...) I kept imagining this scenario of a sweet, belittled young man who's missing a finger and the stumpy knuckle has a few inexplicable holes in it. One day as he's walking along, in the grit of the street he notices a little ballerina figurine at the base of which are a few prongs which perfectly fit the holes in his knuckle. Now he's got his tiny dancer in his hand, always with him. He's not lonely anymore.