April 29, 2006

Fathers - 4/27/06

Pediatrician waiting room, 3 p.m. - He is soft...soft face, soft brown eyes, soft long hair, soft body, soft shoes. His body whispers of warm waters, composting leaves and earth, endless gentle streams slowly smoothing the rocks.

His son is a small version of him and he dotes after his baby sister, she a pink cheeked child of delight and eager wonder. The father watches his son rock his sister on a rocking horse.
The son looks to his father as he rocks her...once, twice, and again...smiling, seeking reassurance.

It comes, it never wavers. The father's approval is a beam streaming from eye to eye, unfaltering.

State Street, 4:25 p.m. - He is happy, happy, happy. His grin is almost silly, so full of happiness and pride. "Giddy" or "delirious with joy" come to mind as I watch him. Mom and baby on a bike in front of him, he takes up the rear where they cannot see the sparkles of love lighting up his eyes, brighter than the late afternoon sun that blinds me as I drive.

Lacrosse game, 6:30 p.m. - He has come straight from work to sit on the cold metal of the bleachers. The wind flaps at the bottom corner of his navy business suit. When he smiles, he is a movie star with his bright tiny pearl teeth flashing beneath black sunglasses. He is perfectly trimmed and perfectly proud.

April 28, 2006

Summer 2005
"Vermont Freedom"

12:30 AM - The Coffee

12:30 and I'm fading but I've still got pages to write. I need coffee but since I only drink it on a blue moon I've got none to brew.

I get in the car hoping something is open. I am still every inch a Northeast Kingdom (where they roll up the dirt roads at 6pm) girl so I assume the world stops at sundown.

The coffee shop windows are lit up. Good. I will have coffee tonight. Inside there is actually a LINE! Other Smithies getting their caffeine on.

A compact Indian man sits, impeccably dressed for the hour, at a corner table reading. His girlfriend contrasts him with her hippy stylings but I know they are together by the way their necks arc to bring their heads together across the small square of table.

I wait almost 15 minutes for my coffee. 15 minutes is far too long when sleep deprived and not having had a decent meal in days. I start to crave all the tastes on the menu. I want it all...sweet, tart, bitter, hot and filling, fluffy indulgence.

I can't help myself. My turn and I order my coffee AND a smoothie. Mango...yum.

*Note on picture - I googled coffee images and this one came up on the first page. I recognized it right away as Michael Wood's, a contemplative photographer I studied with in Montreal. However, when I clicked the link, it was contained in an index on someone's MIT page. No credit as far as I can tell, but I am almost 100% sure this is Michael Wood's. I'll look it up tomorrow when I have more time.

April 21, 2006

Smith College Boathouse 2004

April 18, 2006

2 X 2 = 1

We are two mirrors - you and I...
ting endlessly
ward each other
shimmering surfaces of silver
smoothed and glassed

revealing only other

and not

yet through this act
we do reveal -
for two souls so alike

bound in separate skins

when reflecting

-in fact-


You Know You Live with Teenagers When...

...you step out of the shower, dripping wet, and grope for a towel from the stack you just neatly folded last night, and your hand comes up empty.
No, there isn't a single one hanging either. You can either (a) dry off with a hand towel, (b) pull your clothes on over your wet skin, or (c) run naked through the house, traumatizing the evil teenagers who used 10 towels in 24 hours.

...you buy ice cream at 9 a.m. At 10 p.m. when the house is finally quiet, you open the ice cream box (you've been so looking forward to this) and there is one half melted scoop left, sadly clinging to the bottom corner of the box.

...you've just finished lugging 20 bags of groceries into the house and spent an hour trying to find space for all the food and collapse onto the couch only to hear a voice from the kitchen, "there's NOTHING to eat in this house!"

...socks in your house seem to live everywhere but drawers and hampers. You suspect they might walk on their own, but you can't confirm this.

...spoons disappear. (Where DO they go?) So you have to eat your cereal with chopsticks, and that one last half-melted scoop of ice cream with a butter knife.

April 13, 2006

To Correct or Not


As sometimes happens with strangers, or people I just meet, someone asked me yesterday what happened to my eye.

I was born with a lazy eye. Trouble is, it didn't look that way all the time. So when my mom kept taking me to doctors, they told her it would correct itself. It didn't. When I learned to walk my mom noticed I would bump into things on my left side, so she paraded me back to the doctors, where it was discovered my optic nerve was deteriorating...rapidly. They put me through all kinds of tests, CAT scans and the like, thinking it was a brain tumor or something else. No.

During visual development, if there is no input, or weaker input from one eye, the brain prunes what isn't being used. In my case, it was the optic nerve of my left eye. Now, I am almost entirely blind in my left eye, and it turns in.

This leads me to the real topic of this post. Since I was about 16, when an optician told me that I could have the muscles surgically corrected, I've been thinking about having that surgery. Back then it was risky. I could lose vision in my good eye if anything went wrong. This sufficiently scared my mom and myself from pursuing it. Over the years, with medical advancement, the surgery has become less risky. So now I'm considering it again.

I have a lot of feelings about this. Very strong emotions. For one thing, I have lived with this "flaw" my entire life. It has become part of me. Like a gap between front teeth, or a mole on the cheek or something. For better or worse, it is part of my physical identity. Do I really want to change it?

Second, it hasn't seemed to detract from my attractability. So, why bother? Besides, I'm afraid I'll look a little...vanilla.

Third, I am terrified of any kind of surgery. What if something went horribly wrong? I'm not thinking death, but what if they really messed things up? There have been cases where when they cut the muscles, one snaps back behind the eye and they can never retrieve it. Ugh. This makes me feel sick.

So why am I contemplating it then? For my future professional life. People tend to make snap judgements during interviews. I know I've had lost opportunities because of it.

Because I hate photographs of myself that freeze this flaw. Because the eyes are the first point of contact with anyone. Because I'm tired of always having to explain it. Because I want people to hear what I'm saying and not be thinking about that. Because some men have been attracted to me for solely this reason and that borders too much on a fetish for my liking.

Maybe the most important thing, something that has taken me a very long time to uncover and admit to myself, is that it gets in the way of intimacy. My intimacy. I think there is something about intimacy that requires gazing into each other's eyes. I can't hold a gaze. When I look at someone, I tend to look more at their mouth. Even when I'm watching a movie. This must come from years of conditional and unconscious training.

Then there is the practical issue. Insurance won't cover it so far as I can tell from researching. It is considered cosmetic. And the surgery is fairly expensive, as surgery is. Do I spend that much money? Do I have that much money? If I did, shouldn't I use it to travel, put it in a college fund for my kids?

My Vanity...

Sometimes karma has its own way of sending us messages. The one part of my body I am truly vain about is my hands. They are not perfect...my veins are visible, one of my fingers is crooked from an injury...but they are slender and long and as a child they were often remarked upon.

My fingertips I enjoy most, maybe because of the sensual pleasures they afford me. I like to trail my fingertips lightly over things...skin, water, metal, rocks, curves in architecture, staircase banisters.

Here's where karma comes in. Last year I developed a condition known as "fingertip excema". As the name suggests, it only afflicts the fingertips. First the skin becomes hard, not visibly, but I can feel it. As though there are invisible callouses on my fingertips. Then the skin begins to crack and peel. This is, of course, extraordinarily painful. More than that, I lose all sensation in my fingertips and so am robbed of the pleasure I derive from the nerve endings there.

It comes and goes, and when it goes I am delighted. So maybe this is a lesson in fragility and appreciation.

April 03, 2006

Montreal 2001

A Challenge for You...

I was thinking about words that I adore. Words that stop my mind for a moment when I am reading, or thinking. I am sleepy, so here are but a few. My challenge to you...one of the following:

Choose one and use it in a sentence in the comments.
Write a story or poem in your own blog based on one or using them all (be sure to direct me there)...
or, of course, share your own list here.

Words that I adore...

I look forward to your creative contribution!