Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘love’

I was waiting in line at the post office recently (enjoying the Mary Tyler Moore episode playing on their new TV), and witnessed something that made my day…

A stooped older gentleman came in asking about the keys to his post office box, which he’d misplaced. One of the postal workers – who clearly knew him by name – immediately said: Oh, you left your box open last week, so we put the keys in it for you, honey. Her colleague retrieved the keys and handed them over, and with some gentle teasing, the man went on his way.

I loved everything about that interaction: the fact that the man got his keys back, the fact that the workers instantly knew where they were, the kindness in the woman’s voice as she called him honey. (She was probably young enough to be his granddaughter.) It was such a moment of care, in a busy city on a grey Thursday afternoon, that it delighted me simply to witness it.

I always feel privileged when I get a peek into moments of tenderness between people, and this sweet instance of neighborly kindness – in a business setting, no less – felt especially precious. I appreciated, too, the not-so-subtle reminder that, as the Mary Tyler Moore theme song reminds us, love is all around.

Advertisement

Read Full Post »

Happy New Year, friends. However you celebrated, I hope your holidays were lovely.

I spent some time in Texas with family and longtime friends, then came back here for a few days to settle back in and hang with my guy. I’m grateful for the time away and also thankful to have had some time here, in my little book-lined flat near the harbor, which is currently filled with winter sunshine.

I often need a writing project to kick-start a new year or season, and – inspired by Ross Gay’s wonderful The Book of Delights – I’ve decided to share a different delight on the blog each Monday in 2023. I want to celebrate the good, especially after the last few difficult years, and this feels both fun and doable. Each week I’ll share a brief meditation on an everyday – sometimes overlooked, but truly wonderful – delight.

In the spirit of the holidays, here’s the first delight: giving, and receiving, gifts that make you feel seen.

I’ve written before about my gift-giving anxiety, the way I can get tied up in knots over what to get my people to properly express my love. Sometimes, I’ve put too much weight on the buying of said gifts: expecting them to somehow make up for the time I can’t spend with people, or the conversations we don’t have. But increasingly, when I can (mostly) let go of all that pressure, I truly enjoy searching for gifts that my people will love.

This year, I bought my guy a few things he adored: a new graphic novel, a bag of his favorite tea, a beautiful ramen bowl he’d admired, a bandana from Janine Kwoh’s wonderful shop. I found fun novels for a few girlfriends that I knew would suit their tastes, and bought my nephew the sequel to an adventure book he loves. And each time, I loved watching their faces light up (or receiving the joyous text) that let me know: I’d gotten them something that would bring them delight, something suited to their particular ways of experiencing joy.

I was also on the receiving end of this delight: my sister bought me a sweatshirt that says, “Drink tea, read books, be happy” (basically my life motto). A friend got me a gift card to the charming new bookstore in Abilene, so I could browse and pick out just what I wanted. Other friends sent citrus shower steamers and cute spatulas and a darling red hat (my favorite color). My guy bought me a stack of thoughtfully chosen books, and a delicate pair of gingko-leaf earrings I’d wanted. And my parents got me a couple of gift cards that will help me plan my next trip – plus a chic plaid scarf, a Christmas ornament from a favorite local shop, and a big bar of creamy Cadbury chocolate.

I often quote Clare from I’ll Be Your Blue Sky: “I am one of those people who believe at least half of love is paying attention.” Giving, and receiving, gifts like this lets me know that my people and I are paying attention to each other. They see me, with my quirks and preferences and particular tastes, and I see them, too, and celebrate their unique souls. Tangible gifts aren’t the only way to pay attention, of course, but they can certainly be a delightful one.

What’s delighting you so far in this new year? I’d love to hear.

P.S. The fourth issue of my newsletter, For the Noticers, comes out soon. Sign up here to get on the list!

Read Full Post »

For bright, bracing miles along the river on Thanksgiving morning, sunlight sparkling on the water and my favorite women of folk in my ears.

For a phone call with my parents, standing on the back porch in the sunshine, talking football and family and the recipes we were all making for the day, two thousand miles apart.

For two racks of ribs with my grandmother’s barbecue sauce, my partner’s legendary mac and cheese, the sweet potato recipe that tastes like Thanksgiving to me. For corn muffins and tabbouleh and a charcuterie board to tide us over while we cooked. For a table positively groaning with food – more, much more, than enough.

For a bike ride with my guy in the sunshine, and the love, respect and genuine affection that sustains us every day.

For the texts rolling in from faraway friends, with Friends gifs and pictures of tables and kitchens and families. For feeling held by the communities I love, scattered though they may be.

For an evening spent washing stacks of dishes and baking dozens of cookies, scrolling through Christmas movie trailers on Netflix and listening to episodes of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

For tricky conversations about the history of the day: I believe gratitude is always worth practicing, but I also, increasingly, believe we’ve got to reckon with the colonial legacy that took so much from Native peoples.

For my job at ZUMIX – community, music and young people – and a fun, diverse group of colleagues who are both hardworking and kind.

For the chance to keep building a life I love, challenges and all.

If you celebrated last week, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

P.S. The third issue of my newsletter, For the Noticers, comes out this week. Sign up here to get on the list!

Read Full Post »

If they come in the night

Long ago on a night of danger and vigil
a friend said, why are you happy?
He explained (we lay together
on a cold hard floor) what prison
meant because he had done
time, and I talked of the death
of friends. Why are you happy
then, he asked, close to
angry.

I said, I like my life. If I
have to give it back, if they
take it from me, let me
not feel I wasted any, let me
not feel I forgot to love anyone
I meant to love, that I forgot
to give what I held in my hands,
that I forgot to do some little
piece of the work that wanted
to come through.

Sun and moonshine, starshine,
the muted light off the waters
of the bay at night, the white
light of the fog stealing in,
the first spears of morning
touching a face
I love. We all lose
everything. We lose
ourselves. We are lost.

Only what we manage to do
lasts, what love sculpts from us;
but what I count, my rubies, my
children, are those moments
wide open when I know clearly
who I am, who you are, what we
do, a marigold, an oakleaf, a meteor,
with all my senses hungry and filled
at once like a pitcher with light.

It has been a hard and heavy few weeks in the headlines, and this poem – found via Abby Rasminsky – made me think of Ukraine and also of my own life. I hope it moves you.

April is National Poetry Month, and I am sharing poetry – with an emphasis on women – here on Fridays this month, as I do every year. 

Read Full Post »

How is it March already? There’s still snow on the ground (so much snow!) but we are heading for spring. Here’s my last slew of February books:

Love & Saffron, Kim Fay
My friend Louise raved about this book and she wasn’t wrong – it’s a charming epistolary novel of a friendship between two women who love food. (Shades of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto!) I picked it up at the Book Catapult and savored its gentle, witty prose and tasty food descriptions.

A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times: Stories, Meron Hadero
I don’t usually read short stories – but this collection, centered on the experiences of Ethiopians in their home country and the U.S., was sharply observed and fascinating. Hadero sensitively explores the challenges of assimilating, navigating race in the U.S. – or scratching out a living at home. To review for Shelf Awareness (out May 10).

Lost and Found in Paris, Lian Dolan
After her marriage implodes, Joan Bright Blakely hops a plane to Paris as an art courier, transporting some valuable sketches. But after a lovely night with a new man, she wakes to find the sketches gone – and a sketch by her deceased artist father in their place. A warmhearted, compelling novel about family, loss, art and new beginnings. To review for Shelf Awareness (out April 5).

Friday Barnes: Under Suspicion, R.A. Spratt
Girl detective Friday Barnes is arrested on unclear charges – then she retrieves a valuable bracelet, makes friends with an ex-con and tries to solve various mysteries on campus at her boarding school. A zany middle-grade mystery with likable characters. Found at the Mysterious Bookshop.

Most links (not affiliate links) are to my local faves Trident and Brookline Booksmith. Shop indie!

What are you reading?

Read Full Post »

For leggy geraniums in my kitchen window and brilliant afternoon light.

For morning runs along the harbor and the greenway. For so much outdoor public space in my neighborhood, and a body that is strong and healthy, beautiful and resilient.

For a kind, brilliant, passionate, funny, fierce man whose love sustains me.

For a few local friends who are my lifelines, every single day.

For my faraway family, both blood kin and chosen.

For texts and calls with my girlfriends scattered across the miles. For the technologies that allow us to share in the details of one another’s lives.

For vaccines, nurses, doctors, public health officials and everyone who is (still) working so hard to keep us safe.

For a job at a neighborhood nonprofit that I love, working with good people to bring music and creative empowerment to our young folks.

For nourishing trips this summer and fall – to Texas, Minneapolis, Vermont and beyond – to explore new and beloved places and spend time with folks dear to me.

For music in all its forms: the Wailin’ Jennys and the women of country on my long runs, humming favorites in my kitchen, singing carols with others at Christmas choir rehearsal, hearing our ZUMIX students play ukulele or drums or guitar.

For good books, those who write them, and the chance to read and review them regularly.

For a place – my studio, my neighborhood, this city, my communities – where I have built a home and been welcomed into other people’s homes.

For all – as my friend Amy would say – that we have been given.

If you’re celebrating this week, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Read Full Post »

Let there be new flowering

Let there be new flowering
in the fields let the fields
turn mellow for the men
let the men keep tender
through the time let the time
be wrested from the war
let the war be won
let love be
at the end

I read this poem on Natalie Jabbar’s excellent poetry blog the day after the Derek Chauvin verdict (which was also the day I got my first vaccine). It made me straight-up cry. Let love be at the end.

April is National Poetry Month, and I have been sharing poetry – with an emphasis on women of color – here on Fridays this month, as I do every year. 

Read Full Post »

Notions

Look at the silver lining, they say.
But what if, instead,
I pluck it off
and use that tensile strand to bind
myself to those things I do not 
want to lose sight of.

Families knit together by evening walks,
board games, laughter. 
The filament fixing us to friends
no matter the distance apart.
A braid of gratitude for small kindnesses.
The thin gauge wire of loss.

Let me twist that lining 
around my finger, 
it’s silvery glint a reminder 
of just how quickly life can change. 
I will remember to love more.
I will remember to give more.

I will remember to be still

I will knot the string tightly. 
So it won’t slip away.
So I won’t forget.

I found Paula’s poem in the anthology How to Love the World, and was struck by the idea of silver linings becoming tangible. You can read more of her poetry on her Facebook page.

April is National Poetry Month, and I am sharing poetry here on Fridays this month, as I do every year. 

Read Full Post »

oh, heart,
remember that being brave
is not
that you are not afraid.
it is to choose to sing with a trembling voice,
to walk with one foot in front of the other
& to hold on to a hand as you do so.
it is to live,
to truly live
& to share your life,
to listen to the voice of fear
& to sing louder.
to be brave is to be here
despite it all,
despite the voices that tell you that you
do not belong.
to be brave is to look at injustice in the eye
& to still, somehow, have hope,
to dream of tomorrow & all that it holds.
oh, heart.
to be brave is to be you.

Months ago, a friend pointed me to Gaby on Instagram, where she shares a lot of her poetry. She’s a Dominican poet and educator, and her words are brave and whimsical and lovely.

April is National Poetry Month, and I am sharing poetry here on Fridays this month, as I do every year

Read Full Post »

We cook and laugh, and I steal a kiss while he does the dishes. Then we snuggle or go for an evening walk. We fall asleep, content in each other’s presence. 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »