Five things: a summoning. Twelve

1. I wander around aimlessly before a shower. Bare skin covered in ink.

I’m beginning to hate having to cover them with clothes. 

2. What do I need to know, I ask the cards.  Strength, they say. 

I don’t know if their answers come from me or the cosmic dust or some deity somewhere taking an interest in me, but I can tell you they always have the answers. 

Even if they aren’t ones I want. 

3. The perfect cup of tea. 

4. Long conversations and the hoarseness after. Worth it.

5. Standing in front of my Health 100 class to introduce myself and feeling like I was running a race, my heart was beating so fast.  

I really, really dislike public speaking.  

Five things: a summoning. Eleven.

1. When you’re a fixer and someone you love has a situation you can’t fix. That feeling. 

2. He says, I never hit her or got physical or anything like that, but I knew I needed help.  Everyone E meets has a story they want him to hear. I hope it helps them to get it off their chests.

3. Power moonroof. Because I can go without sunny days, but the moon? We’re involved.  

4. Love is a verb.  

5. I am lucky. I am lucky. I am lucky.  

Five things: a summoning. Ten.

1. I don’t show up Saturday. The day is long and the time is short, and I could guilt myself about it, but I want to be here because I want to and not because I feel obligated.  

I am not beholdened to my words—this is a partnership.

2. Stop. Think. Breathe.  

Reminder to self.  

3. I looked in the mirror and thought, I wish I could go out with no pants on

This is what healing looks like.  

4. Do you think other couples are like us?, I ask him. I hope there are; everyone should be this known.

5. That Lindsay Vonn commercial.

 

Five things: a summoning. Nine.

1. Tea. Warmed up twice. Because it's been that kind of morning.

2. One load of laundry washed, one folded and put away. It feels productive, even if it doesn't look it.

3. Writing a graduation letter to J as a parent participation assignment for her English class. Writing a poem to O for a parent valentine submission.

Tearing up. A lot.

4. Kinesiology orientation still to be done, but by the time I get all three Beasties to school and get to campus, I miss the top of the hour which means I miss the orientation time. Yet, somehow, I have to also find the time to visit at least twice a week over the next 17 weeks, and still make it to three in-class sessions for two other classes and be home in time to pick up the Beasties, help with homework, and get dinner done.

Someone remind me again why this lab is necessary?

5. Twos.

Five things: a summoning. Eight.

1. Long day. Long.  

2. O asks what I’m doing and I explain I’m blogging. He wants y’all to know he’s cute and fabulous and beautiful. 😂 

3. They read Llama Llama Red Pajama without me for his book report. When I read over what he wrote, the last line reads I like this book because my mom reads it to me before bed. My heart melts. 

4. Is it still ritual if all I do is keep the moon in my peripheral as I drive home?

I’m thinking yes. In this case, intention counts.

5. I wonder if there is a word for that feeling one experiences when showering after a long day. It’s like joy and relief and un-becoming all at once.  

 

Five things: a summoning. Seven.

1. I don't know that I'll ever tire of the moon. 

I thought I missed her slipping into something dark and crimson, but I didn't, and what a gift that was this morning.

2. Making small talk with the moms in the neighborhood after morning drop off. In the middle of the conversation I say, I just have to get this out of the way: I'm a feminist, and they both look at each other with a look of relief and reply We are, too. And I wonder if we were all holding our breath, wondering if maybe we couldn't be friends after all.

3. It's tank top weather here and there are no suitable tank tops in the stores. This irks me more than it should.

4. I sit in the queue, waiting for my oldest son, and thank the gods for the hotspot on my phone so I can blog (hi!), and do homework. Not in that order.

5. There are dead leaves still clinging to branches, and, yet, each day I notice more and more green everywhere. That vacant lot was dirt just a week ago and now it is covered grass that looks as soft as suede.

Five things: a summoning. Six.

1. Finding shortcuts. The good kind. The kind that mean I don’t have to sit in stop and go for ten extra minutes.  

2. I wonder why he thought he needed to hold such a loud conversation in public.  

3. The architecture is so pretty outside MD-157. I wish that area had been empty so I could’ve taken a better photo.  

4. Textbooks are ridiculously expensive. It’s a travesty, really, the way higher education has such a high mark up.  

5. I’m pretty sure I was the oldest in class, save for the professors, but I’m hoping that doesn’t mean I’m the most studious. Please let my group be people who want to learn.  

Five things: a summoning. Five.

1. He's less sad about being sick and more upset that his friend, who has been sick for two weeks, might return to school today and he's missing her arrival. I feel badly that he's missing her, but the hacking cough is enough to tell me he needs this rest day.

2. I don't feel ready.

3. He suggests I focus any new purchases on clothing instead of makeup. You're not going to want to wear the same thing all the time; I know you, he says. I tell him I plan to wear athleisure wear every day since I have that kinesiology class anyway and no one to impress. He smiles, shaking his head at me. Or you could do that, he says.

4. Am I overthinking this? Probably. I'm not sure if it's the Type A, overachiever or the Capricorn in me or what. Can I blame my upbringing or the stars for the way I feel right now?

5. She says, Wow, your skin is looking really nice, Mama. And then I wake up with a spot right in the middle of my eyebrows. Do witchlette daughters inadvertently jinx us? Should I thank the gods she didn't mention chicken pox?

Five things: a summoning. four.

1. I think it may be time to add to my capsule wardrobe. 

Keeping the colors, but adding a few pieces. It’s time.  

2.  Lemon pasta and the way sometimes the simplest of meals are just exactly what is needed. 

3. GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! A sleeve of Thin Mints went straight into the freezer.  

4. I am officially a college student (again) tomorrow.  

I am also more nervous than I care to admit.

5. Dreaming of snow.  

I am so over this warm weather.  

Five things: a summoning. Three.

1. Almost twenty years later, and I’m still finding new ways to be enamored with him and his generous heart.

Watching him play with our youngest and our nephew, on all fours to be a roaring dinosaur, made me wish we could make more babies.  

Like, really really. 

2. Pizza. Hot and covered in mushrooms. Fresh, not canned, please. 

3. The ritual of coffee and the way it tastes better when someone else makes you a cup. Why is that? 

4. The heater. For the first time this season. And the gift and privilege of that luxury.  

5. Oversized, down-filled couches. I want all our couches to be this comfy.  

Five things: a summoning. Two.

1. Answering an old question with new answers.  Because growth takes time. 

2. Vigil candles. Is that what they’re called? I always called them Saints’ candles or Santeria candles.

They make me think of those little, old Catholic ladies, black scarves draped across their hair as they recite Hail Marys at the other end of the pew. The way the footrest dips a bit as they finish praying and get off their knees.

They make me think of my sister, and the way the wall of candles looked in their red glasses at Christ’s feet. The birthday wishes we sent toward heaven for her. 

3. I wonder if doctors from days of old were on to something with bloodletting. Maybe they took it too far (probably), and maybe they used the treatment in the wrong way (likely), but maybe they weren’t wrong.  

I bleed with each tattoo, and each piece has brought me more healing than any therapist, psychiatrist, or medication ever has.

4. New sheets. Microfiber. Luxurious and soft; the kind of soft you want to rub your body against over and over again.  

And only $18.99 at Target. 

Go figure.  

5. The clouds rolled in yesterday afternoon, heavy with grey.

Every time I wonder why we stay in California, born here or not, she reminds me. Of all the states, there really is nowhere else I’d rather call home.  

Five Things: A summoning. One.

1. Water. After seven hours of having it shut off to our home while they fixed a leak at our main water line, I will never take the privilege of water for granted again.  

2. The way he kept looking back through the crowd until he found my face. The way he smiled and waved, then made his way to class.  

3. Figuring out my face. Realizing my full cheeks compete with heavy eye makeup, aging me needlessly. Falling in love with my skin, caring for it and nurturing it. 

4. I want to live in leggings and high top Vans. Is that weird? I feel like that’s weird. Shouldn’t I be dressing my age? And what does that even mean? 

5. Butter chicken and mini naan. The way their hands will keep reaching in for more. The conversations and laughter. I hope they keep the tradition of family dinners with their someday babies.

 

* Inspired by the ever amazing and talented Alisha of Sommersalt.com.

It’s grey today.  

The kind when the clouds resemble thick blankets, all corded together, an ombré tapestry of greys and white. 

Softbox grey, you know? 

And I know there are folx all over the continent wishing for the warm, sunny weather we’ve been having (wishing their grey away), but we need this so badly it hurts.

Wildfires still burn, and every day without rain becomes one more day of fiery possibility. Already this earth is so thirsty, so parched, it’s waiting to crack open.

Plus, I like this grey.

Need it, even.

I don’t do well in too much warmth, under too much light. My head and heart need a break, and grey is just the sort of lull it craves. 

Once, when we were spending a day at Disneyland and had just finished dinner Downtown, we noticed crowds and crowds of women carrying long-stemmed roses.  

We kept an eye out for their source and found a small group of women, heads covered in sumptuous yet nondescript scarves, gifting them away. My daughters (J, and her best friend), walked over to accept the flowers, asking about the cause (to share that Islam is not a violent or hateful religion), and how they could help the women share their message.

As we continued back to the parks, we passed several people carrying roses, too … only the flowers couldn’t distract from the ugliness leaving their mouths. 

 Why'd they have to come out with their heads covered? I want the flower, but I want to rip the tag [with a passage from the Quran on it] off. Why are they even out here?

It took my girls all of five minutes to stop and listen, to say thank you for the flowers and receive hugs of thanks in turn. So, I wondered what motivated those others to accept these offerings with such ugliness on the tips of their tongue. Would they say the same of women trying to share Christian fellowship? Am I jaded to think they would’ve been kinder? Accepting?

. . . . .

We’re driving home on the 15 north today and I spy a cross planted boldly on a nearby mountain. Seeing it there, as if it has every right to exist, made me wonder why that’s okay, why door to door sales of Christ is readily accepted, but the idea of a handful of Muslim women sharing offerings of peace and beauty are treated with disgust and disdain. I wonder when religion became so ugly and twisted that it could no longer recognize how beautiful it is for anyone to believe in anything, even if it’s not just the one thing. 

Setting intentions. Hello, new moon in virgo.

This is me, setting intentions.

This is me telling the universe, The Powers That Be, that I am ready.

This is me sifting through the wreckage of dreams laid bare, allowed to crash against the rocks of life. This is me sorting what to keep, what to reimagine, and what to leave behind.

I am writing again. I am curating a book of poems and imagery. I am going back to school and completing my English degree. 

I am ready, and open, and know where my heart lies.

Right there, along the precipice.

I am ready to jump.

SEVEN. II.

1. Sometimes I want to show up--all of me. All the dark and pieced together parts. There is no gold to fill the cracks, just a death grip to make sure it doesn't all fall apart.  

Other times I'm grateful for the superficial connections. They take less energy. Less work.  

2. Curating my own work with the dream of self-publishing a book. Short stories, poetry, and photos.  

Universe, this is me asking. Please.

3. Ice cold coconut water and chocolate covered salted caramels.

4. The way errands feel like a date.  The intimacy of shared observations.

5. Three hours in the front yard today, four hours yesterday, and all this black mulch spread about. The greenery really pops now.  

6. He's barbecuing tonight and I know he knows I'll sniff him as soon as he walks back in the house. The smell of smoke on his neck is intoxicating.  

7. Fresh, white sheets. I can't help it; I love them.