Tuesday, May 28, 2013


My Nana is gone. She died Saturday morning. I went to work on Saturday and passed a horrible thing. A deer had been hit by a car and she lay in front of it trying to move but her back legs were crumpled beneath her. Traffic was moving so slowly and I just stared at her face and started to cry. She looked so confused. I called my mother and she told me about Nana.

I am so lucky to have lived so long without really knowing grief. The past week I had been preparing for it, waiting for the phone call. I had thought of what it would feel like and how I would react. It was nothing like what I had thought. I did not think I would feel it so physically.

Thankfully I am surrounded by love and kindness. My coworkers leapt into action and covered shifts for me, while offering support and care. My husband has been so amazing; I do not know how to tell him.

Sunday while my mother and her sisters made arrangements, I prowled around my father's backyard picking at the dirt. I collected snail shells to show my sister. At one point I swore I could smell onions and hunted among the overgrowth until I found little wild ones. I came home with the shells, a stone with a hole straight through, and the jawbone of some little creature. I don't know what I will do with them, but finding them made me not think about things for awhile.

I have been home alone today, trying to process. I did yoga. I made soup. The tea kettle has been singing all day. I took some time and took a nourishing bath after reading Lindsay's post on sacred bathing, with candles, herbs (dandelion, sage, and rosemary), salts, and let them seep into my skin as I watched the steam rise from the water. Baths with herbs make me feel so peaceful, like I am the shore that the sea is drifting weeds onto. I embody divine love at every moment. I am so grateful that I had today to tend to myself.

Tomorrow is the wake. I will spend tonight in my mother's home, trying to offer what help I can.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

a heaviness on my heart

I've been in a haze the past few days. My mother's mother, my Nana, is close to death. I have never lost anyone close to me before and while I know that it is part of life, that we all must die, I am afraid of living through the feelings that come with it.

I have been lucky in life so far. Nana has had cancer twice and has always been full of life. My grandmother had blackouts while driving and a pacemaker put in and still is around to teach me to quilt. My uncle had a brain tumor and walked out of the hospital the day after surgery. My sister had heart surgery at nine months and bounced back with vigor. My mother had her lungs fill up with blood after her hysterectomy and thankfully was saved. I know it is not realistic, but everyone I know has always bounced back - I thought they might always do so.

I do not know how to handle death.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Beautiful Giveaway

If you follow my on basically any social media you know I have been posting about this giveaway this week. Wild Rain of the sacred life of rain is giving away a beautiful piece by Laura of Roots and Feathers. I love this so much and just think it would look beautiful in my new apartment entry way.Today is the last day to enter and I encourage you to throw your name in here! And while you are there please check out the overall blog because I think it is really worth reading.

Not too long ago husband and I thought we had a new apartment in the bag and were packing when we got a call that they had messed up some paperwork and given it to someone else. I was really upset and bummed, especially because of how disappointing our current place is. It is not a good apartment and has tons of maintenance issues that don't seem to be high on the list of priorities for our landlord. I desperately want to be in an area that feels like home and this place just isn't it.

So on a whim I emailed the landlord of what was my favorite apartment in Madison where I sublet for a few months when I was newly single. I just wanted to see if it would be coming available  Within hours I got a response that it would be at the start of fall and that there was a chance we could move in earlier. This place is beautiful, tons of light, hardwood floors and right across from a park. I am elated that we are going to be able to get out of here and into a new place.

Monday, May 6, 2013

fresh breath

I've been thinking about this blogging space. I think that I have left it again and again is because it is so specific. I don't want to be just a book review, I want to talk about how these books connect with my life and what's going on with me. I want to share more. If one day it is a book review and the next it is my thoughts on a video game or the way I felt when looking at a lone flowering tree in the midst of empty farmland then that is what I am going to do. I get so discouraged when I think of girlreads because I am usually blogging about a book weeks after I read it due to my desire to keep to a rigid to do list.

So I'm taking a fresh breath and turning this into what I want for it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Please Look After Mom

I honestly cannot remember how I came to find Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin, but I am really glad that I did. This book won the Man Asian Prize in 2011 and has been an international best seller.

Please Look After Mom is told in five different parts with four different points of view, all members of the same family. The elderly Mom goes missing in Seoul and her children and husband begin searching for her. Chi-hon is one of the daughters, a writer who had an education that Mom could not have dreamed of. While searching for mom, Chi-hon, and the others, reflect on how they treated Mom over the course of a lifetime and what Mom's life meant to her. There are so many things that struck me about this book.

"You were caught off guard. You had never thought of Mom as separate from the kitchen. Mom was the kitchen and the kitchen was Mom. You never wondered, Did Mom like being in the Kitchen?"

We get Mom's life story over the course of the book, told from her children and husband. It is heartbreaking and seems so true. My heart ached for all of the characters in the book, even the ones who had clearly mistreated Mom before she went missing.

"After your children's mother went missing, you realized that it was your wife who was missing. Your wife, whom you'd forgotten about for fifty years, was present in your heart. Only after she disappeared did she come to you tangibly, as if you could reach out and touch her."

This book reminded me a lot of Big Breasts and Wide Hips. While Please Look After Mom is much shorter in length, it is a similar richly dense family story centered on the mother who does anything to keep her family intact. However, Mother from Big Breasts and Wide Hips was more admirable to me in some ways than Mom. But, I really enjoyed Please Look After Mom and highly recommend.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How to be a Woman (again)

This is a reread from last year! How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran was previously blogged about here, so this will be short and sweet. I reread this book for a book club meeting and was really excited about hearing other's thoughts on it. How to be a Woman remained a great read the second time through. But the day of the meeting I had a pretty bad anxiety day and elected to stay at home watching tv. Not to happy that but it happens. I'm hoping to redeem myself and get to book club next month when we are talking about Bachelor Girl by Betty Isreal.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Crying of Lot 49

Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 is another book that is part of the big 1001 books to read before you die list that I am plodding my way through. I have never read Pynchon before and my only impression of his writing was that Gravity's Rainbow seemed like a very difficult book. But The Crying of Lot 49 is a slim paperback so I thought I could handle it.

Oedipa Maas is our main character, a young married woman who finds herself in charge of executing the estate of a deceased friend, Pierce Inverarity. Unsure about what exactly to do, Oedipa meets up with Metzger, Inverarity's lawyer. Oedipa begins to see a strange symbol everywhere and thinks it has something to do with Inverarity and an underground postal system.

"each death, up till the moment of our own, is miraculous."

The plot is difficult for me to describe because it was difficult for me to follow at times. There is a very long detailed retelling of a play that Oedipa and Metzger see. At times it seems like Oedipa is going crazy over all of these clues without any end in sight. And once I read this:

 "Oedipa wondered whether, at the end of this (if it were supposed to end), she too might not be left with only compiled memories of clues, announcements, intimations, but never the central truth itself."

I had a feeling that Pynchon had summed up the book for me so I just buckled in and enjoyed the ride. For a small book it was very dense but really interesting. Oedipa is constantly picking up on communication patterns and draws them into a web that gets bigger and bigger without getting anywhere. We never get the "central truth itself" but that isn't what this book or life in general is about. It's just the patterns we find in an attempt to make sense of things.

"This is America, you live in it, you let it happen. Let it unfurl."

While trying to describe this book to my husband, all I could come back to was this scene from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.