My Manifesto


I want champagne and fancy breakfasts. You know the kind I mean, the kind that Eloise at the Plaza would eat. Steaming sausage and biscuits, chocolate croissants, and fresh fruit bowls, all of which I prepared myself, lovingly and languorously. And I know Eloise can’t have champagne. But I can.

I want to be able to don an apron and experimentally bake all day just because it brings me joy. Then I want to share that bakery with all sorts of people who love having sugary goodness in their mouths.

I want to adopt a dog and know that I can take care of it. I want to be able to take care of myself without anyone else’s help. And then one day I want someone to help take care of me, not because I am incompetent but because that person loves me and knows things like: when I am sick I am a colossal baby brat and want extra attention.

I want to be able to fill up my gas tank and drive to far off places and not worry about bouncing my checking account. I want to stop and visit with old men in barbershops and men who are fishing in streams and waitresses in diners. I want all of their wisdom. I want to bathe in it like I want to bathe in a clawfoot tub. I also want a clawfoot tub.

I want to own my own home with my name on the mortgage, no one else’s because I did it all by my independent self. I want to own goats and chickens and horses and perhaps a cow or two. I want to know in turn how to take care of those animals. I want those animals to roam about my yard and lean into me when I visit with them, like they would lean into the sunshine. Because I will love them so much.

I want to perhaps turn my home into a B&B, or at the very least a cozy and open space where friends, family and even polite acquaintances are always welcome. I want that place to be in Wyoming. I also want that place to have a big porch, or at the very least big trees where swings and tree forts can be happily built.

I want land where I can roam. Where my animals can roam. Where I can ride horses. Where I can have fences to mend. Where one day, God willing, my children can roam and pretend to be the Boxcar children, Laura Ingalls Wilder, or the Swiss Family Robinsons like I did as a child. My children will know who all of these people are. They will also know about Lewis and Clark and the importance of explorers. They will know about Annie Oakley and fierce-minded, strong willed ambitious women, they will know about God and that highest and purest of unconditional love, and a whole bunch more.

I want to have a writer’s room or a writer’s barn or a writer’s workshop or even a writer’s nook where I can write novels and have my babies snug tight to me in little papooses while they sleep. And when they are not sleeping and creating a racket, they can go play with the goats or their siblings or their dad.

I want to learn how to garden like my mom does. Meaning, pretty much like Martha Stewart does, because my mom’s gardens are exquisite. I also want to maybe one day like gardening. And if it turns out I don’t, I want my mom to live right next door and I will pay her to make my gardens look as nice as hers.

I want to do nice things for my community like help organize events, or throw old-fashioned soirees, because I love an old-fashioned soiree, or be someone that my neighbors know they could rely on, because I love to help people. I also happen to think this is the best reflection of Christ’s love and if anyone I meet ever thinks more lovingly of God because of me, I will consider my time here a massive success.

And if I can somehow do all of this, I think I will have made it. And if I can do only some of this, but I have tried really hard, I’ll still think I’ve made it. I only say all this, because I do want it all deeply and therefore I never tire of saying it. Of dreaming it. And perhaps, with saying it enough, dreaming it enough, I can inch my way into manifesting this reality. It’s possible of course. We are living in a world where Donald Trump may become president—though I shudder to think—so the possibilities truly are there.

So here’s to champagne this weekend. I can’t afford all the things I want: champagne, and impromptu road trips, and ingredients to bake a lemon blueberry cake, and a horse, but I have opted to purchase for myself a cheap bottle of champagne to accompany my I Love Lucy marathon and cucumber face mask I forgot I owned. And then perhaps I’ll go star gazing in my backyard and feel unnaturally lucky anyway.



That time I was Blind


Tonight for New Years Eve, I decided on a salute to my days of youth where my mom prepared delicious homemade appetizers and we celebrated the good old fashioned way—at home. I picked out my recipes—from Pinterest, naturally—and was starting in on fried jalapeño poppers (because tomorrow is Jan. 1st and of course fried anything will be out) and after cutting 8 jalapeños and grilling them I felt my eyes and nose burning.
I washed my hands, then wiped my face with a wet paper towel. The heat spread, however and I began to feel like my entire face had eaten the raw jalapeños. I ran to the bathroom to wash and splash my face. My vision blurred and my face felt like it was incinerating in a fiery inferno. What’s happening, I panicked as I began to rip off my clothes while my eyes seized shut. I pawed at the bobby pins in my hair (it was the early stages yet and some rational part of my brain thought, well, since you’re getting undressed and all you may as well shower).
I stumbled into the tub, turned on the water and began to whip it into my face. That didn’t work, so I put my eye sockets directly under the blast. Still the fiery pain grew worse. I scrambled out of the tub and could slightly make out growing red blotches and flaming red around my now vibrant blue eyes. The heat was pulsating up now from my mouth, to underneath my eye sockets. It was like jalapeno juice had somehow imbedded itself into my skin.
I am going to go blind from trying to make a jalapeño popper recipe from Pinterest on New Years Eve I concluded. This is what is happening to me. And this is what I get for trying to be bloody Martha Stewart instead of just buying frozen jalapeno poppers. I ran to show DC my face, “It’s on fire!” I wailed and pointed. “The waters not helping!” He looked sympathetic but also slightly amused, not realizing his girlfriend was about to go blind. He told me to try putting milk on it as water was probably spreading the heat. Bingo!
I grabbed heavy whipping cream, as cream seemed even better than milk, ran back to the tub, and started pouring and slathering the cream on my face while I planned out my life as a blind person.
I thought I will still run my 5k tomorrow somehow because I will not be someone who lets a mere visual impairment hold me back. And I will still be a great writer even without Braille. I will just type out my thoughts and DC could painstakingly spell check and re-read my work to me as I had a conversation with him the other day that proved we have a Notebook sort of love. It went like this:

Me: Will you still love me when I’m old and senile and crazy?
DC: You’re crazy now and I love you.
Me: Okay, but what if I can’t remember who you are.
DC: You’ll remember me.
Me: And what if I bite and kick you?
DC: You do that now.
See. We’re ship-shape.
Oh, right, back to my going blind and taking a milk bath, but not in the sexy way, if you can indeed have a sexy milk bath. Trust me, mine was far from titillating. The milk seemed to stop the burn for a moment but left a very oily film on my face and when I would try to rinse it off, the burning came back and my eyes wouldn’t open. I decided to get that shower in and practice being blind. I felt my way to the soap and what I surmised was shampoo first, then conditioner. I felt so empowered. Gosh, I truly am going to have heightened senses and such a new way of viewing my life, sans sight, I thought as I located the whipping cream container and rubbed more into my face. I scrubbed my hands with soap dozens of times to be sure there was no residual jalapeno and then rinsed my face once more.
After toweling off and viscously scrubbing my face, I tested my eyes.
They opened!
I saw what seemed to be a hideous red rash spread across my entire face, but the burning was subsiding enough for me to function as a normal human being once more. Okay, so maybe I didn’t blind myself all the way with jalapenos—just enough to fully appreciate how much I indeed want to still be a runner and a writer. Well and eat quality appetizers, because after my scare, I found DC had finished frying up the poppers and they were quite tasty. Dare I say not tasty enough, Pinterest, to have a jalapeno hot flash and bathe in whipping cream, but they were tasty enough for a New Years Eve celebration worthy of my mother’s. Heck, even with a near-blinding, it’s still better than that New Years I had lice. Don’t judge me.Happy 2013 Folks and here’s to sight, 5k’s and of course, my favorite, the written word in 2014 and always!

Ugliness Attack


I have a real problemo with ugly. Ugly shoes make me scrunch up my mouth and nose in distaste. Ugly cars? I ask myself why? Why would you ride around in that, it’s clearly modeled after a hearse. Ugly dogs, no, I don’t want to pet you (but I will out of politeness), now go on, shoo shoo, you’re no husky and you and I are both sorry for that. Amendment—some dogs are so ugly they’e cute. That works for me. Ugly home decor. Oh my. Don’t even joke about that. In fact watch this commercial that perfectly sums up my thoughts on my low tolerance for ugly.

And this one for good measure because, it too, is hilarious and so true.

Before you go thinking I am vain and wretched, it is not so. Reference one of my earlier posts where I dressed like a long dead male poet, complete with moustache. I clearly am not Kate Winslet, nor do I pretend to be. I just have a real issue with aesthetics. I blame my mother.

She has really good taste and growing up had a way of taking anything—tree branches, a dresser she found on the side of the road, window panes— and turning them into pieces of beautiful art. Though our home was modest and our family size was abundant (12 of us in all) I have always felt Martha Stewart would tip her hat, or maybe her fashionable garden shears to our home— when it’s clean and ready for Thanksgiving or a graduation party that is.

Not only that, but I recently found out on a trip back home to Michigan to visit my family that I was having ugliness attacks even as a toddler. My boyfriend, mom, sister and I were driving home from Ann Arbor, after some thrifting and Zingermans sandwiches, yes and yes. My mom and I were regaling DC (my boyfriend) with car horror stories of yore while my sister laughed in the backseat.

The car horror stories came about because I casually mentioned to my family that DC didn’t know you could buy used tires. As in he literally hadn’t ever run into the problem of not being able to afford brand spanking new tires, should he need some. Ah, how the other half lives.

This is why I must tease him about being a Richie Rich. If you know anything about the movie Richie Rich, you will know that Macaulay Culkin had a lot of moola, enough to buy his own mountain if he wanted to. My boyfriend does not have that kind money. But he has always had enough where he did not know you could buy tires that have been pre-owned.

My family on the other hand grew up knowing how to stretch a dollar—because we had to—and the worth of a worn-out tire. Sure I have been warned on more than one occasion that my tires may blow out at any given moment, have no tread left and that I am actually a danger to myself and the road if I continue to drive with such shoddy tires. It’s quite shocking that all those years of crappy tires held out as long as they did, but I credit good mechanics with solid patching skills combined with reasonable used tire prices and the fine grace of God for why my car tires have never blown out to date.

So there we were, driving in DC’s posh car with Sirius radio, brakes that don’t grind, a steering wheel that doesn’t screech and a transmission smoothly doing whatever it is that transmissions do, while showing DC that our family is no stranger to used tires, in fact used tires were the least of our concerns when it came to cars.

My mom told a story of one car that was missing the ignition, or the ability to start the car normally with a key. You had to start the car with a screwdriver. I was very young and do not remember this car. My mom said one day we were getting ready to leave and she tried putting me in the car. I saw the interior, the faulty ignition and began to cry and refuse to get in.
I was having my first ugliness attack.

So see, it’s been ingrained in me even as a wee lass. It’s not my fault. I knew even at a very young age that I wanted to surround myself with pretty and I have strived for that ever since.

In all seriousness though, my version of pretty is probably very different from yours. Sure I cried over the car that had to be started with a screwdriver, but does that mean I covet Range Rovers? No. I want a 1986 Jeep Wagoneer. Are my flannels from Urban Outfitters? No, they’re my grandpa’s or they were purchased at Goodwill. And um, they’re flannels. Do I decorate with tree-branches and old books? Sure do. But these are all things that are beautiful to me. Old flannels, old cars, old soul. It’s just a matter of taste. To quote my favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally:

“Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste.”

Lucky for me, I not only have great taste but I am a hoot. I am just talking about the other people. The people who buy ugly dogs, shoes and cars. But alas, I suppose they too think they have good taste and a sense of humor. Alas, what can you do? Just know that if I walk into your doctor’s office and the paint is muted green, the chairs are a plastic magenta and I am suddenly shuddering, well I am having an ugliness attack and will question your credentials.