We've been packing up our possessions. By "we've," I mean mostly Jake. Today I went through my clothes to separate the clothes I don't want anymore from the ones I do - which is a difficult task when my body is still out of kilter. But I succeeded. I also took all of my maternity clothes out to put back in their tub for another rest.

My maternity clothes share the tub with all of the things I decided to keep from my college courses. Going through the extended version of that collection before we moved to Chicago was quite the task. I wanted to keep it all. But alas, I kept a stack a little over a foot tall, and part of that is a huge binder that houses my teaching portfolio. The portfolio was a huge deal in my education classes. It was supposed to be a really important item that I used in interviewing and getting a job. I haven't pulled it out once since I graduated, but since it was ingrained to be of infinite worth, I keep it.

Toward the top of my pile was a poem I wrote in what ended up being my favorite course. I took it my very last semester (Spring 2007), and had to have special permission to be in it while I was student teaching. It was at the perfect time: 4-5:15 MW. I needed that class. I miscarried my first pregnancy the week before it started. It was called Literature and Spirituality, and I was in terrible pain during our first meeting. After class, I went to the bathroom and passed a blood clot somewhere between the size of a golf and baseball.

Our assignment for the poem: Write a poem that describes your spirituality. On the back of the poem I turned in, I wrote: "Can I apologize for this poem? Of course I can... My spirituality in a poem... I don't think I had enough time. I don't know that I know enough to bring it down to a few lines rather than an epic. This poem is my eclectic spiritual self. ;)"

When my professor gave it back, it had a sweet note, along with the letter grade. I still appreciate her thoughts. I thought I'd share the poem here, as I've been pondering how different this poem might be if I were asked to write it today.


I sat listening to Burgundy Shoes
And thought the simple melody
Before the words come
Might be the right theme for my life

I opened a letter from my father
A picture of my great grandfather fell out
He had the largest cockfighting circuit in the nation
I cry at the thought of anything dying
I'm afraid of spiders
But I save them

My waist was 23 inches in high school
Now it's 24, having come down from 26
It can be 23 if I pull the tape tight
But somehow that's cheating
I don't run 5 miles a day anymore

I have everything
and something is always missing
I am fulfilled and never content
I am interested and bored out of my mind

I am floating on my back in the Pacific Ocean
Thinking of nothing
Except for sharks pulling me under
I'm suspended

I wake up

There's no ocean
or mountains
Long flat streets with no sidewalks
Bradford Pear Trees blooming
Accents I don't understand

And I love it
But it's still not mine

A Temporary Farewell

Dear Chocolate,

My baby's tummy doesn't really like it when I eat you. I feign to think of life without you, but for now it's the right thing. I was sleeping in a chair so she could be upright. And she had to be upright so she wouldn't spit up 4 to 5 times after each feeding. Don't worry, we'll catch up again some day. And in vast quantities. Until then, my friend, I bid you adieu.


A Place to Hang our Hats

We have scoured craigslist for months. We've searched Daily Oklahoman classifieds. We've followed leads of friends. We've found places that we love, offered to pay double rent to secure our spot until we can move. And we still don't have a place to live in Oklahoma City.

The catch(es): 1. We're "out of town." 2. We have kids.

I wish they could know that we're really out of town in Chicago and just trying to get back home. AND having children does not make people bad tenants. (I even understand apprehensions - I've heard horror stories of how children have destroyed rentals...but we have awesome kids.) We run into the same problem each and every time.

We just got an email of our latest fall-through. It was a cute duplex just a block away from Edgemere Park. Did I mention first floor, and a garage? I have never been a mother on the the first floor. Imagine carrying your groceries the length of a football field, through four doors, three of which must be unlocked, plus going up a flight of stairs - with off-spring in tow. Granted the garage was detached, but a designated spot off of the street. I believe this last one tried harder than the rest, but in the end, the result was the same.

I'm about ready to give up our dream neighborhood. There's one more duplex that is also a block away from Edgemere Park. It's supposed to be available August 1. That property owner told us about it last month, but he's horribly slow at replying to email so we're still waiting to hear. That's another thing, they rarely say no right off, so you spend several days, even up to a week remaining hopeful. Why is our old neighborhood so special?

It's perfect.

Biking distance to OCU for Jake (no second car - which we can't afford right now anyway), biking distance to grocery stores and fun things to do. Beautiful old homes that I spend hours dreaming about who has lived in them, the changes they've seen, how they've watched the trees grow. And most of all: the series of parks: Sparrow, Edgemere, Crown Heights, Douglas. I love it there.

So. We have our moving truck reserved. The date of our move is set. We just need a place to drive up to, unload our lives in and get to work living them again in Oklahoma City.

Pray, send good vibes, do ceremonial dances. Do whatever you can think of to help send some lightning inspiration to one of these property owners that Jake and BrieAnn are potentially the most phenomenal tenants they'll ever have.

Off to my motherly duty of feeding Magnolia. She's 26 days old today. Can you believe it?


Jake loves A Prairie Home Companion.

On any given Saturday evening, he would be content in front of the radio for two hours listening to Garrison Keillor and tales from Lake Wobegon. We were able to go a live performance of A Prairie Home Companion this past weekend. Dream come true. Yes.

The performance was part of the Ravinia Festival. We went with our friends, Matt and Lisa, and it was really a night I'll never forget. Sure, Garrison was great, but the atmosphere screamed summer. Summer in all of it's glory. The perfect evening one reads about in books, and hears about in days gone by.

We entered the gate and were greeted by other Ravinia-goers spread out on an expansive lawn with tables and chairs and blankets set up. Picnics all around. And the smell of wine. We found our spot under a tree, spread our blankets and began sharing good food. The show began. We laughed, exchanged glances, felt the truth in the music of John Prine. The show ended, but the evening did not.

We read passages from Dandelion Wine, bits of James Agee, and took part in meaningful conversation. I thought about and mentioned how long it had been since I'd seen the moon. After a while, the double in double feature began. It was a piano concert filtered through speakers out to us. Everyone was quiet. Cora wanted to dance. Lisa, a dancer herself, danced with her, for a long time. It was beautiful to watch. We walked down the dirt road along the train tracks back to the bus that took us to our cars that would take us home. We saw a few fireworks going off in distant places in Chicago.We stepped onto our street, the smell of wine still lingering in the air.

I will miss Matt and Lisa. A lot. They're some of our all-time favorite friends.


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