A Book, a Quote, and a Wish (One More for Women’s History Month)

I didn’t plan to write another post for Women’s History Month, but it seems the universe had other ideas, and here we are.

I’ve been working my way for the last few days through If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie.

(Cover image from Goodreads)

I’m not finished with it yet, so I can’t recommend it completely, but it is certainly making an impression. And there’s one quote from it, in particular, that I just can’t get out of my head:

We are wild creatures still, at heart, and if we listen to our hearts we will remember how to listen to the song of the fierce-beaked, wild-winged little wren who, hopping from tree to stump, shows us the way home. When we stop, when we let ourselves see, when the torn veil of this broken civilization lifts away from our eyes – we can find our way back home.

I’ve been thinking on this one for days – women as wild creatures, the unrelenting call of home, nature as a partner, and as something sacred, and the things, a million little things, that pull us as women away from ourselves.

The older I get, the more I notice. And the more I notice, the more determined I become to explore and discover my own magic, and to live in it and share it without shame or fear. And I suppose that’s my wish for all women, as we continue to make history – that we find our magic, that we let our magic shine, and that we leave a path for others to follow.

200 Followers! Thank you! (And last call for Q&A)

Just a quick post today. Over the weekend, I hit 200 followers. Thank you so much for reading! I’m so grateful and this is an awesome community to be part of. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading and for your support!

I’d shared some weeks ago that I’m planning to do a Q&A post soon, so I thought I’d make one last call for questions, since I do have some new readers (welcome and thank you!). So, if there’s a question you’d like to ask me, comment below! And in the next couple of weeks, I’ll post some As to your Qs. 😊

I wonder where we’d be?

On this day, two years ago, we’d made our way to Vík, Iceland.

A night later, we’d see the Northern Lights for the first time.

On this day, last year, we sat at home, wrapping our minds around quarantine and social distancing, with barely an inkling of just how much the world was about to change.

Today, I’ve spent the day plugging away on my laptop, and so has Graham. He’s outside now, trimming back a hazelnut bush in our front yard. In his pajamas. And I’m still on my laptop. Also in my pajamas. No itchy business casual attire for me, here in my house with only my cat to critique my lack of style.

I wonder where we would be right now if not for the pandemic. I’m sure I’m not alone. And I’m not impatient. Safety and health are never far from my mind, and I will wait this thing out in my house in my pajamas for as long as it takes. I’m grateful that we’ve not gotten sick, that our families are safe and healthy, that we have money coming in and a comfortable place to live and pretty much all of the creature comforts anyone could ask for. I am so grateful, in fact, that I sometimes feel overwhelmed and undeserving. How lucky we are. I never forget.

But I do sometimes find my mind wandering. To places we’ve been. To places we’ll go. Right now, I’ve mind-traveled to Japan, where I’m enjoying a big bowl of miso ramen with corn and butter on the island of Hokkaido.

One day, we’ll get there for real. For now, though, pajamas and home and the familiar clack of my laptop keyboard it is. And that’s okay.

International Women’s Day 2021

I suppose the poem I posted last week for Women’s History Month would have been perfect for today, International Women’s Day. And honestly, I don’t really have much to add.

But I’ll say this:

I am grateful for the brave, strong, smart, powerful women who’ve made this world a better place for me and all of the women who will come after me.

In my life, I am thankful to be surrounded by women who build me up, who support me, who laugh and cry with me, who make my every day just a little brighter.

I am proud of them, and so, so happy to live in their light, in their radiance, in their love.

If they never change THE world (and they’re brilliant, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they did), I want them to know that they’ve changed MY world.

My friends, you incredible women, know that I love you, always, always, always.

And to the women out there reading this:

You are strong, brave, smart, creative, powerful, capable, and worthy. You have the right to take up space. You deserve love, kindness, respect, and a seat at every table. You are enough. You are fundamental.  The world is more whole because you are in it. Speak, stand, create change, move mountains, shine. Make your dreams real. I am with you, for you, and forever cheering you on.

Q&A! What do you want to know?

At the end of last year, I wrote a post about my goals for 2021. I’m normally pretty shy about sharing goals, but I figured putting them out there would help to hold me accountable this year.

Which brings us to today. One of my goals for 2021 is to start a YouTube channel. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I don’t love seeing myself on camera, despite years of being completely and totally comfortable acting and singing on stage. But I do love the idea of sharing stories about old house living, days in the beautiful Virginia countryside, writing poems and stories, music and singing and songwriting, and eventually, when it’s safe again, some bigger travel adventures.

I’m planning to start putting together some content in the next several weeks, once it starts to warm up a bit outside. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to reach out to all of you, wonderful readers and fellow bloggers, and see what kind of content you’d be interested in.

Like, I know my everything about my very old house is fascinating to me, but what aspects of living in an older home would you like to explore? And though I love driving down dirt roads in the country and sampling craft wine, beer, and cider, what would you like to know about Virginia’s historic and scenic countryside?

And as part of the fun, to get started, I thought I might do a Q&A here, so you can all learn a little more about me. I’ve seen other bloggers do this, and I love it. 😊 So, ask away! What would you like to know?

I’ll plan to post some A’s to your Q’s in the next couple of weeks.

Gatsby the Gentle Giant

Since I’ve written a couple of posts now about Annie, my crazy, wonderful Australian Shepherd, it feels only fair that I should also feature my big, beautiful Maine Coon cat, Gatsby.

Gatsby is almost fifteen years old. I got him when I was a senior in college, and he was just a scruffy little kitten.

Boy did he grow.

I didn’t know when I adopted him that he was a Maine Coon. I just figured he had a little extra fluff, and really, don’t we all? But here we are, all these years later, and he’s grown into a gentle giant with a huge personality.

He has a knack for always finding the sunniest spots.

And the best angles to show off his handsome face.

He and Annie are…not friends…but we’ve managed. Gatsby makes it easy, honestly. His favorite thing to do is nap, so they don’t see much of each other.

At fifteen, I know he’s an old man, but I’m so happy I found him, and I cherish every moment with him. He really is a special animal.

Annie’s First Day Home (Bonus Post!)

Just a quick bonus post today, since I wrote about Annie yesterday and I’ve gotten so many sweet comments about her. When I was looking through pictures yesterday, I came across this one and just had to share.

This was taken the day we brought her home, almost eleven years ago. We look so young! And Graham is wearing a Bob Ross shirt. And I have bangs. And Annie’s eyes are closed, but she’s still cute as ever. Look at those little ears!

I remember this day vividly. Annie sat on my lap the whole way home – a four hour trip from North Carolina to Northern Virginia – and when we were about ten minutes away from our house, she vomited all over me. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

No, really. It was. I can’t imagine my life without my favorite furry weirdo.

Annie the Snow Dog

She loves the snow as much as I do.

Annie is an almost eleven-year-old Australian Shepherd. She’s been with us since she was just a little puppy.

Though I would not recommend an Aussie to an inexperienced dog owner, watching her experience the world is one of the great pleasures of my life. She’s smart, spunky, friendly, curious, quick to learn, and easily the most energetic of all of us. She loves Graham best, and she’s happiest when they go for walks on the path along the mill race.

It snowed Sunday morning, and while I sat by the fire with a cup of coffee and a book, Graham took Annie out for some playtime and a snow day stroll.

It snowed almost as much in six hours as it did over the course of two days last week, and it was just beautiful.

I’m glad Graham got some good pictures before it melted. Which it did, by Sunday evening. But as always, I enjoyed it while it was here to enjoy. And Annie did, too.

It looks like we’ve got more winter weather to look forward to this week, though there’s apparently a chance for some significant ice, so, we’ll see. I was worried, back in the beginning of December, that we’d see a winter with barely any snow. How lovely to be wrong.

Some Days Are Just Like That

It’s been sort of a strange day.

I stayed up way too late last night watching a meeting of my local Board of Supervisors, and woke up this morning feeling foggy and sleepy. No surprise.

I had some meetings and non-writing tasks to complete, and they went well. Always good, though they kept me quite busy.

I made way too ambitious a dinner for a Wednesday. It was tasty.

And I got some sad news, which is never fun, and which has me feeling pretty down.

And between all of it, I haven’t had much time to sit and write today. I don’t write every day, but I’m never super pleased when I feel like I can’t write, as opposed to just choosing not to. Anyone else feel that way?

Anyway, I’m just not quite myself today, I think. I don’t have any interesting thoughts or stories to share, and I’m tired. Some days are just that way, I guess.

On Friday, I’ll post some pictures of 2021’s first snow, but until then, enjoy this admittedly low-quality video of my dad, my uncle, and me playing one of our favorite songs at a little café in southwest Virginia. This is from a few years ago, but John Prine never goes out of style.

Expecting Ice

Well, here we are again, expecting winter weather – not just snow, also ice. Hopefully not as much as last time, but we’ll see.

We are supposed to get a couple of inches of snow, so I’m excited for that, at least.

I’ll be recording a podcast episode this afternoon, so I hope I get to watch it snow while I chat with my friend and we create something good. That would be nice. But again, we’ll see. (And if you want to listen to the podcast, here’s a link to it on Spotify: Better Friendships on Spotify.)

Anyway, here are a couple of things I wrote thinking about the incoming storm.

While lying in bed last night, unable to sleep, anxious about the weather:

We’re expecting ice again today.

Please just make it go away.

Not a winter wonderland,

not fun, like playing in the sand.

Just slick and heavy and dangerous.

I really hope it misses us.

And something a little more thoughtful, after my first cup of coffee:

A beautiful danger

makes slow and steady progress –

tree limbs press down and strain

against the weight of it,

as if the whole world could break.

This glistening villain,

freezing fingers and frigid breath,

holds a glinting blade behind its back

and betrays all who love the cold.

I love winter, but these ice storms are killing me. I’m still holding out hope that before the end of the season, we’ll see some snow. Fingers crossed!