International Women’s Day 2023 (Thoughts, and Two Poems)

It’s International Women’s Day! Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling under the weather, so I haven’t done much to celebrate, and my brain feels too foggy to write something really good. So, I’ll just say this:

I’m thankful for the amazing women in my life, and the strong, brave women who came before us. I’m proud of the women who dream, and who love, and who go on when it feels impossible. We are heroes, rock stars, the glue that keeps this broken world together. If I had to choose a million times, I would still choose to be a woman, even when it’s hard and unfair. I carry the universe in me. All women do.

And I’ll share a couple of my favorite poems I’ve written in the past. I hope you enjoy them! And I hope that you tell the women in your life today – and yourself, if you’re a woman (yes, ALL women) – just how wonderful and unbreakable and valuable and worthy and loved they are.


To the Women Who Came Before

To you,
the women,
the warriors and weavers and
witches and wanderers,
the brave and bold
who came before,
I promise this:

My light will magnify your light.
I will shine because
you reached for the sky
and grabbed the sun and moon and stars
to fight the darkness.

Your words,
your courage,
your heart,
your home –
the one you made with your own hands –
will live on in me.

I will stand and speak.
My voice will carry as yours,
over the mountains you climbed,
across the sands of time
and the pillars and platforms you built.
I won’t make myself small
just to fit into the corners
of a world made and sustained
by mothers.

I cradle your wisdom in my soul
because you carved a place for it.
I will keep that place
sacred and whole.
I will nurture the fire you lit
and pass the eternal torch.



A story we’ve heard:
The first of us all
(to fall) –
help-meet and wife,
made and prized,
then punished,
removed and reviled.
The woman who
became a warning.

And history became
both judge and jury,
gave us no choice,
no voice.
The story became ours,
but it never belonged to us.
And before, and now,
down in our bones
we know it.

We know:
It is human to fall
and rise again,
to seek,
to learn,
to live in curiosity.
And so,
can we reclaim her,
weave her story anew
and see her,
this mother of mothers?

Blood of our blood –
can we finally love
(not blame)

The Year of Joy and Abundance

That’s what I want this year to be. Graham and I have dealt with a lot of loss and sadness in the last several months.

Just yesterday, we attended a memorial celebration for a good friend who died, suddenly and tragically, of CJD. It’s an incredibly rare disease – he would have had a better chance of winning the lottery – and it took him quickly. I still can’t believe he’s gone. I expect to see him, still, when I walk into his favorite bar, sitting there, beer in hand, ready to chat and just have a good time. The celebration of his life yesterday was wonderful, full of friends and food and music. He would have loved it. It felt odd that he wasn’t there. He was always up to celebrate.

I went to bed last night feeling grateful for my good health and for Graham’s. And for our life – our beautiful home, our crazy animals, our supportive families and our awesome friends. We have good things. I just want more.

This year, I want to gain, and not lose. I want to celebrate, and not mourn. I want to laugh without feeling bad about it, and smile with my whole face. Talking to some of our friends yesterday, they’re feeling the same. There’s just been so much loss over the last few years, for everyone, all over the world. And so this is what I wish for all of us:

A year of joy and abundance.

So if you’re out there, feeling like we do, know that I’m thinking of you. I’m pulling for you. I’m sending you positive thoughts and happy vibes and so much love. You deserve it.

I do, too.

February’s Short Story

It’ll be up tomorrow! It’s been a busy day choosing some finishing touches for our basement bathroom (which is still looking amazing and is so close to being done), and I feel like I need just a little more writing time. So, stop back by! This is going to be a fun one, I promise. 😊

And for now, enjoy this photo of a beautiful view from one of the local breweries here in my corner little of Virginia. We spent some time in the countryside yesterday and it was just lovely. If it’s going to be spring in winter, might as well enjoy it, right?

On Time, Change, and a Maine Coon Cat

Graham took this picture of Merlin today:

Sometimes it hits me just how big he’s gotten.

I hardly ever find myself wishing that I could stop time. I generally like thinking of the future. I find it exciting, all those possibilities and knowing that if I’m going through a rough patch, it’s only for right now. And that applies to good times, too. Everything is only a moment, and while sometimes that’s hard, I generally view it as a net positive. Being stuck, even in a happy time, would just be boring.

And then, I look at this little kitten that just won’t stop growing and I can’t help but think, “Slow down!”

I don’t have children, so this is as close as I get, I think, to what parents feel watching their little ones change every day. Merlin is a new cat almost every hour. He finds new places to explore and to nap, he likes something and then he doesn’t, he wants all the attention and then to be all by himself. The only constant so far is that he desperately wants to be Annie’s friend. She’s not interested. He’s not giving up.

He’s almost six months old, and I wonder what he’ll look like, what he’ll be like, in another six months. And then in the year after that, and after that. It’s exciting, as it always is for me, to think of the future. But it’s also a little sad, because he won’t be this new baby forever. He’ll grow and change and he won’t be the same. And eventually, hopefully a long, long time from now, and just like Gatsby, who is still so very loved, he’ll die. But he’ll always be Merlin.

(Feel free to laugh as I talk about my pet like a human. I’ve long ago accepted my impending future as a crazy cat lady.)

And then I remember that that’s true for me, too. And for Graham. And for all of us. It’s easy to get caught up, even knowing that everything is really, truly, temporary, in hard times and unhappy feelings, in being down on yourself or feeling stuck in a rut. For many of us, I think the world we live in tends to demand that we occupy a certain spot, like that’s where we’re most useful. But we’re all new, every day. The greatest thing about being human is that we are free to change and to grow as much as we want to, for all the days that we’re alive. And we’ll still be us, even as we learn lessons and try new things and make mistakes.

It’s wonderful, isn’t it?

But it’s also stressful and scary. And absolutely unavoidable. Life happens.

The best we can do is live.


Okay, I knew I said the next update on our basement bathroom renovation would be to share the completed project, but we’re waiting on a few extra materials, so I thought I’d post where we are now. And, y’all, I love it.

I am SO, SO happy with the pink tile, and it’s beautiful. It’s hard to capture it well in pictures, and I think it’ll definitely look even better in context of everything else. But I have absolutely no regrets going with something a little more…colorful. If you look closely, you can also see a little bit of the black and white floor tile, and they’re going to look so good together.

We’ve also decided to change up the floor in the basement. I’ve always hated the blue and purple tile. You can see a little bit of that here:

And here’s how it looks today:

So much better, right? I can’t wait to see the whole floor done. And, you know, the bathroom too.

And then, onward! But for now, let’s celebrate the small stuff. 😊

Fridays with Merlin

Y’all, it’s been a week, and I’m so glad it’s Friday. I had in mind to write an essay today to start a new series of posts that I’m super excited about, but I’m honestly too tired. I’m sure you know the feeling.

Next week, I hope, will be a little better, and hopefully I’ll get a bit more done. For now, enjoy this adorable picture of Merlin – growing and growing – being snuggly.

He likes to play just as often as he likes to cuddle, if not more. But I treasure these moments, when he wants attention and purrs and we can just take a minute to slow down.

Back next week with hopefully some better writing. In the meantime, I’m wishing all of you (and me) a fabulous weekend, and ideally, a restful one as well.

Progress! (Or, I Am So Tired of Tile.)

It’s looking like an actual room again!

We’re coming into the home stretch on the basement bathroom, and it’s just looking really good, if I do say so myself. We’ve spent countless hours at this point choosing tile – tile for the floor, tile for the shower – and if I never have to think about tile again, I’ll be a happy woman. (Note that this is not possible as we will also be renovating our kitchen and master bathroom…)

Now, we’re on to choosing a vanity countertop and mirrors, with fixtures to be installed shortly. I’m thinking maybe a marble look for the countertop? I think that would go nicely with the black and white floor and the (yes, we went for it) pink tiles in the shower. I really wanted gold fixtures for the sink and shower, but alas, they are SO MUCH MORE expensive than chrome or nickel. Choices, choices. No matter what we do, I know it will look and function better than it did before. And I also realized earlier this week that I have no “before” pictures of this bathroom. You’ll just have to trust me that it was…less than perfect. (Read: It felt an awful lot like a dark, damp, small hole in the wall with just the bare basics. I hated it. I was embarrassed when people had to use it.)

Anyway! See, progress.

This whole process has been by turns exciting and stressful, but I’m ultimately just really excited to see it done. And I feel really lucky and grateful that we’ve been able to do it at all. Next time I post, it’ll be of the completed project! And then, onward to the next!

A Sort of, Not Quite Snow Day

Well, we finally got some snow last week. Unfortunately, I think we can file this one under “Close, but no cigar.”

Way less than an inch, and it all melted by about 10:30 in the morning. But hey, we’ve officially broken our snow drought! Maybe this is a sign of more to come before the end of winter. We shall see.

In the meantime, it’s all writing and Merlin and trying to get the basement bathroom done around here. How do you feel about pink shower tiles? Because that’s what I’ve chosen, and I think it’s going to look fantastic.

Can you tell it’s that kind of Monday? You know, the kind where you just can’t seem to get on top of things and your list keeps growing because you’ve forgotten stuff, and so you can’t focus on anything for more than a few seconds? Yeah, it’s that around here right now, too.

Anyway, here’s hoping it’s a good week for all of us!

Found Friday #45: The Mystery Pipe

Work on the house continues! After finishing up (mostly) on the exterior, we’ve moved inside, and started in the basement. Our workers have relocated our washer and dryer up to our main level, which clears space for us to expand our basement bathroom.

We’ve wanted to do this for a while, as it’s our main guest bathroom and it was just really shabby and dark. And, well, they do say things look worse before they look better.

I’m not worried about that. What I am mildly concerned about is the mystery pipe they uncovered when they took down one of the walls.

We have no idea why it’s there. And it definitely means some extra work. Figuring out what it’s doing, and then figuring out if it’s needed, and then, if it’s needed, finding a better place for it, if that’s even possible.

We knew the plumbing in this house was…let’s just say, confusing. I’ve written about it before. So, we’re not surprised, and we know our crew can handle this little wrinkle. These things happen, and I’m confident that when all is said and done, we’ll have a lovely guest bathroom that I’m no longer embarrassed for our guests to actually use. (And yes, of course I’ll post pictures. 😊)

So, onward!

Meet Merlin!

He’s new here.

No cat could ever, ever replace my sweet Gatsby, and I know I’ll always have a Gatsby-shaped hole in my heart. But we’re so happy and excited to bring Merlin into our little family, and I know that there is always space in the heart for more love.

He’s about four months old, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be a big kitty. He’s silly, playful, affectionate, curious, and obsessed with feathers. He’s settling in well, and Annie has been…well, not friendly, but tolerant. I think they’ll get along fine. Eventually.

I’m just so grateful that we get to be his humans. Welcome home, Magic Cat.