Lucia has something to say

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Energy or Lack Thereof

I've been thinking a lot lately. About energy. And have a lot of questions. Is my energy level normal? How would I know? Is an outcome of working full time not having energy? Is it worth it? When I work full time, when do I put the laundry away, do yard work, walk the dog, do art, pay bills, knit? When am I not tired? I'm tired a lot.

I've had my thyroid tested. And made sure I'm taking the right vitamins and minerals. There's a what if living in the back of my head. What if I have something that's draining me? Is it possible to have chronic fatigue syndrome and still be on your feet? Would a drastic dietary change give me energy? (Would I have the energy to make a drastic dietary change?) Where is the line between normal tiredness and fatigue? And is there a magic bullet? Or a tree I can stand under and shake until the energy fruits come falling down?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

And She Said Yes

In a moment of synchronicity. I found her art. She sells on Etsy. Regalos Del Sol. I bought these 2 pieces immediately. And love them. I asked her to do a piece with the image of Carmen Miranda I use on my blog. She said yes. I told her I wanted to learn and adapt the technique. And she said yes.

Have you ever looked at the people around you. And thought. The stars must have fell from the sky. The stars. Must have fell. From the sky. If I look around. At my friends. There are the stars. Sparky can knit two pairs of socks a day. And make stunning jewelry from simple jump rings. Happy is a magnificent weaver. Sneezy writes mystery novels. Pooky is a sculptural knitter. I am blessed with wonderful and talented friends (who no doubt are happy that these names brewed up for blogland aren't their real names...except for Sparky...because, well, she's known as Sparky.)

I have enough living to do. For two lives. One in which I'd work and travel. And the other in which I'd make art. It makes me sad that I can't do both. Full time work. Can be difficult. In that it leaves little time and space. For starshine.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Somewhere Outside Boston

Lying on the floor at the zen center. On meditation mats. To my left, two women knit socks. One dark. One bright. Striped. Mismatched. Not meant to be worn together. Bare feet toward the center. On a smooth, cool wood floor. Scattered papers. We're liking the word. Catalyst. Lists of tasks swirling in colored markers on the walls. Coffee cups. A storm blows through. We're loving the word. Catalyst.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Still On the Road

In the continued spirit of travel Americana, I passed the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile on the road on my way to Chicago. What a pop culture icon! I knew it was going to be a great trip. I grew up in the burbs outside the city and taught school on the west side for a couple of years. I thought I had visited all the regular tourist sites, but I was wrong. My friend had three picks: lunch at the outdoor café at the Art Institute, a visit to Jane Addams’ Hull House, and an evening on Navy Pier. All good choices. And we were on the pier’s ferris wheel just as the Wednesday night fireworks started. And now, I’m off to Boston for a long weekend of meetings.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Roadside North America

What is it about North Americans that make us put fiberglass deer on our lawns? Or big cows in front of grocery stores? Or gigantic Paul Bunyans by the side of the road? What would make someone paint their pickup bright orange with "01" on the door ala General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard? What drives this quirkiness?

I stopped by one of my favorite roadside spots today--Fred Smith's Concrete Park in Phillips, Wisconsin. I'm a great lover of grassroots, outsider art. Fred Smith used a lot of concrete and beer bottles from his tavern, and left more than 200 figures planted in what is now a park. In typical outsider art fashion, the only reason he gave for doing this was "It's gotta be in ya to do it."

After a choppy ferry ride back to the mainland and a drive through Wisconsin, the camping equipment is packed up, and I've repacked to head to Chicago for an overnight with a friend who's having a birthday. I've been reading Honeymoon in Purdah, thanks to Heather's June 4 post which gives a great description of the book. Good reading!

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Same Path

This morning. Walking the same path. By the lake. In the sun. The landscape has changed. Yesterday's storm and high winds took big trees out of the ground. By their roots. Right across the path. It made for a lot of climbing. Our camper neighbors moved away. A white birch smashed through their tent yesterday. And landed right on top of their stuff. They weren't there. They left a sign on their pole that said, "A tree killed our tent."

I'm tucked into a big oversize green chair in the corner of the library among the mysteries. It's a funky place. It feels more like a bookstore. Bob Dylan on the wall side by side with old botanical prints. I can hear the librarians and locals talking about trees falling on electric lines and how long they haven't had power.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Madeline Island

Through the North Woods. Populated by pines tipped with new spring growth. Light accents on the boughs. A late afternoon garage sale stop. They've put up a sign. Everything free. I take a couple of shirts, a kitchen towel–things to use while camping. My prize is a small electric rock tumbler. I've always wanted one even though I don't know how to use it. A ferry to Madeline Island. One of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. I hang over the rail. Trying to see more.

A morning hike on Madeline. In the rain. I watch a single drip, drip, drip from the center of my cap's brim just beyond the tip of my nose. Lake Superior slaps the rocks to my right. I look down. The natural direction to look when walking in the rain is down. At the path. Pebbles. Puddles. Plants moving in the rain.

Peeling off my clothes for drier, warmer ones, I take shelter in the screenhouse. Before long, that too is cold and wet. I splash through the brown puddles to scribble a blog post on the page of a magazine in the car. And later sit outside the island's public library to connect to their wireless.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Running. Running. Rerunning. Too many tasks. Hang ripe on the vine. Needing to be picked or spoiled. The week ahead beckons. My world packed tight. With camping in the Apostle Islands. A friend’s birthday in Chicago. And a nonprofit board meeting in Boston, with friends who by their very presence nurture me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Day to Come Out and Play

There she was. Dance-at-outdoor-festival woman. (That’s how I think of her.) She’s always there. Dancing on her own. Madison is big on neighborhood festivals. I went to the Marquette Waterfront Festival today. In my neighborhood...almost. It’s not huge. But the neighborhood turns out. Picture lots of people who wish they’d been Deadheads. That’s them. My neighbors. They drink beer out of clear plastic cups. And dance. Women with tattoos. Men with graying braids. Caps. A guy in a skirt. The Jamaicans. Kids lay on blankets drawing while their parents come out to play. The veggie bratwurst are big sellers. Boats pull up and stay for the day. I see the butch woman who has a new girlfriend every summer. I look for a Grateful Dead shirt. I spot it. But then, when I look closer, it actually says, “Grateful Dad.” During the week they work for the state and the university, and as real estate agents and artists, moms and doctors. But on the weekends, they come out and play.

The Rousers, a, well, aging band, that’s learned how to pace themselves, take the stage. More dancing. They thank event sponsors which range from community radio to Grampa's Gun Shop to Mother Nature's Diaper Service. And there are beer sponsors. It is Wisconsin after all.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Kindergarten Teacher

I used to teach on the west side. Of Chicago. Garfield Park. Twenty-six five-year old souls in my hands. On a street where sometimes kids didn’t make it. From the school to the car. A street ruled by the Vice Lords. Where sometimes the front and back windows were shot out of all the car windows. Where sometimes old women in Sunday hats at the church next door shared cake over the fence with gang members. Where once on the way to parent teacher conferences, a full bucket of water was tossed through my car window, soaking my left side. Where if the Lords were sitting on my car at the end of the day, the elderly janitor and I would sit and chat. Until they left.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Edges of the World

I didn’t have a globe from Isak Dinesen, but I had my father’s National Geographics. And I too marveled at those nations that no longer exist: Tanganyika, Siam, the Belgian Congo, Ceylon. And I too dreamed of traveling to them all.

My subconscious must have drawn me to this book. Sprung from the shelf like a magnet to my hand. I do not watch CNN. And yet, here in this book is a kindred spirit.

I sometimes come back. And find I can’t speak the language either. Too many choices. Paper or plastic? Pouty models hawking lipstick. He captures it. Right there.

When I was a child, I measured my life by comparing everything to living under a horse cart in India. With no knowledge of India. Or horse carts. My childhood self would matter of factly say, “Is it worse than living under a horse cart in India?” And, no, it never ever was.

Steamy tarmacs. Orphanages. Transport in the back of pickups. Roadside trash. Why would I want to go? Poverty. Beggars. Why wouldn’t I want to go? Mattresses tossed on a concrete floor. The makeshift airport. Mosquito nets. The sack of mail in the next seat. Fruits and vegetables for sale along the road. I want. To stand on the edge of the hurricane. To leap the fence. “The farther you go, however, the harder it is to return. The world has many edges, and it’s very easy to fall off.”

Sunday, June 03, 2007


For many years I believed I’d be an international journalist. Reporting on wars. And famines. And refugees. And orphans. I was sure I had what it would take. I am sure I have what it would take. I love walking on the edge. When there’s an earthquake. Or tsunami. I want to go. And see. The pull is unmistakable and strong.

I am reading Anderson Cooper’s Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival. It feels familiar to me. My response is visceral. I haven’t been to Somalia or Bosnia or Iraq, but the airports are no different from those I frequent. Going to the genocide museum in Rwanda as he did on a vacation makes sense to me. I recently did the same thing on a day off.

There are snippets of this book that I’m mentally putting in my pockets. Worn, folded pages from my life. These are mine. They are his words, but pieces of myself. Experiences I’ve had. Things I’ve seen. And I want to keep them close to me.

Kudos to Just Posts

Kudos to the Just Post Roundtable participants who for the last six months have written posts to promote social justice.

If you’ve read my blog, you know I frequently travel to developing countries and my heart is with those in the world most in need. I’ve seen the face of AIDS in Africa. I’ve been through orphanages and know there are children living in households on their own.

This month, Jen’s Just Post on One Plus Two calls on us to give to Open Arms, which is in South Africa and “exists solely to allow children orphaned by AIDS to have the chance to grow up and thrive and become future leaders, mothers, fathers and inhabitants of their village, a village that is being ravaged by AIDS in a country being ravaged by AIDS.”

You can read most about Open Arms on their website and on Jen’s blog. I want to add my voice to Jen’s in saying let’s step up, and help this nonprofit out this month. It costs about $100 to raise each child per month, and they’ve currently got 11 kids. Please do what you can to support those kids.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Four Things

Tagged for a meme by the gorgeous Neen...

Four Jobs I’ve Had

1) Kindergarten teacher
2) School bus window washer
3) Museum educator and consultant
4) Drape pleater at a dry cleaner

Four Movies I Can Watch Over & Over

1) The Mission
2) Dirty Dancing
3) Spinal Tap
4) Any of the Harry Potter movies

Four Places I’ve Lived

1) Oakland, CA
2) Gettysburg, PA
3) Otavalo, Ecuador
4) Lawrence, KS

Four Places I’ve Vacationed

1) Tierra del Fuego
2) Alaska
3) Angkor Wat
4) Northern Utah

Four of My Favorite Dishes

1) Salsa and cottage cheese
2) Beans and rice
3) Artichoke and feta pizza
4) Cheese and onion enchiladas

Four Sites I Visit Daily

There are no sites I can say I visit every single day.

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

1) At a spa tailored for me, which hosted knitters and offered regular yoga classes, massages, and fabulous food.
2) In a hammock with a beer at the beach in Montañita, Ecuador.
3) At my friend’s house in California, with my feet up, knitting, watching the birds, and talking about life.
4) With my very dear friends from the WARP board (I know you’re lurking lovies.)