Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On the road again

All things must end...

...the evening clouds disappear into the veil of night...

...the most perfect dinner is consumed...

...your favorite tile gets old and must be ripped out...violently...

...and the gardens in such brilliant bloom this season, will go quiet in the season to come...

...and I have to leave Kansas City, where I think, no matter how many other cool places I go to and live in on Earth, my heart will always be.

But I'm one of the lucky people who has good stuff waiting for me at both the arrival and departure gates of airports, and so tomorrow I get to see cute husband for the first time in 3 weeks!!!!!!

Often all that's left of a time is a darkening sky, and a happy memory or two.

And the sad but beautiful part is, you've got to just make due with that.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Groovin + grammarin

This weekend I was trolling the Internets and ran across this song at npr.org.  I know chances are slim you will click on this link--after all, clicking on the hyperlinks in a blog post indicates a certain, shall we say, lack of a life.  I know this because I click on hyperlinks.  So that fully admitted, I would like to try and get you to click on the link because I believe it will really make you happy to hear this song.  It's called "My Feet Can't Fail Me Now," and if it doesn't put a smile on your face and a little bounce in your foot, then frankly you need medical attention.

It's a brass band jam from a New Orleans outfit called the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.  I loved this quote from the article that preceded the music samples:

William Claiborne, the first American governor of the Louisiana territory, believed New Orleans was ungovernable due to the citizenry's preoccupation with dancing.
Holy moly, what a wonderful world it would be if that was our problem in the usa today.  If everyone just sort of took to the streets and danced.  Great music would be playing all the time, and our spirits would all be a little lighter.  I know it's Monday and I'm a little groggy, but I don't think this idea sounds that crazy.  The only time I dance nowadays is at weddings, and when I crash into my bed afterward, I always say to myself, "We really gotta do that more often."  But then we just go another year until the next wedding.   Occasionally, I'll wiggle a little when a good song comes on my ipod and there's no one else around, but that's not enough!

So, humor me?

Now, humor me again.  I have something I need to say as a writer, a reader, an almost-teacher, a language-lover, and an avid sentence-diagram-er.  It's directed at the whole world--again, I delude myself into thinking this blog has wide readership.  So here it is, take it to heart, paint it on your wall, tattoo it on your tush:

The period goes inside the quotation marks. 

And you can quote me on that.  "The period goes inside the quotation marks."

So does the comma in the middle of the sentence: We tell Elaine that we are "heartbroken," but alas, to us, Franklin was just a goldfish.

Now, apparently the British do it differently, but we are not British.  (If you happen to be British and reading this, please by all means do it your way, we'll agree to disagree.)

I fear that you will take me for a stuck-up grammarian.  I am not at all that way.  I enjoy a well-thought out sentence, and people who can speak clearly and eloquently off-the-cuff always impress me, but in truth I believe that, given time, anything can become grammatical.  That is to say, if we make it part of our vernacular, then it becomes correct and we must accept it.  Saying "ain't" ain't pretty, but we know what someone means when they say it, so it's grammatical--it makes sense.  Language constantly mutates and builds upon itself, and it's crazy not to adapt along with it; it's how we all came to say, "cool" to everything.  But for the love of Pete, World, you gotta keep those periods and commas contained.  They look goofy and desperate hanging out like that!  They are like prostitutes out on the sidewalk that must be hastily ushered inside, so that no one gets offended, or, worse, the wrong idea.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Merry weekend to all

It's been raining here for three days, which I kind of enjoy.  Gives me an excuse to spend my whole day with a book and not come across as nerdy or lazy.

But these trees are everywhere, and the rains seem only to strengthen them.

Springtime sure does make you wonder about the universe, doesn't it?  So elegant, so well-planned.

See you next week, you wonderful people.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Can't get no satisfaction

Don't know if you know this, but I really love Shakespeare.  I don't always understand him.  In truth, I got through many of his plays reading these alongside the original plays, which reside inside my giant red THE COMPLETE SHAKESPEARE book, spelled out in big, obnoxious, you-are-not-smart-enough-to-understand-this block letters just like that.  For awhile, I really loved King Lear--it's kind of messy and extremely melodramatic, and one of my favorite contemporary novels, A Thousand Acres, is a modern retelling of it (keep this in mind for later: A Thousand Acres won the Pulitzer Prize).  But in years past I've come to love Romeo & Juliet the very best.  Part of it is because in addition to reading it in high school, college, and graduate school, I also taught it three different times while I did my student teaching.  So it's the one that I understand the most fully, and the one that I've done the most reading about.  And beyond all that it just makes me swoon.

But this post isn't really about R&J or the Immortal Bard.

Remember the scene in the play when Romeo is outside Juliet's window the first night they meet, and he's shouting up to her where she stands on the balcony?
 He says, "Wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?" 
And Juliet responds, "What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?" 
And Romeo says, "The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine."
Well this little exchange came to my mind today as I was reading a New York Times article about the author of the newest Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel, called Tinkers.  I haven't read the book yet (and I have absolutely no doubt that it may be quite good), but this post isn't even specifically about that book either.  In the article, there was this quote from the author, Paul Harding, on getting rejection letters when he first sent out Tinkers:
"They would lecture me about the pace of life today," Mr. Harding said last week over lunch at a diner in this college town, where he is now teaching at the workshop. "It was, ‘Where are the car chases?’ ” he said, recalling the gist of the letters. “ ‘Nobody wants to read a slow, contemplative, meditative, quiet book."
Then, one of his writing professors and a Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist herself, Marilynne Robinson, gave this quote:
“One of the problems I have is making my students believe that they can write something that satisfies their definition of good, and they don’t have to calculate the market,” Ms. Robinson said. “Now that I have the Paul anecdote, they will believe me more.”
So here are a few thoughts on this, because it's been bothering me all day...

I love a quiet book.  Three of my favorite books that are also quiet books:

The Folded World by Amity Gage
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Evening by Susan Minot

And it's true, like Marilynne Robinson says, there are so many writers out there who read things just to see what their own stories should be like.  They want to know what sells and then they want to duplicate it so that they too can be published.  I went through a phase where I was doing this...

But when we talk about books being marketable, and we talk, figuratively, about the "car crashes" in books, I think what we're really talking about is satisfying our reader.  Not boring them.  Not making them feel dumb.  Not giving them characters that do randomly odd stuff that does nothing to illuminate life or the way we live.  We're talking about giving readers a good story.  Something that is not work (work in the ugly sense of the word, it's okay if it's in the good sense) and keeps them turning the pages late into the night, not caring that they have a busy day tomorrow, or forgetting, as they sit riveted in an airport terminal, that they are there to get on a plane.

To me it's false to suggest that books that are page-turners and books that are meditative are meant for two different types of readers.  As though those of us who spent good money on English degrees don't appreciate a good story, and those who were smart and got applicable college degrees, or no degrees at all, are not capable of sitting quietly and appreciating something quiet.

Right now, I'm reading a Luanne Rice novel!  I'm loving it!

And Luanne Rice, though she'd never pass muster in a writer's workshop, seems to be VERY concerned that I am enjoying her book.  She seems like she'd be hurt if I stopped turning the pages, because on every page there's something that makes me want to keep reading.  She doesn't think it's about her, but about us, writer and reader together, exchanging a faithful vow of love.

Write me something that transports me--whether by thrill or meditation--and I shall sit dutifully enthralled.  Think of all the twists and turns in Romeo & Juliet: Romeo is depressed, Romeo meets Juliet (their families hate each other), Juliet and Romeo fall in love, Romeo kills Juliet's cousin, Romeo is banished, Juliet seeks out a magic potion to seem dead, Romeo believes that she is dead, Romeo kills himself, Juliet kills herself!!!!

A good writer, like a good lover, cares about the other person.

Where do you go when the world's got you down?

In between worries for summer plans (cute husband's and mine), and the fact that my parents are stranded in Europe due to volcanic ash, not to mention other various and sundry concerns that define my anxiety-ridden way of life, I have been escaping in my mind to a little beachfront cottage with a white deck that looks out over the water, with no one else in sight so I can hear the soothing sounds of the waves.  (I really don't think there's ANY sound more relaxing--if I could live and sleep each night by the ocean I think my night owl lifestyle would be cured.)  In my daydream I'm alternating margaritas (my new recipe: tequila, lime juice, and a floater of Grand Marnier) with Louis Jadot Chardonnay.  Cute husband sits on the ledge and plays his guitar.  In the mornings I walk for miles along the beach and by afternoon get brave enough to go far out into the water, wading for hours and feeling the sunlight on the top of my head.  When I get home as the day begins to fade, I step into the front hallway of the white cottage, the floor covered in sand, and this poem painted on the wall to remind me of what's important.

Whenever I had trouble sleeping as a kid, my mom would tell me to just go somewhere nice in my mind, somewhere I'd love to be, and imagine all the things I might do in that place.  To this day, I still do it, and it really works!  I think it has an effect on my writing too, as it helps me create scenarios in my mind and forces me to take the time to really flesh out all the details that help bring a scene to life.

So if you've got troubles, if you've got worries, meet me here, in the little cottage with a white deck...

...of course you can't see the cottage in this photo because it's invisible to the naked eye.  It appears quite clearly after two margaritas.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The runaway train

Today I've been thinking about getting older.  I know some of my readers will groan here...just a second, let's let them groan...because they might find it a bit, shall we say, naive, for me to be talking about getting old when I am but a rip-snorting twenty-seven.  I know I've written here before about how twenty-seven feels old because all of the items on my "To Do By 27" list have not quite been checked off yet, but that's not really what I'm talking about today.

Today I'm thinking about how pleasant it can be to get older, how there is a certain wisdom involved in admitting that time is passing, and that you are moving along with it.  Being home, it has been nice to drive by old places and remember them when they looked new.  I feel a certain pride as I walk through my neighborhood admiring the tallness of the trees and the thickness of their roots, because I was here when the trees were tiny, when the trees had just been planted.  We used to have to be extra careful to close our blinds at night, but now it's not such a big deal, because the trees are big enough to obstruct the view.  It's funny to remember my parents commiserating with my friends' parents, "Can you believe how small the trees are?  They're practically bushes.  It's going to take forever for them to look normal."  But forever turned out to be the duration of our childhoods; none of us can believe how fast forever went.

I like to remember the block parties we used to have down the street, and how we are one of only a few families that remain here from those older days.  My parents tell me there are no more block parties, and that makes the memory even sweeter.  My vision of it is like a cloud that clears in the center to reveal a muggy July night and the dads in shorts and the moms running back and forth to their houses to grab more food, and the kids in bathing suits waiting on the curb for the fire department to arrive (they used to come and spray us).  And best of all the falling night, as people start to trickle home, but a few stay, drinking beers, swatting mosquitoes, laughing and talking and telling the kids to stay close, it's getting dark.  It's hard to believe now, but that was the best night of the whole summer: we all started looking forward to it the day school got out in May, and for the end of July and August we were sad that it was over, and said how it had been the best one yet.

The passage of time is undoubtedly scary--I think Ben Folds' analogy of life barreling on like a runaway train is quite apt.  But I can't help but feel glad for the things that I have to remember, I can't help but feel that they make my heart bigger and make going into my own mind even more fun than it used to be, when I was younger, and I used to just think about the things that were to come.  I miss so many things, I regret not savoring certain moments more, but how nice to have them stored along the little shelves of my mind.  How nice to know they are there.

Friday, April 16, 2010


The coffee still tastes good out of a chipped cup...  If not better, because a chip means age, and maybe a nasty run-in with the kitchen sink, and good things come with time and experience.

My mission for the weekend is to accept the little chips of life as elements that add character.  Hope you'll do the same.

I also need to get reading...

 { my bedside table }

This always happens when I come home.  It's actually a 3-tiered problem, as follows.  (1) I am incapable of bringing just one or two books with me when I travel, I bring 6-7 because I never know what kind of mood I'll be in (needless to say I never finish all the books I bring), (2) I end up going through my old books I store here and finding a stack that I want to bring back with me, (3) I can't go a week without a stop in at the bookstore, especially when I'm home and our Barnes & Noble is oh so well stocked, so I end up buying a couple.  That I'm a nut goes without saying.

Happy weekend my friends.  Thanks for reading this week, it really means a lot to me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Driving back from my shooting on Monday, where I mostly took photos of the springtime color and the flowing water in Brush Creek, I noticed that at the other end of the creek things were less pristine.  The trees were old and spindly instead of colorful and the water seemed to flow more slowly, and with less sun glinting off its surface.  I'm new to photography, but one of the things that I enjoy most about it is the way you can find beauty even in the ugly stuff--a landscape can be striking on camera whether it's lit by sun and marked by plenty or defined by its darkness and shadow.  To me, this is perhaps the greatest similarity between the two disparate arts of writing and photography--there is always the work of trying to make beauty, no matter what you attempt to convey.  My father--a photography-lover himself--told me that there is what you see and what your camera sees, and the art lies in making the camera see what you see.  The sentiment helps me when I'm trying to capture scenes I find beautiful--I ask myself, what is it that's striking me?  I think it's also a powerful question to ask myself when I sit down to write.  That is to say, how do I make my readers see what I want them to--what I believe they must see?

And, so, do I even need to say it?  April is the cruelest month...

...breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
--T.S. Eliot

Another day, another dime

Since life here in the Midwest is always fairly quiet (unless we have a tornado or a flood), I've had time to take a few more pictures for your enjoyment.  This post marks a few of my favorite Kansas City spots, and the next one will be a bit more dark and macabre, as I got down close to the creek like I'd hoped and took a few of all those stones and dark flowing water.

One of the BEST places in Kansas City is The Dime Store in Brookside.  We used to go here on Saturdays when I was a wee one, and often I was allowed to pick out a toy.  The best part about the Dime Store: the creaky, slanted wood floors.  I'd joyfully hop from floorboard to floorboard just to hear the creaks.  And though the Dime Store has undergone some rennovation and is under new ownership, the floors live on!
Inside are various and sundry treasures you might never see anywhere else...
Even after all these years, they still have a respectable jokes and gags section.
And then, two wonderful local bookstores, and you know how I feel about local bookstores...
The first was Rainy Day Books in Fairway, KS...

(You have to respect stacks of Judy Blume books.)

And the second is just for kids...
...Reading Reptile in Brookside!

Before heading home, a stop at Topsy's.  A place that will change your views on popcorn forever.
Kansas Citians give one another these huge tins of popcorn as holiday gifts.  I bet there will be a museum for them one day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reading to the little people

As some of you know I wanted to be an English teacher in a former life, so as you can imagine, I'm passionate about reading to kids.  I'm the person at a baby shower who just gives a stack of books and everyone groans...  It's recommended that kids have at least 1000 books read to them by the time they enter Kindergarten--it could be the same book 1000 times, but reading to them obsessively--before bed, while you wait for the car to be fixed, or for the pediatrician to come into the exam room--is the single most important thing you can do to stimulate their developing minds.  One of my professors in my education program said that the night you get home from the hospital, put the baby in the crib, and then get out a book and start reading.  It's never too soon!  I recommend going book-shopping with an elementary school teacher--my mother-in-law can tell within seconds of flipping through a picture book whether or not it's good or bad (it's actually quite amazing to watch her).

SO, now that I've climbed down off my soapbox, I wanted to share with you this list, compiled by the wonderful and amazing Tattered Cover Bookstore of Denver (this famous local bookstore is one I've actually been to!) of literary websites just for kids.  Since everything is increasingly web-based, I thought this might be a good tool for both my teacher readers and readers who know little people.  That is to say, I'm hoping you'll pass this along.  I found the link via a book blog called Blog of a Bookslut, which is a wonderful literary website--they always have reviews and suggestions about books I'd otherwise never hear about.

My personal motto is, when all else fails, read.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Let me introduce you to a gem...

...found right smack dab in the middle of the country.  A little place I call home.  A little place called...Kansas City, MO.

Thinking about my 5-6 daily readers, I know that most of you have already been to Kansas City.  Some for our wedding, others, well, are from here too.  But I've decided to do a little post about it anyway, just in case there's someone out there who happens to be both reading my blog and under appreciating Kansas City.

Perhaps it's because this is where I grew up, and if all goes well and your childhood is nice, you always have happy memories of the place you spent your youth.  Others see buildings and parks--you see the doctor's office where you got your braces off, and the park where your father taught you to ride your bicycle.  But having said that, I really do believe--as do most people who live here--that Kansas City is a hidden gem.  It's easy to get around, there's very little traffic for such a large metropolitan area, the people are unusually friendly, and for a place that most of the country considers a hick town, there's a lot of culture here: museums, jazz clubs (and a rich jazz history), an art institute, divey bars, and delicious restaurants.

This morning I sipped coffee out of my old chipped heart mug--my parents bought this for me one Saturday when I was about eight or nine at Pryde's Old Westport, the best kitchen store on Earth.

{ Have I mentioned to you my new favorite breakfast: yogurt, granola, and a spoonful of jam--quite good. }

Then I went down to the Plaza for some shooting, and here's what I found...

{ Goodness gracious I love tulips.  These have such vibrant color that they came out looking psychedelic on my camera. }

{ In the parking garage, I spied a birdie--I was worried that she was hurt, but I think she was just getting out of the sun for a bit. }

 { Then I walked over to Brush Creek and took photos from the footbridge.  The footbridge is in honor of our sister cities, many of which were very exotic! }

{ And though the Spring is magnificent in all its splendor, I still think the remnants are pretty and poignant. }

{ After my shoot walk, I headed home to blog and on the way picked up a sandwich from the best sub shop on Earth--Mr. Goodcents!  $4.69 for a sammy! }

Just a few things I love about this place.  I think if I ever do write a novel, I will set it here in my homeland.  There may be more photos to come, tomorrow I'm planning on venturing down closer to the creek where I can get some more dramatic (think wasteland) shots.

This is one of my favorite...

...literary passages of all time.  It's from Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections.   I read this book while I was in college (while I should have been focusing on assigned reading), and because I was in the literary hotbed of Boston, MA, I attended a free Jonathan Franzen reading in an auditorium at the Boston Public Library.  Sadly, I don't remember much from the reading, I just remember laughing a lot and feeling really cool that I was at a reading, in Boston.  (Side note, and something I may blog about later: lately, my lack of cohesive memories has really been bothering me--I stare up at my bookshelf sometimes, at books I list as some of my favorites of all time, and cannot totally remember their plot lines.  Same is becoming true of some childhood memories that used to be very lucid; even college is beginning to blur.  It doesn't scare me so much as make me feel like I've lost something--namely, essential elements of my being.  That said, maybe it's not so much the experiences themselves that make up our "essential being," but the effect of those experiences upon us, which means that only with time--and by extension, forgetfulness--do we achieve a measure of our true selves.)

Anyway, here's that passage from The Corrections.  I don't know what made me think of it last night (talk about a strange memory), but a quick Google search of "the corrections depressed person tv" brought it right up on Google Books.  By the way, if you haven't read the book yet, I envy you such joy on the horizon.  It's about a crazy (therefore typical) family.

Earlier in the day, while killing some hours by circling in blue ball-point ink every uppercase M in the front section of a month-old New York Times, Chip had concluded that he was behaving like a depressed person.  Now, as his telephone began to ring, it occurred to him that a depressed person ought to continue staring at the TV and ignore the ringing--ought to light another cigarette and, with no trace of emotional affect, watch another cartoon while his machine took whoever's message.
That his impulse, instead, was to jump to his feet and answer the phone--that he could so casually betray the arduous wasting of a day--cast doubt on the authenticity of his suffering.  He felt as if he lacked the ability to lose all volition and connection with reality the way depressed people did in books and movies.  It seemed to him, as he silenced the TV and hurried into his kitchen, that he was failing even at the miserable task of falling properly apart.
--Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections

Friday, April 9, 2010

The marks of time

In Kansas City for a little while...
While there is one major drawback (cute husband is missing), it's nice to be home.
These old books now live in my old bedroom and I couldn't help but snap a photo.  To think of all the hands that had to hold them, all the boxes that they traveled in and out of, all the fingers that lightly gripped an edge and turned a page.  It's magical.

I'll meet you back here next week for some more verbose posting.

In the meantime, here's some visual stimulation for the weekend, found in bridges (click through the slide show).  Some of these took my breath away.

And in the spirit of springtime, some flowers I spotted today.  While we don't want our prose to be purple and flowery, it's fine for our flowers to be so.  (Tee hee couldn't resist.)

{ Happy Spring! }

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Book Thief

I finished the wonderful and amazing book The Book Thief last night.  For me, it was one of those rare books that will probably stick with me through the years.  I know some of my readers have read it (it was on the recommendations of my mom and my father-in-law that I finally got to reading it), but for those of you who haven't yet, I really hope you'll pick it up one day soon.

Somewhere in the middle of the book's 550 pages, the characters became real to me--whether for their own sake or because many of them reminded me of people in my own life, it's the same difference.  At least to me, it was such an unbelievable story of the triumph of words.  And more specifically, the ultimate triumph of good words over bad: a reminder of the importance of telling one's own story in the face of tragedy.  Surely writing is one of the great human acts of renewal, one that I think rivals what others tell me of their religious or spiritual experiences--it's a way to clear a path through worry and pain and surprise yourself by finding the good in things you were so sure were completely bad.

Just wait'll you meet Liesel Meminger and Hans Hubermann, and sweet little Rudy Steiner, a boy with a pure heart.  And, as books about World War II go, I can't think of one that gave me a stronger sense of time and place, nor one that had such a strong hypothesis to the oft repeated (and unanswered) question of how Hitler and the Nazis could have done what they did.  Just as good words have real power to heal, so do bad ones have power to destroy...and I'll leave it at that for now.

In the same vein--because you know how you'll be thinking about one thing you've read and then you read something completely unrelated and yet somehow the two stick together in your mind for no other reason than their proximity to one another--here's an interesting article from The New York Times that I read late on Saturday night.  It's about a palliative care doctor who, when faced with her own form of terminal cancer, decided--again and again--against palliative care.  I found myself thinking of her story in terms of what it might offer the rest of us.  It's something I feel I could ruminate on all day: this idea of feeling one way your whole life, but when faced with a decision, acting in defiance of those feelings.  How frightening and exhilarating to think of ourselves in this way--so unpredictable, even to ourselves.

And here are a few photos of our weekend.  How was yours?

UPDATE: Some updated thoughts.  I've just been perusing the internet a bit looking for others' thoughts on The Book Thief, and the vast majority are highly favorable.  That said, some think it's overwrought and doesn't deserve, as the book jacket suggests, to be included in the same literary canon as Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young GirlI've heard this same sort of criticism about the book Little Bee (haven't read it yet), which is not about WWII and the Holocaust, but which also claims to be an "important," "life-changing" book.  Similarly, cute husband, as most of you know, is a Bob Dylan freak and finds that many fans are hesitant to give Bob credit for his later work (namely, the sublime Love & Theft, released on 9/11/2001).  They claim that the legend has lost his touch, when in truth he's just changing.

I find this phenomenon fascinating and annoying.  There seems to be a fear of adding something new alongside the old, as though the two cannot co-exist without canceling out one another.  I think that the process of older works giving way to and having influence upon the newer works is the essence of what we think of as "Literature" (big L).

Any thoughts?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Take the heat

Since we're coming up on two years of living in Virginia, and I'm going through my second round of experiencing the seasons, I've come to understand that this state basically has no Spring.  Winter lasts only about six weeks (from mid-December to mid-February), then suddenly we're talking 70s.  Today, April 1st, we're cresting the 80 degree mark.  It's really quite depressing for someone like me who loves winter and often opens her closet door just to stare longingly at her sweaters hanging neatly in a row.  However, there is something kind of wonderful about the summertime lifestyle.  The swimsuit simply lives on the edge of the bathtub because it's always wet and needs to be dry by tomorrow so that the poolside (and here, beach side) activities can be repeated again.  There's lots of beer-drinking because everyone is so darn hot, and though we use the AC as much as we can, by the time the June electric bill arrives in the mail we make ourselves go old school in the evenings: windows and fans.  Long about July, you learn to just be content sweating as you read your book and sip your third margarita. (At least I do.  Cute husband absolutely cannot stand the heat, mostly due to his very pale skin--his idea of a perfect summer day is going to three movies in a row so he can revel in the always overpowering movie theater AC.  My mom also feels this way; she has pale skin too).

And oh the summer rains--the waiting inside for the sky to clear so you can go back to the pool because you know it will be hotter and muggier afterwards than it was before.  Or the few times when the rain does cool things off a bit and the breeze that follows the storm is like a new start on the day...

I just think it's so interesting how our moods and routines change just a little bit with each season.  Is this something we impose upon ourselves or something imposed upon us?  Nearly all of the bloggers I follow seem to want to document these season changes--there have been so many posts about the changing trees, the freakishly warm weather, the demands of changing one's wardrobe with the season. Awhile ago I wrote about how in winter it always seems like we are being led into hibernation--our god-given time to just ruminate a bit, stay inside, care for the ones we love for lack of anything better to do.  And so too does spring and the coming summer seem like instructions handed down from a higher place: go outside, be happy there, let the sun ease your worried mind. 

It's simplistic for sure, but most right answers are.
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