> jumping into life.


At beliefnet.com, they peg me as Unitarian Universalist. Unsurprising, that: my granddad was a UU minister, and while my family never much went to church, something of the feel of the tradition steeped into me. (They put Therevada Buddhism a bit farther down the list; Zen wasn't there at all.)

Yesterday I went to church. The minister spoke of love and forgiveness, quoting Dostoevsky. Bright winter sun through the windows, a baby in the pew in front of me, smiling. For the whole hour I smiled back. Afterwards we went to a brunch potluck at a bigwindowed house by the graveyard. It made me think of Prescott, all food and good conversation. I miss the desert. I miss Zen. I miss the rain. The quiet magic of the snow does not fill my desire for thunder. I find myself falling into poetry again. I finally found the poem that Paul read to us all practice period, the poem that haunted me for months but whose author I didn't know. It is Nazim Hikmet, and the poem is this:

It's no crime to be Romeo or Juliet,
it's not a crime even to die for love;
what counts is whether you can be a Romeo or Juliet-
I mean, it's all a matter of your heart.

For instance, fighting at the barricades
or going off to explore the North Pole
or testing a serum in your veins-
would it be a crime to die?

It's no crime to be Romeo or Juliet,
It's not a crime even to die for love.

You fall head over heels in love with the world,
but it doesn't even know you're alive.
You don't want to leave the world,
but it will leave you-
I mean, just because you love apples,
does an apple have to love you back?
I mean, if Juliet stopped loving Romeo
-or if she'd never loved him-
would Romeo be any less Romeo?

It's no crime to be Romeo or Juliet,
it's not a crime even to die for love.


Everything lies blueshadowed and still. We tromp through the woods on our skis, and there is birdsong, and there are mouse tracks and a great churn of snow where at least two deer bedded down for the night. My first time cross-country skiing, and the snow is light enough that I don't even get frustrated when I fall. There is a drone of snowmobiles in the distance, the occasional whir of passing cars from the road. When I slip and slip and slip trying to get up a hill, he stands behind me and pushes me gently, and I feel a little bit like I'm learning to ride a bike with my mom holding onto the seat. Later, I bake batches and batches of cookies: chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, baked in a glass lasagna pan because my cookie sheets are still in a storage unit in California. Unemployment in the winter seems to equate to a lot of baking - cookies and pretzels, mostly. Also a lot of knitting. My favorite project so far has been steering wheel cozies with L and R on them, to keep my hands warm and keep me oriented when I drive.

But all that free time is coming to an end soon. The job dilemma was resolved thusly:

I told the vet's I wanted to work for them, but that the salary made my budget too tight, and asked if they would give me more money. They told me they'd call me back. Meanwhile, I had a second interveiw with the other company. The vet's called me back and said they wouldn't give me more money, sorry it didn't work out, goodbye. I spend the next week trying to talk myself into being glad about the other job, which I hadn't officially been offered but felt confident I would get. Meanwhile, there was a big blizzard, and everything was closed for two days. On Monday, I felt miserable about the other job, decided I really wanted the vet job anyway, and called them to say so; they were gone for the day, and I left a message. Yesterday, I finally talked to the vet, who told me they'd have to consider and call me back. Right after I talked to her, the other company called to tell me they really appreciated my interest and enthusiasm, but they'd offered the position to someone else. This morning, the vet called me back to say they'd hire me.

Horray! All in all I feel pretty good about it, except that I feel silly about holding out for a job I didn't end up getting. But I got the chance to realize that I really do want to work for the vet's office, and I'm really excited about it. I haven't been really excited about a job... well, ever. (With the exception of Earth Island, but I wasn't getting paid for that, so it doesn't count.)

Thanks again to everybody who gave me advice along the way; I'm not starting for a week still, but I'll keep y'all updated on how it goes.


I was lucky growing up for quite a lot of reasons; I'm going to talk about just one of them for now. I was lucky growing up because I grew up in a set of circumstances that allowed me to develop a pretty healthy regard for myself, my sexuality, and sex in general. I had the strong-women role models of my mother and her mother, my best friend's mother, my best friend, and the hard-working mamas that were my mama's friends. I had the strong-men-are-also-gentle role models of my father and both grandfathers. I had enough sense of my own worth to be astounded and enraged when the high school brought in an abstinence-only group who told us that virgins were like fine china and once you had sex you became a used paper plate to be thrown away. I had enough sound sex ed from other sources to engage in safe sex practices, both emotionally and physically; felt safe enough with my parents to go to my mom's gyno for birth control; had open-minded and accepting peers who drew no lines between genders or orientations; had a family who made it out-loud clear that whoever I chose to love would be fine by them. I came out of my teenagehood with a minimum of shame, and a goodly capacity for healthful sexual relationships.

I suspect that most people didn't have such luck. That's what makes it lucky, after all. I know that the state of sex ed in this country - and of the attacks on young people's self-esteem and autonomy - is getting worse. I know that resources like Scarleteen are more precious every day. Valentine's is over, but if you've got a few bucks to spare after the chocolates and champagne (or the beer and bad movies, depending), consider a donation towards the future of healthy sex and healthy teens. You could also consider buying a copy of Scarleteen founder and all-around fantastic woman Heather Corinna's forthcoming book S.E.X. for the young adult or library in your life - or both. I don't usually pitch on this site, but this is as worthy a cause as there is. Help out if you can.


In my mind, the primary component of a storm is noise. Wind noise, water smashing into the roof noise, thunder noise, and later maybe the crashing of trees noise. Storms are loud. They thrash and rumble and flash and growl.

I cannot understand a snowstorm. It is snowing; that much makes sense. But storm? This is no storm. This is silent; more silent all the time, as inch piles on inch and mutes even the sounds of traffic. As inch piles on inch and fewer and fewer cars brave the so-called storm to drive by. A storm is dark. Dark clouds, dark water, dark pavement. This is no storm. This is bright, and getting whiter all the time. Even the dark forms of trees swallowed into nothing.

Were the wind howling and the bare trees whipping free of their quiet blanket, I could know it as a storm. Were the power out, at least, the term would make sense. But this stillness, getting stiller all the time? This softness? Oh, I know it could kill me, I know it would and fast. I'm going nowhere except to the kitchen for more tea.

But a storm? Death it may be, and winter, but it is no storm.


The heart pulses, of course. Openclosed openclosed. We start each morning in the sweetness that brings us both near to words we don't believe in. Perfect at the top of the list. It used to get better from there; these days things shift between us. There is a deep, deep brokenness between us. We are fighting it, hard. The heart pulses open. Closed. The counselor wants to know why we came back to each other. Soulmate is on that list. In the darkness I peel back another wall to find another secret: I am afraid of growing up. I am trying to throw my responsibilities onto him. He is afraid I cannot take responsibility for myself. I've almost never had to. Open.

Closed. But we fight it, hard. Take the scary step. I proposed to him four months ago now; still waiting for an answer. He is fighting it. She wants to know why he doesn't say yes. What if it happens again? Closedclosed closedclosed. I pace the empty house. But eventually morning comes, and each time it finds us curled together, whispering the words we don't believe in. Morning finds us, and some days it even gets better from there.


Also: I'd like to give a deep thanks those who gave it for their sage and compassionate advice; I've been in rumination all weekend, and I'll share the results as soon as I know them.



There are two jobs. One I've been offered, and one I expect to be. We'll call them Job A and Job B.

Job A is a customer service phone job, with a good company that helps people. It pays $23,500 to $26,000 a year; has the best benefits I've ever seen, including full dental, medical with no co-pay and no deductible, free counseling, and a gym; is about ten minutes from my house.

Job B (the one I've been offered) is a veterinary surgical technician job, with a small but busy practice. It pays $18,000 to start, has basic Blue Cross benefits, and is about forty minutes from my house (which equals about a 10% loss of paycheck to gas).

Job A makes all the financial and logistical sense, but I know full well I'd enjoy B a lot more. I've been going back and forth on this for a few days - can I justify the stress of being that much tighter on money and time in order to do something more fun? Can I justify doing something boring just for the money and ease when there's a more interesting option available?

Also: I've been considering going into vet school, which is obviously a bonus for Job B; we've been considering buying a house/land sooner rather than later, which is a nod towards sucking it up and being able to save some money. I could take Job A, live on Job B's budget, and have $5,000 saved at the end of a year without even accounting for gas. I've got about $50 to my name right now, so having some expendible cash is pretty appealing.



Our house is not well-insulated. Beautiful wood floors leak cold from the basement; beautiful windows that let in so much light let the cold in too. We are researching insulating curtains, deciding if we can afford a rug. We sleep with two down comforters and the felted wool blanket he got in Peru. We wear socks inside our slippers. The gas bill - averaged over the year - should be almost a hundred dollars a month.

But it's our house.

We have a good gas stove, a bathtub, a washer and dryer, all kinds of space, and a backyard. My sister wanted to know when we're getting a dog, but the lease doesn't allow it. Besides which, I don't want to get a dog until I think I can give it as good a life as Zeke had.