Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Your mother wears army boots, used to be a put down. Not anymore.

While we were swimming in the pond up at the family farm, a whole lot of women were wearing army boots in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of them have babies back home while they're driving Humvees in the desert. Or flying jets, or stitching up bodies. It's a whole other life, so far away from this lush life here by the Delaware River in Pennsylvania.

I hate war.

If I had my way, all of our service women and men would be home, sitting around kitchen tables, playing croquet, jumping in spring-fed ponds.

Until they do, I'm praying for them and their families, and remembering all those who've gone before them.

Praying for peace for this sweet, old earth.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Potting Plants etc.

Potting plants,
digging in the garden,
listening to birds,

Enjoy this glorious day!

xo b

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sophia Kate

Claire got to hold Sophia Kate for almost two hours the other day. Sophia was so relaxed in Claire's arms, she slept and slept. Every now and then, she'd make a funny face, or stretch her head up, like a turtle, and then settle back down, hardly a sigh out of her.

I damn near had to wrestle her out of Claire's arm to hold her, for about five minutes. Her tiny head was a healing orb resting on my heart. It was a miracle, having this new person to the world, breathing in time with me.

I kept thinking she doesn't have one idea about much of anything, like oil spills or mortgage rates. No wonder her body was so completely relaxed, floppy boned. This baby girl is tension free unless she's hungry or needs a diaper change.

Note to self: hang more with Sophia Kate.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Throw A Line Out


- Betsy Selfo

[Every now and then I meet another Betsy. I met Betsy Selfo in a small white house full of writers in Amherst, MA almost ten years ago. We had both lost our mothers that year. We shared Mom stories and cried a lot over the four days the group was together. Later, she emailed me this piece which I just found looking through a folder as the lights flicker on and off. It's a good, steady prayer for a stormy night.]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sing Your Song

Here's an early morning post, before the morning cup of tea, and the bus stop. It's a soft air, already quite warm. The windows are open in my room where I write and I'm taking in the different songs of the birds that live in the yard. The thought occurred to me that birds don't wake up wondering, am I happy today? They just sing their songs.

"Open and receive.

Today when someone offers you something- an inviting smile. a warm cup of tea, or a chance to go ahead in a line, receive it completely and without reservation."

from A Year of Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater

ps. a very happy birthday to my friend, Neeny, who much prefers a cold winter day to these warm spring ones. But oh my! May is one glorious month to come into the world! Here's to singing your song!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Natural World

This morning I went with Claire's 4th grade class on a field trip to the Tannersville Cranberry Bog. This bog is the oldest habitat like it in the world and it's right here in our own backyard!

With Darryl, as our guide, we hiked into the forest which edges the bog. Darryl turned a log over and showed us two wood salamanders. Did you know that wood salamanders are lungless? They breathe through their skin.

We walked into the bog along a wooden boardwalk, past Larch trees and Pitcher plants. Pitcher plants are carnivorous, like Venus Flytraps, but Darryl said we could stick our finger inside. I stuck my finger in and felt the cool water resting there.

Every now and then Darryl would pause and say something like, "Did you hear that common yellow throat?"

I learned things on our hike through the bog that I'll never forget, like slipping my finger inside a Pitcher plant. I vote for getting teachers and kids out of the classroom and into the natural world way more often. There's a whole world, beyond text books, at the touch of our fingertips, right in our own backyards.

Each of us must realize that he or she is part of a complex living system that would continue to function quite beautifully without us and that our challenge is therefore to work for a sustainable earth society that mimics the natural system all around us.

- Dr. William A. Niering (conservationist/educator/bog lover)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Prepare Your Article

My friend, Susan, received a list of directions [see below] for a paper she is presenting in Orlando this summer. Her paper will be published in a book called "Proceedings of the 6th International Conference of Social and Organizational Informatics and Cybernetics."

Come again?

Susan is a doctoral candidate in Education Technology. I think that's right. In her free time, she teaches 7th grade German, two ESL university courses, plays the organ at church on Sundays, builds websites, travels, writes...You get the picture.

And here I was thinking that teaching a yoga class and food shopping constituted a very full day. That doesn't include making dinner, okay?

Occasionally, she sends me stuff like this because it makes my head spin and she thinks that's funny. Actually, it gives me heart palpitations. I would need night school to decipher this list. Susan, on the other hand, could do this with her eyes closed.

1) Prepare your article in single-spaced, double-column format, on letter size paper (8.5”x11” / 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm)

2) On the first page, the distance from the top edge of the paper to the top of the first line of type (the title) should be 0.79” (2.0 cm)

3) On the second and subsequent pages, the distance from the top edge of the paper to the top of the first line of type should be 0.59” (1.5 cm)

4) The left and right margins should be 0.75” (1.9 cm.)

5) The width of each column should be 3.22” (8.2 cm)

6) The distance between the two columns of text should be 0.55” (1.4 cm)

7) The distance from the top edge of the paper to the bottom of the last line of type on the page should be no more than 10” (25.4 cm)

8) Use full justification.
and so on...

I need to go lie down now.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This Being Alive

Around four-ish, I was in the backyard stretched out on a lounge chair, paging through the New York Times Travel Magazine, a dangerous past time. I felt cranky and restless; Why didn't I travel through Europe when I was in college? Why haven't I been to Paris? And Barcelona, or Tuscany?

Pennsylvania is not romantic, I thought. I need spice in my life, dark-eyed waiters bringing me red wine, speaking to me in a foreign tongue. Kissing me in a foreign tongue?

Tall, leafy trees rustled above my head while the sun dipped in and out of dark clouds. One minute I was hot, the next cold.

Claire came out for a bit and read chapter one of Missing May, a novel about love, loss, and finding family. I closed my eyes and listened while she read. I wanted to cry.

Birds squawked.

After the story we looked at a magazine filled with models wearing prom dresses. Most of the models had sultry, angry looks. Claire noted how most of the dresses were designed to push and squeeze the models' breasts up. The guys wore rock-star shirts under their blazers. They had sultry, angry looks too.

"I'd just like my date to wear a regular, normal tuxedo,"Claire said.
I nodded, eyes closed, sun on face.
"That sounds like a good idea, Claire."

Claire went in, Dad came out. He started telling stories about his first home as a child on Plumstead Ave. and his best friend Brud Reed and how Brud's mother, Marjorie, always invited the kids in for hot chocolate in the winter.

"My mother didn't care for that kind of thing," he said.

He talked about Uncle John Moore; how he was a bank teller. And Aunt Bess, who sold shoes most of her life.

Michael came out.
"I wish we could cut the grass," I said, thinking the mower was still jinxed.
"We can, honey," he said, hopping up.

He started up the lawn mower and began cutting the grass. I leaned back and listened to Dad tell more stories about aunts and uncles, all gone now. When I looked up, I saw Claire inside at the kitchen table, Owen, our cat, sleeping on the window seat. And the yard, all smoothed out.

And Michael riding by on the John Deere, no hands, smiling.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First Poppy

Bloom where you are.

[Yesterday this was a tight, green fist of a bud. I thought, take a picture of it, pre-bloom, but between yesterday and this evening, it burst open.]

Friday, May 21, 2010


We were in the middle of playing math bingo when Najee, a third grade boy, tilted his head to one side and said, "Ms. Jackson, I'd say you look about eighteen."

It took everything I had not to go over and sweep the kid out of his chair and dance around the room with him. But I restrained myself.

"Really?" I said, tilting my head, parrot-like, back at him.

Then, "Thank you, Najee," and we carried on with our game of multiplication math bingo.

Eighteen is not what I see when I pass by a mirror, but out of the blue, this eight year old boy offered up a rare moment for me to see something, like my face, from another perspective.

9 x 2 = 18...


Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Strange Feather


The craziness,

All the empty plots,

All the ghosts and fears,

All the grudges and sorrows have



I must have inhaled

A strange


That finally




Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Ground Under Me

Claire and I took a stroll around our neighborhood tonight. It's about a mile from our house around the loop, past the lake, and home again. Along the way we saw a bunny hop across the street. We saw two boys jumping on a trampoline in their backyard. We saw three fish swimming in the shallows at the edge of the lake. And up the hill to home, a little brown bird hopped along in front of us.

When we got home Claire stretched out on her back in the middle of the road. I lay down next to her, enjoying the firmness under my back. We put our ball caps on and looked up at the gray sky.
"I hope nobody makes a wrong turn," I said.

We live at the end of the street where you can't go any further but occasionally, cars come our way and end up turning around in our driveway.

"Where did time begin?" Claire blurted, " I mean, where is the end of all this, all the galaxies. What was here before this?"
"You mean, the earth? Gosh, Claire, what great questions and... I don't have a clue. People have wondered about that ever since..."
"What if we're in some big black box, Mom? Like some kid's science project. You know, the kind with the styrofoam planets hanging from strings inside a box?"

We lay there, bouncing questions back and forth; the two of us flat on our backs looking up at the evening sky. I watched a white space in the gray clouds, shifting and changing shape. And felt the ground under me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Freundliche Gruesse

I was steeping a cup of Blues Away Yogi tea and remembered the game Viktoria showed me during her visit last week, remember when it was practically snowing? We drank pots of tea and sat in front of the fire for two days straight.

She said,"Think of something about your day, like my day will be full of adventure or I will have no worries today and then read the message on the tea bag and see what it makes you think, or feel."

I know I'm not explaining it right. And for someone who drinks a lot of tea, I never even knew there were messages that came with the bags. I'd completely forgotten about any of it until I was sipping my tea and heard Viktoria's soft lilting voice in my head saying, read the message.

So I turned the tiny white piece of paper over in my hand and read:

Unite with your own higher self and create a friendship

Viktoria is traveling home tomorrow to visit her parents in Wiesbaden, Germany; a storybook town with a village green and streets of old homes. A place I've never been, but hope to visit someday with Viktoria as my tour guide.

Safe travels to you, Viktoria, & thanks for the whisper to stay open to the messages.

*Freundliche Gruesse!

(* friendly greetings in German)

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm No Jesus

"Hey Dad!"
"Hey Dad! You know that line, I guess it's from the Bible, wherever two or more gather...?"
I guess? Hard to believe I'm a preacher's kid.
"Oh. Wherever three or more gather, I will be there too."
I think that's what he said. I'm convinced his hearing thing is rubbing off on me and everybody else around here. What?
"The thing is, hon, what Jesus was saying was simple. I am in you and you are in me."
"Okay, that's what I was thinking about. That part."

I'm no Jesus. But when I Googled quotes from the Bible, I found "From where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them" - New Living Translation 2007. And since today's piece is a thank you note to you, dear followers, I thought maybe I could connect it somehow...Okay, it's a huge stretch, but I love the gathering part.

So this is a shout out to those of you who have gathered on the followers' page; the yellow smiley face, the bare-chested languishing person, husband with clown nose, cousin Steph in Florida, Kerry in Vermont, and Neeny, who fortunately for her computer, doesn't keep a hammer nearby. And the rest of your beautiful smiling, some painted, shadowed, and slightly distorted (Claire, is that you?) faces. Thank you. It occurred to me that I could have a hundred faces grinning at me each day if I could get my cousins and their families on board, especially Aunt Nip's branch of the family tree.

Thanks to my readers who comment and send emails. I appreciate the time it takes to reach out and connect. I get that we should all lie down. No talking, just breathe. But this is good stuff. It matters, this connection.

This Being Alive is a growing community because of all of you.

And me, Jesus' long-lost cousin, twice-removed.

"The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what place my touch will be felt."

- Frederick Buechner

xo b

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Team Sister

This morning, Jess and Claire, ran their second 5K together, in the annual Run for the Red, a race which benefits the American Red Cross. Team Sister as we like to call them, beat their own race times from last November's YMCA 5K. (see photo). I'm posting last year's photo because the two cameras that we brought to this morning's race had dead batteries.

Classic, right?

Like any good Mom, I wept when I spotted the two of them rounding the track and coming down the home stretch. My two girls, eighteen years apart, crossed the finish line, two seconds apart.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Talking To Paper

Talking to paper is talking to the divine. It is talking to an ear that will understand even the most difficult things. Paper is infinitely patient. It will receive small fragment after fragment of a large network you are working on, without you yourself knowing it. It will wait decades for you to put together the first faint traces of your own code, a code you might have understood as a small child but which you are now gathering on a new level of understanding. The white paper is waiting. Each time you scratch on it, you trace part of yourself, and thus part of the world, and thus part of the grammar of the universe. It is a huge language, but each of us tracks his or her particular understanding of it.

- Nina Holzer
A Walk Between Heaven and Earth

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Way With Words

A brown envelope addressed to me came from the elementary school where I did my artist-residency back in January. Remember January?

Jane, secretary-turned-friend of mine, had stuck a note on the stack of papers tucked inside; the post-it read, Hi Betsy! It's amazing what you find when you clean off your desk. Yup.

I relaxed in the comfy dragonfly chair in the living room and read twenty-five notes from second graders, hand written back on January 15, 2010. All but one, were cheerful and upbeat. That's why I like second graders so much. And that's why when I have a speaking engagement, I imagine all the people as second graders. I've never done the imagine everyone in their underwear strategy. Nope.

So I thought I'd share a few notes for this Friday. Second graders have a way with words, as well as spelling. This is from a little girl named Montana.

I did not know that you can jest think of wrods and then trun it in to a interesting sentence. I loved playing the sound making game it was one of my favriet things.

Here's one from Jonathan who seems to have the Buddhist thing happening.

I enjoyed playing games. I enjoyed writing, I enjoyed acting. But most of all I enjoyed being their. I can't wait until next year to do it again.

After I finished reading, I remembered a love letter I had saved from one of my second graders back in 1994. I've held onto it all these years because she was so sincere and well, that spelling thing lights up the whole piece. I wish I could figure out how to scan it but I've transcribed it exactly how Kristen wrote it...

to ms. jacson
you are the best techer I ever had. you are wonderfull trific fantastic,
I like your nekclis
I like your scert
I like your shirt
I like your tits
I like your shoes
I like your earings
I like you your
studint Kristen

Here's to giving kids permission to "jest think of wrods" and find their own voice. And you too!

ps. if you need help translating, sweet Kristen was referring to my tights. I must've been dressed up that day!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

There's Always More

The kitchen was a mess after dinner. Claire wanted help with her homework. Dad needed his eye drops put in. And as darkness fell, Michael was still outside tinkering with our jinxed lawn mower.

I wanted to slip away. But I stayed and sat at the kitchen table with stories rolling around in my head like a handful of marbles. This goes on all day; the stories rolling part. Not the sitting.

So,while Claire showed me her math page, I scribbled words on a notepad. And then my eyes glazed over; find the circumference using 22/7, or pi. There's a reason why I taught second grade all those years. I know we covered basic fractions, but my memory is leaning toward those regrouping lessons...Okay, boys and girls, let's do this together. Mr. One has too many people in his house so some of them need to move next door to Ms. Tens' duplex. Then we add those people up and bring them down to hang out together under the streetlight and... I've always had a way with words, but with numbers, oh the doubt, even after testing into honors trig in high school. I asked to be taken out. It made my head spin.

I jotted, Claire multiplied and added, the homework got done. The kitchen is clean. And the sweet sound of Michael's saxophone is swinging Dad to sleep upstairs, eye drops in.

I get it. Sometimes I have to wait for things, like the right time to write, but most of the time my wonderful life is happening in perfect time. It's just that sometimes my eyes are only half open to see the masterpiece which I've created.

Take a tour of the life you've created; it's good right now. That's the gist of the conversation I had today with my dear friend, Neeny.

I mean, there was more. There's always more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Return To Your Center

I'd like to write about Sean and Viktoria's visit, and my broken reading glasses (and how Sean fixed them), and the hour I spent sitting in the car with a blanket over my lap while Dad visited his chiropractor. But I stayed up too late last night and I'm done. I am not a night owl, unlike other members of my family. You know who you are.

In keeping with yesterday's thoughts on lightening up and kindness toward self and others, here are a few thoughts by American-Buddhist teacher and psychologist, Jack Kornfield to continue the conversation. This short list is from his book called Buddha's Little Instruction Book.

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.
Life is so hard, how can we be anything but kind?
Everything in moderation, including moderation.
There is only one time when it is essential to be awake. That time is now.
Stay centered, do not overstretch. Extend from your center, return to your center.

Sleep tight.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lighten Up

"As I SAID BEFORE, the main instruction is simply to lighten up. By taking that attitude toward one's practice and one's life, by taking that more gentle and appreciative attitude toward oneself and others, the sense of burden that all of us carry around begins to decrease"

- from Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron

Welcome to the world, *Sophia Kate Levy.

*Read " Laughing and Praying"

Monday, May 10, 2010

Laughing and Praying

I'm feeling breathless...

Aubrey's in labor with her first child, a girl. My daughter, Jess, is with her but she hasn't called and I'm anxious for an update. I know better; my phone will remain in the cradle. (no pun intended.) I will wait for good news.

[Side note: Hoo hoo ha! Hoo hoo ha! I know it does absolutely nothing for the pain, Aubrey. It's complete horseshit, really. But keep breathing, honey. Focus on the dent in the wall.]

Meanwhile, across the country in San Diego, my quirky and beloved mother-in-law, is having her uterus removed because of cancer. Johnie is eighty-four years young; a little surgery won't keep her down. That's what I keep telling myself.

Johnie's biggest concern was that they were going to mess up her bladder tuck that she'd had done a few years back...

"I just don't want to be peeing in my pants again, Elizabeth," she said.
"Nope, that's not so great,"I said, "That whole sneeze and pee thing sucks."

"I can't believe I'm laughing about cancer," she went on, "but if you can't laugh,'re screwed."

And then she laughed, and I laughed too. Crazy, huh?

Of course, I keep thinking about Johnie's uterus. It carried five babies; Pamela, Mark, Michael, Neal, and Amy. My husband, Michael was a Christmas Eve baby, no less. Did I not say the other day, that I was a sentimental sot? And now there's Aubrey's uterus to think about. No wonder I'm breathless. Just saying the word, uterus, is a work-out.

Monday night in May: new baby on the way in, old uterus on the way out. I feel like I should do something, like weep?

Better yet, how about some laughing and praying. And breathing.

I'll get started. Jump in any time you feel like it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Night Sky

In one of the stars
I shall be living
In one of them
I shall be laughing
And so it will be
as if all the stars
were laughing
when you look at the night sky.

- from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In memory of my beautiful mother.

Dorothy Southam Jackson

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Wonderful Chance

To get this chance [to practice the Dharma]is very difficult. To be born as a human being is very difficult. Among uncountable sperms and eggs...YOU ARE HERE. Wonderful chance. Congratulations!

- Soen Nakagawa

Here's to May 8th, an auspicious day; it is the birthday of three of my favorite people on the planet: Nan, my mother's dear friend of many years, and Lisa & Robin, twin sisters/both of them college roomates of mine (not at the same time!), treasured friends for over thirty years! What a gift.

May 8th was also the day my parents married. The marriage ended when I was a teenager, but thanks to a chance meeting at a party in Edinburgh, Scotland over fifty years ago we have a thriving family tree today with their great-grandaughter, Elizabeth Mary, keeping us on our knees, digging for fat worms.

I am counting my blessings on this blustery May day in Pennsylvania...

Wonderful chance, indeed!

Friday, May 7, 2010

No Place Like Home

It's after ten on this Friday night and I just drove seventy miles round trip to take Claire and her friend to a classmate's birthday party at a place called IN THE ZONE. Seventy miles? For a birthday party? Clearly I wasn't paying attention when we rsvp'd.

From seven to nine, the partiers played wiffle ball, jumped on trampolines, and went into a batting cage where the slow pitch was 30 mph. I left the girls at the party and found my way to a local Wegman's, one of our finer supermarkets, where I managed to spend $100, wandering the aisles trying to kill time. That's not good.

It may have been the lotions and potions aisle that did me in; Shikai shampoo, Kiss My Face Peaceful Patchouli moisturizer, Nature's Gate Lavender & Aloe liquid soap. Those three things alone probably cost fifty bucks. I'm blaming it on the birthday girl. Period, the end.

After my costly foray at the fancy market, I found my way back to the ZONE by sheer luck; driving on a dark, country road and eating sushi off a little tray on the passenger seat, I almost missed the turn for the ZONE. When I arrived at 8:40, the kids were woofing down some pizza. We didn't stay for the cake.

Call me a sentimental sot, but whatever happened to home birthday parties? Where the cake is made especially for you by your big sister (in the shape of a turtle), and a small group of friends sit around the kitchen table with balloons tied to the chairs?

Claire's birthday parties have always had a rousing game of pin the facial features on the pumpkin face. Michael gives rides around the yard in the wagon behind the John Deere. Everybody jumps in leaves. It's during the day, not night. And parents come to pick their children up and drive ten minutes, tops, back home.

Last year was the first year we didn't do that for Claire's birthday. She wanted to try something different so she invited two friends to Red Robin. Loud music, baskets of fries that kept on coming. I hated it. I'm not sure she liked it that much either.

There's no place like home.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Claire has a bright green turtle pillow to go with her real turtle, Washington. Claire likes to name her things so she asked for some suggestions.

"What should I name my turtle pillow, Elizabeth?"
Without blinking an eye, Elizabeth said, "Turtle."

Keep it simple.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Got Nylons?

Driving home from yoga tonight, I heard a story on NPR about the devastating oil spill that's been spreading off the Gulf coast. The reporter talked about how hair is being used as a tool for soaking up the oil. Hair salons all over the country have rallied in a big way; hair is being swept up, boxed, and shipped off to some place where it gets stuffed inside of nylons, kinda like sausages, and used along the shoreline.

But here's the second piece to this story. Nylons? The reporter noted that the wearing of nylons is not what it used to be. The good news is that some companies, like Hanes, have contributed to the cause. But the real heroes (or heroines?) of the story seem to be the transvestites of San Francisco, who have generously donated drawers full of nylons to help with the clean-up effort.

After last week's *silver balls sighting, (I so don't get that), this story was a spirit-lifter. Ordinary American citizens, hair stylists and men in nylons, stepping up, most likely in a good pair of heels, to generously offer a helping hand.

*Read "NOT A Bumper Sticker"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An American Citizen

It's been a fickle day; sun, clouds, wind, rain, more sun, then a big, door-slamming wind, & now... birdsong and stillness. All over the place, right?

So, it's just about bed and book time; time to switch this computer off and call it a day. But I'm still wondering what the woman standing next to me in line at the market meant when she said," I'm an American citizen. I don't believe in those things," tilting her head at the self-checkout lanes.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Displaced Writer/Space Wanted

Why is it that when I try to do something, say writing, Claire decides it's time for a conversation? How come, said daughter, doesn't go to her father with news of her scratchy throat? He can practice his saxophone for two hours straight without one interruption; I sit down to write for twenty minutes and you'd think I had left the family for another life far, far away. Tuscany, anyone?

Okay, so I've moved to the living room and Michael walks in, like right now, and says so sweetly, "Remember this shirt, honey?" and turns to show me two green handprints on the back of his white t-shirt, with child-like drawings of saxophones on the front; a Claire masterpiece from some years back. Am I upset with my kid and husband for wanting to engage in conversation with me? Not at all, except when I'm writing.

Recently, Dad moved into our guest room, which for many years has been my writing room, or as I fondly refer to it, my studio apartment. All my stuff is up there; files, books, notes stuck to my bulletin board, big sheets of paper taped to the closet door for me to write on. Am I feeling put out? Displaced feels more like it. It's time to re-arrange and find a new writing space for myself.

I'm a writer. For better or for worse, this is what I do. But when I say, I'm writing. I'll be with you in a little bit, my family doesn't always get it. It's not their fault. I can be wishy-washy; I need to be clearer. Stating what I need without feeling like I'm being not nice is a daily practice. Can you say, co-dependent?

It's not about the room, although believe me, I'm going to find a new one. But for now, the dining room table has been working out fine. It's more about being willing to value my work and claim my space. Ding ding ding.

I was going to write about my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Aiosa, and her glossy black hair and the way the tiny white flakes of dandruff stuck to her dark clothes. I was going to write about her smile, the gap between her two front teeth, the way she taught us French, writing long white sentences in her elegant cursive on the blackboard.

I'll start here, then write what I remember.