Wednesday, October 31, 2012


A rough draft of a new poem...

I have been to the void and back
More times than Psychiatrists can prescribe
And in all those journeys
I have learned to appreciate
When the void becomes an opening
A potential
Not a lack
I have learned to appreciate the fullness
    of forgetting
Ignorance is bliss
And knowing is divine
Your love is a statement of fact
Five weeks of doubt cannot crack
As rough the days are now
Your presence makes them smooth
What else could cause that rock to skip
Worlds away
You bring me home to the present
Presently lacking you
Root me deep in your limbic soul
Where I'll be more than a weed
And chaos is crickets on a porch
You are with me always
Even as you are 10 hours my senior
Tell me what the future holds
Beyond space and time
Far away, in my bed
I sleep with you every night
Five weeks of doubt cannot disprove your ghost
Enfolding me as we speak
Five weeks of darkness
Remind me
Days sink and drag
Void potential becomes kinetic
Falling faster
Till smoothed-heart skip
Your memory refining the edges
Softening the blow
   of five weeks
I have seen the void
Context makes it possible
A new language
Bending time and space
To refine this heart of stone
Send me skipping
Coming home

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9,000 Year Lease, Locked in a Dungeon, and The Gift of Gab

On the morning of our 4th day in Ireland, we woke up in the Tipperary House hostel after a not awesome night of sleep.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast, stowed our luggage, and were on our way to see the sites of the city before our tour with CIE started that afternoon.  Our first stop, since it was so close, was Guinness.  We entered the giant pint glass-shaped building excitedly awaiting the story of Guinness.  We discovered that Arthur Guinness was granted a 9,000 year lease for the property there in Dublin where Guinness was made, which Sarah promptly informed us would not hold up, at least not in the US.  As we meandered through the halls and learned about the components and history of Guinness we learned about the introduction of the Toucan into the Guinness advertising campaign and each had the chance to pour the perfect pint, which we did.  Upstairs on the observation deck, we were able to see the whole of the city.  After a few hours there, we hopped on the Dublin bus tour that picked up just outside.

We rode the bus around for a bit, listening to the history of the city, including Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Gaol.  Our first (and last) stop for the day was at the National Museum of Art and History where we enlightened ourselves about the 1916 Uprising.  It was only a short walk from there back to the hostel to get our bags before we were off to our new hotel via taxi.  We spent a while walking around our new temporary neighborhood, looking for the best place to eat before we decided on a little cafe with more modern, fresh cuisine (a nice break from pub food!).  That night, we slept as well as we could with a hot room and trash and recycling getting picked up outside our window at 5:30am.

Despite our lack of sleep we arose nice and early to grab breakfast before heading off to the passport office to find out what we needed to get Irish Passports and citizenship.  Sarah and I are entitled to citizenship through our grandfather, who was born in Ireland.  Our mother was born an Irish citizen if she claims it as she is the daughter of and Irish resident.  We discovered we'd need a lot more paperwork and official documents to make it happen, but at least we know what we need and have the applications!  After the passport office, we got back on our Dublin City bus tour and began our day of meticulously planned stops and explorations.  We saw the cathedrals, St. Stevens Green, the General Post Office, the National Museum of Archeology, Cafe en Seine, and the Whiskey Shop all before heading back to our hotel to meet our tour guide and begin our official CIE tour at Dublin Castle.  We were given a tour and history lesson on the castle including admission to the Powder Tower excavation site where we got to go beneath the existing castle to the oldest remains of the old city and castle, which is kept behind lock and key.  Mom was very excited to get pictures of us in it, so much so that we missed the group and ended up locked inside the excavation site.  We pounded on the door on the brink of panic and thankfully our tour guide heard and came back for us.  We were careful not to fall behind again throughout the trip.  That night, we were bussed out to the suburbs of Dublin to enjoy dinner and a show at  The Merry Ploughboy.  It was a lovely evening of food and entertainment by and Irish band and Irish step dancers. At the point in the show where the dancers went into the crowd to find volunteers to dance with them, my mom pointed at me vigorously and surprise surprise, I was selected to dance on stage with them (for brief moments only, but nerve-racking enough!).  The night was great, but a bit long for having to be up at 6:30am the next morning... the Irish Coffees didn't help with the getting enough sleep thing...

The next day we were up and out by 8am, on our way South and West stopping at the Rock of Cashel and Blarney Castle on our way to Killarney.  The Rock of Cashel was basically a photoshoot and coffee stop.  We snapped some shots of the castle, were told it cost 6 euro to go inside the courtyard and take pictures, and grabbed tea and pie at the coffee shop before getting back on the bus to Blarney. We had two hours at Blarney, which we spent roaming the grounds, taking copious amounts of photos, and climbing the castle.  The castle was lovely and we couldn't have asked for a better day.  I was sweating in a t-shirt, which I didn't realize happened in Ireland.  We enjoyed the sun and the photo opps, and ended up kissing the Blarney Stone in hopes of the Gift of Gab (or maybe just because that's what you do at Blarney Castle when you're a tourist) in spite of our hygienic concerns.  After pressing our lips to that cold lover, we meandered through the Blarney Woolen Mills, trying in vein to find sweaters for a Christmas photo and, in my case, buying yarn.  When we finally finished there, it was clear we needed food, so food we got just in time to jump back on the bus (Sarah and mom even had to put their beers in to-go cups so they could finish them!).  After that, it was only a couple hours to Killarney, where we were to stay for the next couple nights.  Once we settled in, we went exploring some shops before dinner, where I found more yarn! and we learned that different families had different patterned sweaters to wear, which were far to expensive to buy.  After dinner, I met up with Athena who'd been in Killarney for a couple weeks in the midst of her European adventure.  We enjoyed a drink together and made plans to meet again the next night for a real night out.  That night we slept better, but getting up at 7am caused it to not be as restful as hoped.

In the morning, we ate rather quickly and hopped on the bus to head out for the Ring of Kerry.  Our first stop, before the rest of the "herd" (to quote our tour guide) of busses was at a golf course to take photos.  Unfortunately our group cannot tell time, and took to long, and so we were no longer ahead of the herd despite our early morning efforts.  Our next stop was at a very shnazzy gift shop where I purchased a lovely green scarf and they served us free Irish Coffees... hooray!  After that we wound through the mountains around the coast and ended up at a shepherd's place where he showed us his amazing sheep dogs and his different varieties of sheep.  After an underwhelming lunch, we got to see where the first transatlantic telegraph wire was laid and some beautiful cliff views.  After that, we were off to learn about the Skelligs before wending our way back around the bay and through the moutains, through the National Park, back to Killarney... I got a bit car sick at the end on the windy mountain roads, but fresh air fixed that rather quickly when we got back into town.  We got off the bus, used the restroom, and were back out for a carriage ride through the flat part of National Park, which was lovely!  We finally got back just after our reservation for dinner and boy did I need it!  We ate and I went upstairs, hoping for a quiet night, but ended up trying for a while to coordinate a meet up with Athena.  We finally worked it out after missing each other in the hotel and at an ice cream shop and we grabbed a drink at a local bar and commiserated about Cloyne.  Another long day, with only a couple more to go.

I'll stop here for now and let you and I both catch up before finishing the tale of our trip to Ireland.

Still to come: Bunratty, Connemara, Galway, Dublin, and a visit with our cousin Thecla who showed us some family history.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

3 Days Into Ireland + A Stateside Suprise!

It's the end of our third day in Ireland and we spent our first evening in Dublin.

Yesterday, after getting back to sleep, we got up around 9am and had some tea and coffee with Tony and Margaret before Tony took us out to see the Kelly land and Feakle while Margaret cooked breakfast.  We started just looking around the various buildings by the house.

On our tour, we saw the foundation where the Kelly house had stood before it was burnt down and the small building my grandfather and his family lived in after the house was burnt.  Then we walked down the tree lined dirt road that leads to the house toward "downtown" Feakle.  We stopped in the very small cemetery at the intersection of the dirt road and the main road to see my cousin's grave and those of my great great great great(?) grandparents.  In Feakle, Tony knew everyone.  The whole town was only a few blocks long with two stores/pubs and one church.  At the church, Tony told us about how my great grandfather stood up in the middle of church, walked down the aisle, and straight up to the priest to confront him when he said some people weren't fit to become priests after having refused a letter of recommendation for my great uncle for the seminary.  In the church an older woman eventually recognized Tony and came to talk with us; she said my mother looked and sounded Irish.  We also saw the school, several cows, and the post office where my family tried to hide their furniture when they knew the British were coming to burn down their house; unfortunately the British burned down the post office too, so the furniture was lost anyway.

When we arrived back at the house, Margaret had prepared a lovely Irish breakfast for us with eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, toast, scones, bacon, sausage, and tea.  We took our time with the meal, enjoying it so long Greta came while we were still at the table to take us to Ennis.

Once we packed up, we were on our way to Ennis to meet our other cousin, Tim.  Along the way we stopped for photos at an Abbey and then at the Walled Garden at Dromoland Castle, which was lovely.  In Ennis we stopped to have tea with Tim, then went for a drive around old Ennis before coming back and having a Hurling lesson from Tim.  I left with two hurlies and two slĂ­otars to take home with me.  After that, Tim drove us all to Limerick where we checked into our swanky hotel.  After check in we had an early dinner with Tim and Greta before they headed back to Ennis.  Once settled we "hit" the town... sort of.  We walked around a few blocks and checked out a park before grabbing a drink at a local bar on the other side of the Shannon.  Once back in the hotel we stayed up for a while before bed.

The next day we barely made it to our complimentary breakfast before getting ready for our day.  We didn't spend much time in Limerick after that and headed straight for the train station.  We got there just in time for the noon train to Dublin.  Then we relaxed, enjoyed the scenery, and I fell asleep for a bit.  In Dublin we quickly found our hostel and checked in.  We left a key for Sarah who would be showing up that afternoon and went for some tea.  Only about 5 minutes after we got back we heard Sarah coming to check in.  We all chatted for a bit before grabbing a taxi, in which Sarah told some hilarious and slightly inappropriate tales of her journey that made the taxi driver snicker and gasp, toward Temple Bar for dinner and drinks.

We ended up at not the best restaurant because we got it confused with another, but we ended up at the intended one for drinks and some Irish Folk Music.  Sarah went home a bit early to sleep after getting in that day, and mom and I looked around some shops before calling it a night ourselves and walking back to the hostel from Temple Bar, singing and being silly the whole way (not even drunk though!).

Upon arriving at the hostel, I came online to start writing this and discovered the UCSF is accepting applications for midwifery this year and that since they failed to notify me, they gave me a small extension... Just enough to get home and finish up the app, I think.  Anyway, it turned into a stressful, exciting, late night.... and I'm just now finishing this post two nights later because of all the stuff we did the next couple days - details to come!

For now, we're in Dublin; it's late; we have to be up in 6 hours to get our bus to Blarney Castle and then on to Killarney!  Off to bed I go!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Arriving on the Emerald Isle

Well, it's taken my mother 55 years, but she's finally made it to Ireland.  She was gracious enough to bring me and my sister with here.  I'm in a cozy bed in my cousins' home in County Claire.  It's 4:30am here, but I can't sleep anymore at the moment, maybe I'll get to sleep a little more again before my family wakes up, but we'll see.

I'm staying with my great uncle's children, on Kelly land, in a house built right next to te old house my grandfather once lived in.  It's absolutely lovely.  My cousins have been so hospitable - 4 course meal (or is it 5 with the Irish Coffees at the end?, which by the way are so much better than any Irish Coffee I've had in the states), warm bed in my own room, lovely conversation and humor, pick from the airport in Dublin 3 hours away, and the list goes on.

It wasn't a terribly easy journey getting here, but it could have been a lot worse, as they'll tell you - once they were laidover in Atlanta, GA for 6 days...  We left SFO just past 8am on Sept. 1st arrived in JFK on time, but were still a little worried about catching our connection.  Luckily, we had nothing to worry about as our connection to Dublin had been delayed 5 hours.  We had time to look around and eat a real dinner and then walk around and then look around and then walk around some more.  Our flight finally took off just after 12:30am Eastern.  We slept a bit and had dinner on our flight because they had planned on us taking off at 6:20pm.  It was good enough and we passed the 7 hour flight with relative ease.  I very much enjoyed the plane we were on - old school with a movie projected at the front, the seats were low so you could see over all of them, which I loved.  I realized then that what makes me so stir crazy on flights is only being able to see my little row and having a television screen jammed in front of my face.  I must find out what they call those types of seats/planee/flights/whatever so that I can find more with low seats.  We arrived in Ireland around 1pm local time, and unfortunately, my cousin Tony had been at the airport waiting for us since 9am.  When we finally got through customs it was another hour later - an adventure that reinforced how much we want to get Irish passports, a project for the week while we're here.  It was then a 3 hour drive to Feakle, County Claire, Ireland where my family stil lives.  On the drive, a third of which I slept through, I learned that "kill-" means "church of", so Killkenny means "church of Kenneth".  "Kil-" means "woods of", so Kilgore must mean woods of something, but we're not sure what.  We also drove across the River Shannon and saw so much beautiful greenery.  We might go back that way tomorrow for some sightseeing with another cousin before heading back to Dublin to pick up my sister; I'm very sad she couldn't be here for this because I know she would have loved it.  My mom says we'll just have to come back again!

When we arrived at my cousin's house, which has no street address because it's a town of 150 or so and mail just needs to have my cousin's name and the town's name, we were greeted by my cousin's wife, Margaret.   We enjoyed relaxing in the living room with the stove going and my other cousins showed up to greet us as well.  Margaret in the meantime cooked us an absolutely lovely dinner that just kept coming.  After dinner, we had real Irish Coffees in the loft, which is part of the house that my grandfather used to live in.  We enjoyed looking at the art on the walls and my mother started talking about the jewelry I  make and Margaret thought it was lovely; she's asked to commission me to make her some - we'll see how it goes because it's been a couple years now since I've made anything (I think the last was a wedding gift for my cousin Cher in Illinois).

It's amazing how at ease my cousins are making me feel.  I've felt more comfortable carrying on a conversation with them than with some of my closer relatives back in the states, but this might have to do with being older and less shy when I met them and the fact that even in the states my close relatives live thousands of miles away.  It wasn't overwhelming in the least to meet 4 cousins in an evening after a 24 hour journey, which really surprised me since I've known myself to be easily overwhelmed.

Tony and Margaret leave soon for a trip to Italy, and I'm already feeling like we won't have spent enough time together.  It's a lovely feeling to want to spend more time with people you just met.

Well, it's still dark out here, so I think I'm going to try to go back to sleep now (fingers crossed!).  Looking forward to updating as I can.  Enjoy when you can.

Ta athas orm.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Divine Inspiration

A ring on a finger
Makes a spoken-for woman
Use your own words
You say
So I speak your name
The one word that could sustain me
In the lack of all others
I read the lines of a
Writer unwritten in the words
You say
And how could I not spout
These verses
Spelled with the other C to my me
Late in the night to the beat
Of a squeak
But wait
Let me rephrase
Because this is not about coming
But becoming one
And I will speak for me
Through your tongue
Telephone kiss
Sans distortion because
Energy doesn't lie
And neither do tongues like ours
No more a writer without writing
Than a god to a bible
For whom my ink flows
This poet won't shut up
Because I'm spoken for

From January 25th 2012

This was in my drafts.  I guess if you're interested in what I was dealing with/thinking about 6 months ago it might be interesting.  And just so you know, I've been stretching since then and I'm much more flexible and very happy about that.  Read on if interested...

I'm trying to figure out how to deal with the abundance of emotion I've been feeling. It's overwhelming and mostly in a good way, but still it's hard to handle. I've gone from having the greatest day in months to the worst in almost as many... in the same day, for no obvious reason.

It's so wonderful to fall for someone sometimes. Like just letting go and melting in, collapsing and giving up all resistance. Like a good, deep, long stretch that you just surrender too. However, I've never been to good at emotional moderation. I think I may forget to warm up sometimes and I'm certainly not limber enough yet to just drop into my splits. I've been letting go and diving in, but I've been going too deep into these stretches - and they are stretches. I keep finding myself having a hard time breathing, tensing, doubting I can maintain such a stretch, and backing off.

It's so hard! Letting go and trusting my body (and heart) to handle the situation, the stretching, the growing is so hard. Often, when the potential of a new relationship presents itself, it is easy to follow this same pattern of over-stretching and recoiling, but usually the potential partner is there to reassure that the depth of stretching is mutual and sustainable and desirable. But what if they're not? I find myself continually petrified, frozen inside, terrified to move or breathe. So scared that I can't handle it or shouldn't go so far.

Perhaps this is better though. Perhaps it is keeping me from flinging myself into something with reckless abandon, which is probably a very good thing given the circumstances...

But, I feel so frustrated! So unable to relax, constantly changing my mind, full of half-completed swoons and expressions of love. About to burst from built up almosts. I need someone to tell me it's ok. To tell me it will be ok. To tell me I can throw myself into this if I so choose. Or to tell me that this frustration is normal and mutual.

I have so many needs right now. And that's what it boils down to. Needs that I don't feel it's fair to need someone for, especially not the person I really feel like I need for them. And that's the point of retraction. The point of sucking back in, of fearing. It's not fair for me to need this of you. You shouldn't have to deal with this. It should not be your burden to shoulder; you did not ask for this. In fact, you specifically noted that this was a possibility you did not want... or at least you acknowledged there are needs you can't meet from your current position. And that's not your fault. You don't deserve to have to deal with the needs or the guilt of not being able to deal with them. And thus I shouldn't have these needs (or so the logic goes).