I didn’t mean to be gone so long. I meant to be gone longer.
But I can’t not-write. Rather, I can not-write on this blog, but the words still spill out in other places. Most notably my journal, which used to be full of art and doodles and ephemera, but is not filled with words and thoughts and ideas. Or into my patient husband’s ears, when my thoughts and ideas pour out like some babbling brook in spring.
Today, I read on Seth Godin’s blog: “Invisible is an option, of course. You can lay low, not speak up and make no difference to anyone…You’ll get no criticism, but no delight either.”
He’s right. And I love and hate that he’s right. That I’ve been laying low and hiding from criticism, which has only resulted in silence. I anticipate no applause or accolade for this obscure corner of the internet, but that was never why I wrote in the first place. I wrote because I must – because I write every day.
Anyway, if you’re still checking in here, I beg for your patience and kindness, though I don’t deserve it. Thank you. So much.
I’m going to take a vacation from this blog for a while, maybe forever.
Posting has been sporadic (to say the least) for the past year, and I’ve had a hard time deciding what to write about on this obscure corner of the internet. But it’s not just that…
It seems that I can’t write the things that are on my mind without hurting people I love or provoking their frustration and anger. I’ve self-censored my words to the point that I just can’t write here anymore. Not if I want to behave in love and kindness.
Being gentle with those you love sometimes means putting aside something that once brought you joy. Even if that something is an obscure corner of the internet that almost no one visits.
New & Improved! Now with more stuff on it!
- Drive a race car.
- Get a pilot’s license.
- Live on an island.
- Speak French fluently.
- And maybe Spanish, too.
- Go back to France.
- Make wine.
- Make homemade cheese(s). (1/30/10: ricotta)
- Visit New York. (8/5-8/10: BlogHer ’10)
- Take a helicopter tour of interior Maui.
- Ice skate.
- Replace my cheap wine glasses with fine glassware or crystal.
- Break out the china and silver for something mundane, like spaghetti or hamburgers.
- Travel to Java to see the volcanos.
- Learn to scuba dive.
- Write a novel.
- Learn to sail.
- Visit two dozen islands in the Caribbean. (Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel)
- Teach my nephews and nieces to drive a stick-shift.
- Visit the zoo, a really great zoo like San Diego or Fort Worth, with a child. (San Francisco Zoo w/ niece Dejohna)
- Hike into the Costa Rican Monteverde or Santa Elena Cloud Rain Forest.
- Take Handsome on a surprise, last-minute, exotic vacation.
- Touch the sandstone walls of Petra.
- Skinny-dip in a stranger’s pool while the entire family is out of town.
- Own a convertible.
- Begin drawing again, including art classes if necessary.
- Buy a little black dress.
- Celebrate the New Year in Paris, New York, Sydney, Rio de Janiero, London, and Dubai. (Paris 1998/1999 & 1999/2000 — Millennium! Awesome!)
- Go back to school to get the degree I never knew I wanted: English Literature.
- Find the perfect recipe for wonton soup.
- Make homemade marshmallows. (Christmas 2009)
- Learn to tango.
- Take drum lessons. (4/21/10: first lesson)
- Road-trip across the American Southwest. Drive Route 66. See Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon, Four Corners, etc.
- Witness the crab migration on Christmas Island.
- Upgrade my kitchen equipment. (2010: salt and pepper grinders, forged steel cutlery, heavy duty skillets, Oster blender, new toaster)
- Grow a kitchen garden, with tomatoes, herbs, squash, cucumber, salad greens, etc. (May 2010: planted tomatoes and herbs)
- Visit Knighton, Wales, UK.
- Learn to roller skate. (5/4/10: first time on skates in over two decades – did not fall!)
- And then learn to roller blade.
- Take a cemetery tour and a ghost tour in New Orleans.
- Spend the night in a haunted antebellum mansion.
- Buy coffee and end tables.
- Learn to make classic French sauces properly (including but not limited to: bearnaise, hollandaise, mornay, beurre blanc.)
- Ride a dozen (or more) roller coasters, each in a different state.
- Create and send care packages for no apparent reason. One a month for a year.
- Visit the New Seven Wonders of the World.
- See the Aurora Borealis. Take photos.
- Complete C25K and begin running on a regular basis, 3-4 times a week.
- Try two dozen gins, not including Sapphire, Tanqueray, or Hendrick’s.
- Organize the greenhouse to create a private retreat.
- Organize my shoes and handbags. Donate or toss any that I haven’t worn or used in more than a year.
- Speak at a conference for women bloggers.
- Find a favorite honey. (8/18/10: It’s not Pure Honey from CRM Apiaries. 9/8/11: We have a winner! Youngblood’s Natural Honey from Pearsall, TX.)
- Read one non-fiction or business book each month for a year.
- Spend a month living at the beach, without interrupting work. (12/10-1/11: Lived on North Padre Island for a month.)
- Design my home office space, including furniture for both work and comfort, as well as space for my drum kit. (5/11: Moved to a new house. Painted my office, purchased just the right furniture and decorated the space just for me.)
- Clean out the closet, donating all clothes that no longer fit, are out of fashion, or are no longer worn. Discard everything that is just plain worn out. Repeat annually or as needed. (During the move, we took several car-loads of clothes to the shelter, and we felt so much lighter for doing it. Will definitely repeat annually.)
- Attend Formula 1 when it comes to Austin.
- See my favorite band(s) outside the USA. (10/08: Rush in Milan, Italy.)
- Replace my point-and-shoot with a good, but not-too-expensive DSLR.
- Learn to use it.
- Plant a fruit tree and harvest its fruit. Give a bunch away to neighbors.
- Make jam. (8/11: Made prickly pear jelly from the cactus pears in my backyard.)
- Create a cook book for the Baptist Wine Club. Include no wines over $10.
- Self-publish that cook book and give copies to family and friends.
- Make more homemade truffles. (Christmas 2009 family favorites: Irish Cream, Amaretto, Kahlua.)
- Paint the patio floor. (5/11: The new house has stained concrete on the patio. I think this qualifies as a check-mark.)
- Become a better hostess. Including welcome gifts, toiletries kits, signature cocktails, weekend itineraries, menus, etc.
- Attend Camp Mighty.
- Redecorate the guest bedroom to create a relaxing retreat for our guests.
- Go on a silent retreat.
- Do a regular wine interview for the BWC.
- Learn to arrange flowers like a florist.
- Host a retreat.
- Compile an album of my doodle art.
- Cook a meal from my many cookbooks and food magazines, once a month for a year.
- Practice yoga every day for 30 days.
- Curate a slideshow for Kirtsy.
- Reorganize the pantry.
- Go horseback riding. On the beach.
- Spend a day at a spa.
- Learn to cook lamb.
- Create letterpress stationary.
- Play in the rain and splash in the puddles.
- Make a BWC vintage at Water to Wine, with custom labels. Give away a case as part of a charity fundraiser.
- Host a slumber party. Complete with girl movies, guilty snacks, lots of cocktails, and delivery pizza.
- Swing. On a swing set. Not the other kind, you dirty bird.
- Create a signature cocktail.
- Take tap-dance lessons.
- Make a lemon cake from scratch. Including the icing.
- Make middle-of-the-night pancakes with my husband. Stay up to watch the sun rise.
- Help a friend mark an item off their life list.
- Buy a set of every-day flatware, enough for 12-16 place settings.
- Stay in a thatch roofed hut over a lagoon.
- Spend another weekend at the Hilton Los Cabos.
- Write a hand written note to someone I love every day for thirty days.
- Watch a meteor shower in the desert.
- Camp out on the beach with my husband, at least once a year.
It’s no secret that Rush is my favorite band, and this one piece may be my absolute favorite among the 30+ years of music they have produced. This video, in particular, holds a special place in my heart, since we were there in Italy, in this audience, celebrating my husband’s 40th birthday.
And today, as a welcome rain quenches the thirsty earth of the Texas Hill Country, I’m especially grateful – for rain, for hope during a drought, for whispered prayers, for love.
In 2001, my birthday fell on Labor Day Monday. And my husband and I had arranged to spend the entire week in San Francisco with my in-laws. We flew home after a damn near perfect week spent in the city and the wine country, eating and drinking far more than is absolutely necessary. Our flight back to Austin returned us home on Saturday, September 8th, and I was scheduled to head to DC for business meetings the following afternoon.
On Sunday, September 9th, my husband begged me not to go. “I don’t feel good about you leaving. Reschedule the meetings. You don’t need to be there. It’s not important. Just stay here. Please. Please. Please, stay here.”
Of course, I didn’t. I flew into Dulles. Spent that night in a hotel near the airport, ate dinner alone.
Monday morning, September 10th, I attended what remains the worst business meeting of my life. I left a building in downtown DC in a state of befuddled confusion because what should have been a meeting to sign a deal turned into a schizophrenic tirade by an out-of-control entrepreneur. I was escorted by an apologetic company director who told me our dinner meeting was cancelled.
I checked my voice mail, only to learn that my Tuesday morning meeting near the Pentagon had also been cancelled. As I drove back out to Dulles, I got caught in a mid-day traffic jam. Looking around, I found myself on Pennsylvania Avenue, parked in front of the White House.
I was coming down with a cold.
I returned to my hotel and checked out, heading to the airport a day earlier than planned. My airline found a way to get me on a late flight out of Dulles, and the kind clerk upgraded me to first class to make up for what had been a shitty day.
I spent four hours in the airport, four sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching hours. I drank only orange juice on the flight home. I made it to our house just after midnight, in the wee early hours of Tuesday, September 11th.
We were up early to commute together to work the next day, but when we got to the office, it was chaos. My sales director was scrambling to reach New York; his best friend worked in one of those towers. About an hour later, our CEO sent everyone home.
My husband and I went to church. Where we sat in the dark of the sanctuary and watched this horror unfold on a pair of big-screens that normally only projected lyrics to worship songs. And we weeped and held each other and waited for the other shoe to drop.
And in the loudest silence of this life, my beloved whispered, “I’m so glad you came home early.”