tell it to me tuesday – a bag am i

Image courtesy of Andrew Welch

Today I am a guitar case.
No frills, no stickers,

No lockets or bows.
A simple brown jacket
All zipped up tight.
Inside, there is a song
I would sing,
if I could.
If someone took me out
And strummed my strings
I’d play notes sweet, sour,
melancholy, discordant and bright.
But I am closed up.
Zipped up,
and put away.
And no one will play me.
No, not today.

If you were a bag, what bag would you be?

Next week’s challenge: Tell a story that ends with the words “coffee shop.”

tell it to me tuesday – 10 minute free write

I had a wonderful birthday and I’me thinking of luggage and flowers and vintage and fabrics. I’me feeling inspired and relieved, contrary and perniculous. I don’t know why I’me saying such things but the words pop in my head and what am I to do? There’s so much work to do tomorrow fbut for the moment, I’me relaxing. We watched Stand By Me and Toby said he didn’t like the name of the movie it was too romantic. But I think it draws more attention to the relationship between the boys than Stephen King’s title “The Body”. But we ate so much this weekend and the food was so good. And it really was good to have my parents in town. I really am lucky to be close to them. I know many people aren’t close to their parents the way I am. They have given me lots of things to think about in Thailand. But mostly they’re easing me from having too many thoughts. I guess that’s why I said I’me feeling contrary. So many mixed thoughts and feelings. So much running around, throwing around. Colliding around in my skull. I need to take a breathe. I need to breathe. It’s too hard to breathe with too mch shite on top of your head. But I’me getting out. I will get out. Just a little while longer. Toby said it’s been too long since I’ve really just sat back and enjoyed where I am in life. And it made me want to cry. Because it’s true. I need to get to that place. I need to take a step back and just get to a place where I can just enjoy. Enjoy enjoy enjoy enjoy enjoy. Like chocolate cake and raspberries. Like birthdays and vintage. Like stickers and snowmen. Pastries. Swimming pools and margaritas. What time is it? 3:47 left. I’me staring at the screen and The Yellow Suitcase is in the back of my mind. I want to do more research. I want to flesh out the ideas for my next book. Japan. Picture brides. Home. But I must wait. Just a little more. Then I can focus. I just have to get to a space where I can let myself focus. Like my dad says. When am I going to get these monkeys off my back? Time to get rid of the self-imposed monkeys. Fuck the monkeys. Pardon my French. So let’s sew. I’ve got some great fabrics. I just got to get rid of my fear of making a mistake. Nothing lost if I mess up. Just learn. Learn to have patience. One step at a time. One step at a time. I’ve never been good at that…I need to practice one step at a time. Then I won’t be so scattered. I’me so scattered. So scattered.

You’ve got 10 minutes. Don’t think. Just write. No holds barred.

Then just post the link in the comments below!

Next week’s challenge: “If I were a bag of some sort, I would be a…”
Fancy purse? A backpack? Reusable? What would you carry?

tell it to me tuesday – a tour of the neighborhood

Hi all! I’m sorry Tell It To Me Tuesday is up a little late today. We were up in the Bay area this weekend and didn’t get home until 12:30 last night. It was a wonderful weekend (more on that later) and I want to thank everyone for their lovely kind words in my melancholic state. I have such amazing people in my life, how can one really be in a funk when surrounded by such goodness? I suspect the funk is still lurking in there somewhere but I’m ignoring it – which is easy enough to do when I’m busy enjoying the company of people I love.

But right now I want to show you some of my favorite things about where I live. So let’s take a walk through the neighborhood.

Here’s my front door. Hello front door!
Our house is an apartment, but it has its own house number and that makes us feel a little more grown up. But it’s not free-standing. It just curves around to other apartments, like so.

But as we wander around the neighborhood, I’ll show you what I love most.

It’s these little cottage-style houses.

I suppose I’m not using the right lens for these guys…but anyway. They’re cute. And each one is so different!

I could seriously make a photo book of the different houses and none of them would look the same.
I love the variety of character. I could spend hours looking at these houses. But then everyone would think they have a crazy stalker lady for a neighbor. It’s only partly true. I stalk architecture.

Sure, Santa Barbara has the fancy-schmancy houses like these:

And those are kind of the medium houses. There are bigger ones further on up the hill, all of which have ocean views, mind you. And that’s not even getting into Montecito. I’ve driven by Oprah’s house once or twice. Of course, “driven by” is kind of relative when houses have crazy long driveways and you need a golf cart to get from the front gate to the front door.

But they don’t have the charm of the little cottages. I mean, how can you resist a place with a fairytale front gate like this?

It’s the little things I love. Like bougainvillea spilling over.

Take us on a tour! Of your room, your house, your neighborhood, your work, your world. Whatever you want to show us, and just post the link in the comments below.

Next week’s challenge: 10 minute free write
Get your creative juices flowing and do a 10-minute free write. We who write blogs are so busy writing for an audience, we rarely write for ourselves. So this week’s challenge is to write for no audience. Just set a timer and write. Then, if you dare, share. Unedited.

*Okay, you can edit for privacy’s sake. But not for the sake of spelling or grammar or better writing! See? Challenge.

tell it to me tuesday – i worry about…

…the health of loved ones.

…my ability to get where I want to go.

…whether I’m in tune with myself or whether I’m scattering.

…being on time.

…little things.

…whether I’ll be any good.

…what happens when things break between loved ones.

…people in my heart, even if I never let on.

…some things, but thankfully, not too much.

What do you worry about?
Join in with a comment or a link to your blog post in the comments section below. Share your worries with us – as detailed or as abstract as you care to go. Then…take a deep breath, close your eyes, listen to the silence, and let it go.

Even if it’s only for a moment. Sometimes a burden is easier to carry if you set it down from time to time. Sometimes, if you set it down, you find you don’t need to pick it back up again.

“Worry is like a rocking chair. It keeps you busy, but gets you nowhere.” ~ Author Unknown

Next week’s challenge: Take us on a tour
Take us on a tour (photos would be great!) of a place you’re connected to: your kitchen, your home, your neighborhood, your work, your favorite shops, your place of peace. Can be anything!

tell it to me tuesday – favorite quotes

Words are powerful, in their ability to inspire as well as encapsulate our lives. I love books with beautiful lines and I love to collect my favorites. Here are some quotes I find inspiring, or that have been meaningful to me:

“None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. I am because other people are.”
– Desmond Tutu

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”
–Pema Chodron

“I needed to experience despair…in order to experience grace.”
–Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse

“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that’s all there is: love and its duty, sorrow and its truth. In the end that’s all we have – to hold on tight until the dawn.”
– Shantaram, David Gregory Roberts

“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.”
–Shantaram, David Gregory Roberts

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
– Abraham Lincoln

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

“A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary.”
–Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Are there any quotes that have been important to you?

I’m annoyed with Mr. Linky, so just post the address/link to your blog post in the comments section below. I’m pretty sure it should automatically create a link.

Next week’s challenge: Complete this phrase: “I’m worried that…”

tell it to me tuesday – if i were a fashion designer

Ok, I have to interrupt this regularly scheduled post to tell you I just had an idea tonight that was most truly inspired. Are you ready? Picture this: moist, cakey, rich chocolate brownies…filled with raspberries and raspberry liqueur. Are you not intrigued? Because I mean, really. Is there anything better on this planet than chocolate and raspberries? I think not. My hubby ate two. And I’ve never seen him eat two brownies in one sitting (actually, come of think of it, I think he ate three…). Alas, I did not document the process. Tell me you are intrigued though. Because if you are, I just might have to make them again and share the recipe, complete with photos.

All right back to Tell It To Me Tuesday.

If I were a fashion designer, I would totally bring back flat wedge penny loafers.

What are they you ask? Well, they look like normal penny loafers, along the lines of these:
Except these aren't comfy. These are the devil.But they have wedges for added height.

But not wedges like these:
Found on 6pm.comFlat ones. Basically two and a half inch platforms – without the sloping high heel.

I had a pair of such shoes. I bought them when I was a teenager – and for about $20 at Payless! And they lasted for years! They were perfect for the office because they dressed up well with slacks and give me the added height. And let’s face it. At 5-naught, I can use all the help I can get. But they were also comfy. I could walk around in them all day without a care in the world. And wear them again the next day. To me, they were the ultimate shoe: cute, classy and comfy all in one. No more compromises between cute and comfort. No more blisters so my slacks don’t drag. No more worry about hemming everything I own because even the “petites” are too long for me. It was bliss.

And then, one day, they fell apart on me. Because, duh, they were from Payless after all and I had put them through quite the long hard slog. I didn’t think much of it at the time, figuring I would just find a similar pair.


I have looked. For years. Praying each season someone somewhere would sell them. Wedges are back, with a vengeance. But is high-heeled. And my feet are delicate. I get blisters in sneakers if I walk around for more than 4 hours in them.

It’s tragic, really.

But if I ever meet a cobbler one of these days, I’ll make him cobble me some 2-inch platform, flat wedge penny loafers.

If you were a fashion designer, what would you bring into style?

Next week’s challenge: Your favorite quote(s) for inspiration

Tell It To Me Tuesday – 10 Reasons I Love…

10 Reasons I Love My Husband
Mein Mann

  1. He makes me laugh, even when I’m busy trying to get a serious mope on.
  2. He is generous with people he loves and with those in need.
  3. He is both adventurous and cautious. He loves a thrill, but he calculates his risks before taking them.
  4. He loves food and he gets bonus points for thinking my panang curry is better than my mom’s.
  5. He’s really good at indulging my whims – which is good, because I have many.
  6. He makes resolving problems remarkably easy because he listens and he’s open, and pretty dang smart too.
  7. I love the way he carries himself: it’s kind of a masculine, unselfconscious grace that almost reminds me of a lion. I think it’s sexy.
  8. He’s bringing back old school manliness – a trait sadly undervalued and underrepresented these days. (If you’re not sure what I mean by this, check out these sites: The Art of Manliness and Rules For My Unborn Son)
  9. He thinks learning is cool. He gets curious about things and then goes off to learn about it in depth, files it away into memory, then moves on to the next topic.
  10. I thought of many recent moments that made me feel all warm and squishy inside, but none are safe for public consumption. When I mentioned this to him, he choked on his coffee and then looked both proud and flattered.

So, my love, this is for you: “ih”.

What are your 10 reasons to love who you love?


Next week’s challenge: If I were a fashion designer, I’d totally bring back…

tell it to me tuesday – my worst fear

There is no mistaking that little bright blue line. I slump down, disbelieving, to the cold, tiled bathroom floor. I stare at the little wand in my hand and I feel a tightness come over me. I want to cry, but my whole body has gone numb. Cold.

But I took every pill faithfully! my mind screams. I followed every direction. I took extra care. I did far more than most – and yet I am the one to carry. I was that .001% chance. I was the one for whom the precautions failed.

Days pass but I cannot bring myself to do what I know I must do. I am ill in the mornings, but I can never seem to purge myself of everything I wish I could. There is still something so deep it cannot come out.

I do not return any phone calls. I don’t answer when my boyfriend comes to the door. I ignore the concerned voices of my roommates. I slip into a cocoon to hide. To talk to anyone would be to make this real. Telling them of this would make it a reality I must face. Talking to them without telling them of this would make it a lie I must carry. But here in my cocoon, I can still pretend it has not happened.

But even that pretense cannot last.

The inexorable march of time means the day comes all too soon. There comes a moment when it is no longer possible to hide. I walk, with heavy feet, up the steps to my parents’ front door. My heart weighs more than my entire being.

They greet me with warm embraces. But then they pull away, concerned, when they see the truth in my eyes.

“There is something I have to tell you.” The words tumble from my mouth, but the buzzing in my ears is too loud. Tears stream from my eyes, blinding me, but still I see the looks on the face of my mother and father. These two strong, incredible people who have sacrificed everything to give me a better life, who have scrimped and saved to give me an education and opportunities, and who had grand hopes for the woman they would see me become.

All of that is squandered.

In the silence that follows, I know they are building up the courage to say it will all be fine; that we will find a way through this, that they will stand by me and still love me. It would take time and tears, but they would never forsake me.

But that is not the heart of the pain I carry. My pain remains, for the moment that I feared most has come to pass: the look on my parents’ face. The look that tells of their disappointment; that I have hurt them in the worst way possible – and yet they still love me. In that moment lies the worst of all: my shame.


This tale is a work of fiction. It tells of what would happen if my worst fears were realized. Getting pregnant is not a fear I have anymore, of course, now that I am married and am ready to start a family. But what it says about me is still true today. It used to be that my worst fear was getting pregnant. But when I follow the consequences through, I discover that underneath that fear was something deeper: a fear of shame and of disappointing my parents.

But that also tells me something else: what matters to me most is to never be the cause of hurt to those I love. Sometimes knowing your deepest fears helps you find the core of your heart and that is where you also find hope. Hope and fear, after all, are but two sides of the same coin.

What would happen if your worst fear would come to pass? How does that story play out in your mind’s eye? When you play that story out, do you discover something new about yourself?

Next week’s challenge: Write 10 reasons why you love the person you love

For Bonus Points: tell a story about a moment that made you remember your love for this person (+2 if you’ve been mad at them lately)

tell it to me tuesday – if i could travel in time

There should have been dinosaurs in the Victorian era.I would travel back to biblical times, to early civilizations. I’m not nostalgic about it, but I think I could learn from it. For the most part, life would be hard. And I have no romantic notions of what it was like for women: to own no real property of your own, to have to be completely subservient to the men of the household, to face the threat of ostracism or death for displeasing the wrong person. And everyone faced harsher times, greater threat of starvation, and greater chances of succumbing to disease.

But, for a short period, it would also be refreshing to go somewhere where we’re not surrounded by things. We live surrounded by so much abundance, but we (or I, at least) almost never see it. If I were to sit down and try to count every little item that I own personally, it would probably take days. Yet, I don’t feel I have that much – certainly less than others. And when I go shopping, there are always things I can find to desire.

It just makes me wonder: what would it be like to look around me and see that all the items I own were ones I made with my own hands? What would it be like if I had only one, or at most, two outfits to wear, instead of changing clothes every day? (I’d certainly spend less time in front of the mirror trying to decide what to wear.) What would it be like to grow my own food, raise my own cattle, harvest and slaughter and cook, with my own two hands? (True, I don’t necessarily need to go back in time to do that…but I would, to enter a state where there were no other options.)

And I think, what would it be like to have family not only be the center but also be your entire universe? To have your days filled with common chores. To have all your aunts and sisters and cousins around you working together to make things. What would it be like to create everything we consume?

In part, I think it would be powerful, empowering, humbling, and lovely. But I also think it would really make me appreciate what I do have when I came back to this time and this place. I do appreciate what I have on some levels, but this would add a whole new dimension.

Maybe we can no longer really live in a place where we create everything we consume. But it might be worthwhile to try to create more than we consume. Or, at the very least, be more mindful of how much we consume versus how much we create. I hope when I do leave this earth, I’ll not have just used, but I’ll also have given. I hope, when I leave, I leave behind something worth the space I have taken.

What would you do, if you could travel in time?

TITMTThe Rules
You can respond in any way you choose. You can give a fictional response or a true one. You can use words, sentences, and/or photographs. If you have a blog, you can link it with Mr. Linky below. Please be sure to include “Tell It To Me Tuesdays” in the post, and link back to this post. Feel free to use the “Tell It To Me Tuesday” button available to the right. If you don’t have a blog, but want to join in, you can just leave a comment. Please follow the rules. I don’t want to have to delete links. I like links! Don’t make me delete them.

Next week’s challenge: My worst fear and its consequences
If you want to take on an extra challenge, try to write a story in which you don’t tell us explicitly what your worst fear is, but you play out in your head and through words what would happen if your worst fear was realized. We just might surprise ourselves with what we find here.

it all started…

…with a declaration of independence. I read Inga Muscio’s book, “Cunt: A Declaration of Independence”. I was awakened. I was intrigued. Mostly, I just thought I would take her challenge: read books only by women authors for one year. Seemed innocuous enough.

Little did I know it would send my life catapulting down the road I now travel. This road of writing, traveling, giving, and mentoring. It’s not quite anything close to how I used to envision how my life would turn out. But somehow it’s better than anything I could have ever envisioned before.

It’s amazing, this butterfly effect. How one tiny action, one seemingly simple little moment cascades into a tumbling waterfall of moments that snatch you – sometimes willingly, sometimes completely unawares – down a river you might never have known you’d traverse.

A declaration of independence. I’m actually quite struck by how apropos that is. I began with a book by that title, not by any design of my own.

But when I look back, I see this is what I’m doing: I’m declaring independence.

I’m declaring my freedom to choose a path less traveled.

I’m declaring my independence from fear. From “should”. And from other people’s rules.

I’m declaring my independence from “I wish I could” and exchanging it for “I Will.”

I Am.

I. Am. Me.


Where or when did it all start for you?

The Rules
You can respond in any way you choose. You can give a fictional response or a true one. You can use words, sentences, and/or photographs. If you have a blog, you can link it with Mr. Linky below. Please be sure to include “Tell It To Me Tuesdays” in the post, and link back to this post. Feel free to use the “Tell It To Me Tuesday” button available to the right. If you don’t have a blog, but want to join in, you can just leave a comment. Please follow the rules. I don’t want to have to delete links. I like links! Don’t make me delete them.

Next week’s challenge: “If I could travel in time…”

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