Archives for February 2012

Drafting plans

On my way to the hair salon, I walk by a large bank with four artfully arranged display windows. While banking and art make rather strange companions, I always look forward to the seasonal change in the display. I never try to make the connection between the two, the banking and the art, instead I simply enjoy the aesthetics. They are a little bit of beautiful in an otherwise logical and mathematical environment.

I had a hair appointment today, so I hopped off the tram eager to see what the new display would be for spring. Each window was arranged with dressmaker’s forms clothed in perfectly tailored architectural drafts. One wore a sport coat, another a parka and honeycomb scarf, with the loveliest paper-like fringe. One was dressed in everyday wear, and the pièce de résistance, a feminine form in a wedding dress with a full bustle and cluster of gathered paper at the shoulder. They were amazing and creative and probably made from something other than paper, but I loved each one.

As I passed by, those images stayed with me. Lines and graphs and numbers laid out in such a way as to create a plan, something that needed to be followed exactly in order to produce the desired outcome. Then that plan was bent, pulled, bunched and cut into the shape of something recognizable but infinitely more interesting than, say, four walls and a roof. No doubt, it was the dress that got me.

I’m learning to live this way; to walk around with a blueprint, a rough draft, some numbers and figures and ideas on a page. But, to allow for them to be manipulated into something more than I think they can be. I can’t live by a two year or a five year plan. Oh, I mentally draft them, but they are flat and tidy pieces of paper with some funny looking lines scratched into them. They don’t have the sweep and drape of a wedding dress. Or a honeycomb scarf with delicate fringe. And that right there is where I find freedom. There is a blue-print, a first, second and maybe even third draft.  But, it’s up to me to take what exists and fashion it into a wearable work of art, complete with gathers, folds and a cluster of something lovely on my right shoulder.

Do you find yourself stuck in drafting mode? Get out there and fashion a dress made out of your best laid plans. Take it in, let it out, simplify, ornament, create something astonishing with your life.

Five Minute Friday: Grit

Hello and happy Friday! It’s Five minute Friday and I’m joining Lisa-Jo at the Gypsy Mama. Won’t you join us?

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.

Today’s Prompt: Grit

…I’m learning can’t be found in the smooth places. It’s not on the swept up floors, or the wiped clean slate. Grit isn’t found in the spic and span, clean enough to eat off of surfaces. Not that I have any of those anyway.

It’s found in the crevices, in the down and dirty. Grit is tracked in and spilled out and in the places that send me running and looking for a place to hide. I find my grit in the place where I have to pull myself up by the proverbial boot straps. It gets in my shoes and in my pants so much so that it’s uncomfortable to sit down or stand up until I shake every last particle loose.

The grit, the dirt and grime, builds something in me. The desire to hide, to get rid of it at any cost, and it rubs me the wrong way. Just like that tiny piece of sand rubs that oyster so raw it produces a pearl. I want my grit to make a pearl. One that shines and shimmers and begs people to come closer for a second look because it is just so beautiful. And then they want a pearl of their own. But, I’ll tell them first that it takes grit. And it’s going to hurt a little bit, or maybe a lot, and you can’t shake it loose or your pearl gets lost with it.


Well, I’m off to read what everyone else wrote. I’d love to meet you there.

Taylor Swift has nothing to do with this

A while back I wrote an essay and sent it to NPR’s This I Believe. Last week it went up on the site. If you have a moment, head on over for a short spell and read my thoughts on how love and family life can capture our hearts in a way that makes them no longer our own. And then pop back in here again and let me know what you think.

*This essay has been known to make a grown man cry. Of course, he also cried over a Taylor Swift song, so I took it with a grain of salt. Also, I am not secretly referring to my husband. He doesn’t cry over Taylor Swift songs. Or my writing:)


All it took was two inches leftover from the last snowfall. A sunny afternoon. A pair of rain boots standing in for cold weather gear. Upside down mittens. A ‘yes’ from mom. A few two dollar sleds. And two kids with the imagination to make mountains out of molehills. Or small backyard hills, as it were.

A few tumbles and smiles later, and I remember that joy might simply be sitting in the back yard, waiting for me to come and play. 

Soul feast

This photo has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that it doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to throw-up. That’s my only criteria at this point in time. I feel like I’ve been living a scene out of the movie Contagion this week. Albeit, on a slightly less harrowing and life altering scale. Our ‘vacation’ week is almost over, and if vacating from everyday life is the goal, then I need a do-over. We’re falling like flies here, victims to some sort of bug that laughs in the face of Lysol antibacterial spray.

But, you didn’t come here to hear about my battle with the bug. While sitting around waiting for it to strike its next victim, I’ve taken the time to read some favorite blogs, a book, a few poems, and listen to some new music. I wish I took the time more often, really took the time to slow down and enjoy something nourishing. Too often I treat my soul to a steady diet of fast food, and it limps along bloated and dissatisfied. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, about feasting on things that nourish. I think, for me at least, it requires a simplifying, a cutting out of the extraneous nonsense that I fill up on and learning how to ‘be’ instead of ‘do’. Do you find that too?

I’ve found myself longing to live more simply, even in the everyday things. Our life is complicated and harder to navigate than most, the expat thing is exciting, but it’s no picnic in the countryside. And while this is the life we choose to live, I know there has to be a way to make time for soul-feasting within the current framework of our crazy life.

How do you make time? And when you do, what do you feast on? I’d really love to know!

I’ll go first:

Wishing you a wonderful, feast-filled weekend.

PS I don’t recall mentioning it, but I am now on Twitter. I know what you’re thinking. It’s one more thing adding to the noise of my life. Anyhow, I’m there, I tweet, I’d love to meet you! @KimberlyACoyle