Archives for July 2013

Home sweet home


Dear Friends,

Thanks for understanding the current state of things, and my too-long absence from this space this summer. I miss meeting you here. I also miss knowing where to find my household goods and using a working washer/dryer and my two big kids who traveled to sleep-away camp this week. I miss free time too, and maid service at the hotel. Yesterday, the toilet overflowed while in use by one family member. Said family member’s shorts got wet with toilet water, and this individual simply dropped their dirty, water-soaked shorts, and left them on the floor for me to find the next day. Oh yes, I’ve missed the perks of home ownership.

The house is a tower of boxes, my very own tower of Babel. Why have I purchased so much stuff? It’s like I’m trying to reach the heavens with it, box by box. I suppose this is what happens when you move entire households across countries five times in thirteen years. This is also what happens when you marry someone who has a new burning passion/hobby every other month, and you fight your own personal addiction to tchochkes. I found scuba gear, a bow and arrow set, and approximately 327 candlesticks. It’s a sickness.

I find myself wanting to strip it all down, take everything to the bare bones, and create a small space of quiet in the middle of this house-moving hurricane. This weekend, I attended a writer’s conference, and I had the pleasure of meeting with Emily Freeman and a number of writer friends from her blog. She asked us where we find ourselves right now, at this moment in time. She said “Imagine the YOU ARE HERE dot on the mall map. Where are you right now?” And I said I’m in the eye of the hurricane, and the furniture, the paperwork, and the some-day book are whirling around in the air while I stand still in the middle. In all of the chaos, and the anxiety-inducing amount of work, I stand there and I feel satisfied. It’s the only way I know how to say it. Satisfied with our decision. Satisfied with our home. Satisfied with the outcomes, the changes, the new/old life. Satisfied with the way the dirt collects on the hardwood floor and the water seeps from the toilet and the list of to-do’s growing ever longer. It is so very good to know one’s place and one’s calling, and to lean into it.

Much love,



What are you leaning into right now? Where are you feeling satisfied or dissatisfied with life?

Cultures collide or Five minute Friday: Belong


**I’m linking this post from Wednesday up to Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday prompt: Belong. And while it did take more than five minutes, I can’t think of another way to write about belonging than to say this…

I suppress the urge to say “Danke” every day. I suppress my “Ja” and “Nein” and the ingrained instinct to constantly shush people in public. The Swiss are so very quiet. They shush people on the train and at the cinema with alarming regularity. My kids are now the quietest American children you’ve ever met. I can’t complain.

We Americans move and shout and talk louder than I remember. We’re more prone to dropping profanity in heightened conversation with little ears listening, but that might just be my Jersey talking. We talk big and eat big and shop BIG. We consume, and so much of our food/entertainment/cheap goods aren’t worth consuming. The amount of advertising for new products overwhelms me after three years of limited commercial interruptions. So does the cereal aisle.

Despite this, it is good to be here. Here is home, right down to my very bones. This northeastern earth is the dirt I can’t scrub out from underneath my fingernails. It’s sweltering summer days and red-tipped leaves burning like fire throughout autumn. It’s winter white and chartreuse spring, and it is where I feel most free, most me. It’s wrapped itself into the double helix strands of my DNA.

We move into our house next week, and I will set about making it into a home. I will stock the shelves and make the beds and overcook our dinners. I will consume like the good American I am, but I will start with the peaches and cream sunset sky. I will collect the flowers from the garden, and gather the fallen leaves from the ground. I will pluck the stars from the sky. I will make mounds of the earth, filling up on the sweetness of the soil. And the taste of it will linger.


Thanks so much for reading here today. I’d love to know what patch of earth makes you feel as if you belong?



Summers are hard on mothers and writers. They’re especially hard if you’re a mama writer living in a hotel room with three little people and a deadline. As I may have mentioned a time or twenty, I have plans to attend a writer’s conference at the end of July, the very same week we move into our new home. (I court the chaos, it’s like a sickness.) At the conference, I will meet with a few editors and pitch a new book, one that’s knocked about in my head and heart for about a year now. Unfortunately, I need more than the few thoughts I have rattling around, and I am in the process of pulling together a book proposal. Thousands and thousands of words plucked from the air, and put down on paper. My current life situation isn’t really conducive to this sort of project.

My mother-in-law, perhaps sensing I would need a Xanax IV drip if I didn’t get some peace and quiet to write, kindly offered/was volunteered by my long-suffering husband to keep the kids for a few days. I packed my bags and holed up on the fifth floor of a hotel room overlooking a Maggiano’s restaurant, and I’m typing the hours away. When my husband returns to the room after work each day, he asks how the proposal is coming along, and my brain is a fuzz of caffeine and swirling letters. I try to sound positive, but it usually comes out in a mumble of incoherent words. I think he secretly suspects me of catching up on talk shows all day. Oprah at four, Maury at five.

All of this to say, I am here. I am writing. I feel simultaneously in love with and disgusted by my own stories. Send help. Or caffeine. Maybe chocolate?

It is good, hard work. I feel my muscles stretching, a settling into the rhythm of words like a runner settles into their footfall on the path. Tomorrow I return to the Mama me, the keeper of hearts and small hands and the key to the candy cabinet. But today, I am the writer me, the runner me, the one set free from the tyranny of summer vacation.


If you had four days to yourself without kids, work, or other obligations, what would you do?

Five minute friday: Beautiful

Hello, Friends. Welcome back for another Friday spent with Lisa-Jo and the Five-minute crowd. Today, we’re taking five minutes to write on the prompt Beautiful. Do you have five minutes to write, read, or both? Why don’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. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

Today’s Prompt: Beautiful


We are at the beach and there are girls everywhere. Bronzed, long haired, buxom girls in bikinis. They walk confident in their skin, aware of the swing in their long hair and the sway of their tiny hips. Young mothers walk around here too, with their smooth skin and seemingly ageless beauty. They’ve forgotten a little of how to make their hair swing so they wear it tied up and knotted, but they’ve got the hip swaying down to a comfortable science. Toddlers and babies hanging on either side, moving to the rhythm of the ocean breeze.

None of them really believe what is coming. How the lines will begin to hug their eyes and their mouths, how the tight, bronze bodies will begin to give way and become looser, freer, more willing to soften to the years. They don’t know about the miles their feet will walk, the way their bodies will change shape and rearrange itself around each new child it carries, they don’t know that all of the laughter and tears and hollering after kids will leave echoes of beauty all over their skin.


Where are you finding beauty today? I’d love to hear…

Eating words and more

photo-3 copy

Let’s chat summer. And books. And fun things you’re into. When we’re not getting on each other’s nerves and catching up on doctor’s appointments, the kids and I are having a fabulous time catching up on all the things we miss about the USA. Namely shopping, ridiculously large portions of unhealthy food, movies without subtitles, and books. Glorious, delicious, life-giving, hold in your hand books. I prefer to eat words over food any day.

This afternoon, we sat at a red light with a trunk full of new books and bellies full of Panera Bread, and we watched the clouds blow by in white puffy chains. Satisfaction ran its fingers through my hair, and the kids and I  looked at each other and smiled the smiles of those who know what it means to fall headlong into a story.

The plan is to smuggle as many volumes as possible past my discerning husband into suitcases packed for a short trip to the beach. Books, beach, what could be better to usher summer in? I finished Eat Pray Love after many stops and starts over the last few weeks, and I plan to start a series of books I bought mostly based on the cover art. Probably not the most literary method, but there you have it. Summer reading at it’s finest.

What’s on your list of to-do, see, and read this summer? My first stop will be the frozen yogurt shop on the Boardwalk. I’ve missed the decidedly American combination of chocolate and peanut butter. How about you?