Dear Ellen Bosserman,

I love you tons & tons :)

my coffee obsession

is out of control. really.
(polaroid by Zoe)

from a year ago, because I think of her all the time

Golden & bearing some French name,

they’re sitting on the shelves

in the bathroom, unused. Waiting.

We pack your room into foul brown boxes.

I want to burn your sweaters.

I want to pull them down over my shoulders.

All of it feels so ordinary- death. My pain.

Even those manufactured scents, your fear of their

discontinuation rather than what ended first.

This morning, a women in the grocery store

walked past & it was you -the smell

of imagined Parisian parlors, afternoon rose gardens.

I wanted her skin to fall

from her bones.

I wanted to curl inside her arms.

When I was young, you’d visit

& I’d cry as soon as you left.

Now I’m seven again.

I’m sitting in the guest closet, my head against

forgotten coats. Arm in arm, we’re exploring Arc de Triomphe

& I don’t have to miss you so much.

"in Spanish, it means too many letters"

It was a sunshine wonderland outside today. For much of the afternoon, I was feeling depressed that I was stuck working in a dimly lit coffee shop rather than on top of a mountain or swimming or having a picnic etc. But then I started reading "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros and fell in love. I literally read the whole thing cover to cover. It. is. so. good.

Maybe you've read it or heard about it (it's very popular, I'd just never gotten around to reading it until today). If you haven't, you need to go pick it up. The language is so beautiful it makes me want to cry. The way Cisneros writes is delicious...she has these long, indulgent sentences that run into each other and then these awesome jabbing stops of emotion that take your breath away. The book is about a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago and is written in short vignettes. There is so much going on in this small collection - the awkwardness of growing up, poverty, creating an image, abuse, education, religion, defining "home". Each story is steeped in some of the most brilliant imagery I've read in a long long time. I am so taken by this book and am left unable to stop thinking about it.

books + photos + YOU = a fun art project

You know how you have that rando collection of books sitting on your bedside table? Some of them are current reads that you carry around with you everywhere, others are books that lull you to sleep, and some may just be favorites that you like to stare at lovingly and couldn't stand to hide away on a book shelf. I'm sort of fascinated by what a strange, eclectic collection it becomes. And that fascination has led me to start a teeny tiny little art project, and I need your help!

Here's the deal: you've got your very own strange bedside collection. I know you do. If it isn't on a bedside table, you've got a weird stack by your favorite comfy chair, or to the left of the piano, or curled away in the den. So this is what I want you to do. Take a picture of it (see my example shot below, which is in poor quality because of my not-very-awesome camera phone and the fact that my actual camera broke). E-mail it to me at (or, to make it more convenient, if you've got a camera phone that works well, text it to me!) Then I'll collect them all up and make some sort of photo collage for this blog (and I'll maybe make some sort of guessing contest/game out of it too!)

I am also thinking of taking the images and making post cards or bookmarks or something. Whatever ends up happening, it's going to be great. So do it, because it will make me like you more :)

june 20, late night, the pond

have you ever snuggled up with eternity? I mean, have you let pieces of it lay against your skin? have you rested in the arms of this big-sweeping-concrete-daydream? have you let your shoulders sink into the chest of forever?

I'll tell you what it's like.

It's like sitting on the dock with some people you love and feeling your spine settle into the soft wood. Except, in eternity, you won't have a spine, but that is beside the point. It's like being on that dock and tilting your head back toward the end when the wood runs out and the pond starts. And it's like looking through your upside-down eyes and not really knowing what is water and what is sky.

And it's like playing guitar on that dock with a headlamp to read chords and you are singing with your friends. The words that come out don't have perfect tone, but they are perfect words. They are words like "you are my strength when I am weak" and "you've taken me from the miry clay" and "pure and holy, tried and true." They are praise, and they are leaping from your tongues and becoming firefly lights that make the trees around the pond look like they burning or covered in glitter.

And eternity feels like truth, the type you speak. The type like sharing in things that are hard or things that make you cry with laughter or make you remember. Forever feels like the things you say to someone because you love them. Forever feels like the things that are said to you because you are loved.

It isn't very quiet, eternity. It's got a few different voices and crickets and bullfrogs mixed in. It sounds sometimes like breeze or sticks crunching under a shoe or dogs barking far off.

...and god, it's gorgeous. It's just like thousands of stars above your head, some of them falling, some of them brighter than others, some of them making patterns and shapes you can dream up or learn from a book. And that could be cliche, the thought of forever looking like a bunch of stars. But it's not like that, because eternity is beautiful, and beauty is unique, isn't it?

the best part about eternity is how it sneaks up on you, on a sunday night when you weren't looking for it. It brings the reminder that you two have an old friendship. You've been together now since you were born, did you know that? Maybe you forgot. But each day (actually right now, that second right...there) is making it. Forever is making you.

Eternity is about worship and expanding colors and glittery, twinkling firefly lights. It's about loving and laughing and learning and several other words. You've got to know that it's the promise, it's exactly why you're alive.

have you got eyes for heaven?

look how they shine for you

It's a funny thing, when you look at yourself and realize how, in so many little and big ways, you resemble your parents. It was father's day yesterday (I know, duh), and I was thinking about how cool it is, that I am blessed to celebrate a father who I genuinely admire, who has been the most constant part of my life, and who I share so many things with. Sometimes I look at myself and think of all the parts that make me up that I like best: my love for big laughs and being goofy, a passion for writing, my desire for good conversation, for sharing and expression, even my INFJ personality type - and I am struck by how all of those things are direct reflections of my father. My brother is the one who looks just like him, but my dad and I, we've got matching souls.

oh, and an obsessive love for Coldplay. Thanks for that, too, Dad :)

so, it turns out...(and other life realizations)

...wax paper is not supposed to go in the oven.

...when a
Maya bug pees acid on your neck, the resulting scar looks an awful lot like a hickie.

...some old ladies
are worse at technology than I am. still perplexes me. As if the world cup wasn't confusing enough, now I have to figure out what a
vuvuzela is.

...congress is demanding that more nurses be hired in hospitals, which = a good thing.

...the Harry Potter-Sorcerer's Stone debate is still on-going.

...I wish I had an old type-writer and could sit at a window, Ewan McGregor/Moulin Rouge style, and write things all day.

...although it would take my dad about 15 seconds to psychoanalyze that Ke$ha has a substance abuse problem, the girl writes a catchy tune.

I kid you not

On my parent's book shelf in our den, I found this book:

...damn. I knew someone would write it before me.

cover me in music

I do love a good cover song. I've been listening to a few today and thought they were so good that it wouldn't be fair if I held back from sharing them with you. Hope you have a good dance party or cook a good meal or just lay back in a comfy rocking chair on the porch and count fireflies as you listen to these :)
musically yours,

library love

I lost my library card. I'm so depressed. I've had that thing since I was two (OK, I exaggerate. But it was really old and it still had that funny signature on the back because I got it before I could really sign my own name and it was so cute). So now I have to pay a whole DOLLAR to get a new one. Oh, and I owe $4.50 in fines, which is dumb. It was probably from when I was in middle school and would check out Babysitter Club or Sweet Valley High books or something, and then would always forget to return them. Now I have to pay for my adolescent irresponsibility (which I have so obviously rid myself of, just ask the UVa library.....sarcasm sarcasm) from ages ago. Lame. I'm left wondering if I will every out-grow my bad habit of returning books far past their due dates. (also, I notoriously destroy library drop them in the bathtub, or dog-ear all the pages, or write in them forgetting that I don't own them). Whoops.

Anyway, I walked over to our public library today to reacquaint myself with it, and also just because I'm getting SO excited for my (massive) list of books to read this summer. Here are the first ten I'm planning on diving into. Feel free to get at me with other suggestions, because even though I have about 1084093 million things to read, I always encourage new recommendations :)

Happy reading!

1) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (about a Greek family with a crazy secret. I'm actually more than 1/2 way in and it's a fascinating read. Also, it's a Pulitzer Prize winner, so I guess other people agree with me :) )

2) Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers (This anthology of several poets was recommended to me by one of my poetry teachers and I'm excited to dive into it! One of the editors, Mark Strand, put together The Making of a Poem, which is a Norton anthology that I LOVE, so I'm excited for this one!)

3) The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (No clue how I haven't read this yet, but tons of people have said it's fantastic)

4) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (This is the favorite book of one of my Manna friends, and seems like a really interesting topic. I believe it's set in Nazi Germany and the narrator is Death)

5) Same Kind of Different as Me by lots of randos I don't know (Again, suggested by a Manna friend. It's about a homeless drifter following slavery, and about the people who interact with him. Apparently I'll cry a million time during this book, and I can't wait)

6) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Basically, I'm going to try to get through as much as I can of this series. I've always wanted to re-read this now that I'm no longer a child and can appreciate the religious symbolism. Plus, these books just stinkin' rule)

7) The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (This is Picker's favorite book and I've been meaning to get to it for awhile. It's about a book a man wrote in a Polish village and the story of how it survived and affected a new set of characters years later)

8) Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (I had coffee with my friend Annie this morning and she ran into another friend and I creepily overheard her suggesting this book as a good read. I looked it up and it seems awesome. It's about turning oppression into opportunity for women, and about the role of sex-trafficking and forced prostitution in areas of poverty. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, so this book seems right up my alley)

9) The Return of the Prodigal Son: A story of homecoming by Henri J.M. Nouwen (Sounds great, and from what I hear, it's a bit of a memoir from Nouwen about his own spiritual journey that encompasses art, travel, huge realizations about God's love, etc.)

10) Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen (Really, all you have to do is look at this book cover to know that this is simply an indulgent, breezy, tweeny summer read...and gosh, do I LOVE it. I think Zoe and I still read every Sarah Dessen book as soon as it comes out, and since she hasn't come out with any recently, I'm forced to re-read this one, because it just wouldn't be summer without a little Dessen romance)

are you looking

for a Spanish ballad to sing into your hairbrush as you salsa dance around your room? Oh ok, good! because I have just the suggestion for you:

(it is very possible that I have been humming/singing/full out belting this when no one is home since I got back on thursday)

he does


oh HEY, I'm back.
So I missed Glee while I was in Nica, and OH MY GOODNESS. I caught up on the episodes I missed today (productive day, seeing as there were four of them I needed to watch, which = 4 hours of me sitting in a chair doing nothing but glue myself to my computer screen and occasionally get up at commercials to snag some cookies) GAHHHH IT WAS SO GOOD! I'm not ashamed to admit it - I cried at the finale. So much good music, and everyone just wants to be friends, and Finn said "I love you" to Rachel and I squealed for a good two minutes. Geez, I thought it was incredible!

Also, there were some hilarious lines. My favorite part was in the Lady GaGa episode when Figgins says that teens are coming down with "Twlight" fever and then it pans to this rando girl wearing a "Team Edward" shirt and fake fangs who goes, "This is totally going to get Robert Pattison's attention" and then she and all her friends swoop in to attack the nerd boy by his locker. You have to see it. It will leave you in stitches.

And one last thing: my friend Taylor sent me this video because she said it was made for me. It's cats reenacting this season in a minute. (ok, so yes, it does sound like something designed with me in mind)
It's pretty funny.
sorry I just spazzed about a television show, but YAY GLEE!