If you could go back in time and meet your 16-year-old self…

what three things would you tell yourself?

Only 3 things?  Wow!

  1. Sweet Briar is a great college and you will have a terrific four years if you go there…but…look around New England a little more.  Can you get into Mt. Holyoke?  Is there a small college nearby that has a great teacher’s program?  And take some classes at Keene State over summers.  And if you do go to SBC?  Room with Candice in Manson your sophomore year.
  2. You have a condition called vulvodynia.  As soon as you graduate from college and Brattleboro Ob/Gyn opens in Brattleboro go see Dr. McBean and get her to fix you.  You will be so glad that you did in 2000.
  3. And that guy, that one that has the funny hair, he is going to have the part of the dad in Bye, Bye Birdie.  And in the future?  You will love him.  No seriously, stop laughing.  Really, you will.  Stop laughing!  You will love him. You will even want to have babies with him.  And they will be soooo cute.  But only if you remember the second thing I told you.

1000 Paper Cranes

Japanese lore suggests that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will come true. What would your wish be, and what would you be willing to do 1,000 times to get it?

Wishes.  I am one of those people who would wishes for 1000 more wishes.  I don’t like to make mistakes, and so often I am hesitant to put myself out there.  I don’t make phone calls; I don’t take chances; I don’t ask for help.  I am so afraid I will wish for something and then be sorry I didn’t wish for something else.  1000 more wishes would certainly cover that eventuality.  Although I am certain I will still find a way to mess it up.

I would wish to be pain free.  And for that, I would have sex with my husband 1000 times.

I would wish for a daughter.  And for that, I would play trucks with my son 100o times.

I would wish for more confidence.  And for that, I would speak in public 1000 times.

I would wish for a clean clutter free house.  And for that, I would scrub my toilets 1000 times.

I would wish for a marriage as long and great as my parents’.  And for that I would marry my husband 1000 times.

I would wish for tax payers to realize the importance of teachers and education.  And for that I would speak at 1000 town meetings.

I would wish for no more teen pregnancy.  And for that I would hand out 1000 condoms.

I would wish for affordable, plentiful, and wonderful childcare.  And for that, I would stay home 1000 days with my child.

I would wish for 1000 more wishes.  And for that, I would give them away to 1000 people.

If I had a million dollars…

You’ve just been given a million dollars. You are not allowed to keep it or give it to anyone you know personally. What do you do with it and why?

No one I know personally…hmmm…that’s hard.  I would have to give the money to someone I know, but for them to pass it on to a stranger.

I would love to give a bunch of money to my college to help a girl from New England go to college there.  I had such a great time at college, but I think college would be so much better if you didn’t have to worry about money.

I would give money to my Star Island conference to help pay for kids to come out to the youth conference.  I would specify it would be for kids who had never been out to the Island before.  That was another amazing experience of my youth and it costs 3 times as much now, 20 years later.

Lastly, I would give some to the NVA so they can find a cure.  I hate that other women have to go through the pain and stress I went through.   I would love to have had 2 children by now and have a normal marriage, but such was not my luck.  I was so lucky to be diagnosed at my third doctor (the average is 7) and find a man that is understanding and supportive.  I still hope for a pain-free life, but for now I am happy with the life I have.

Do you owe an apology to anyone? Why?

It’s probably not a very good apology if you say, “I am sorry you are so high maintenance and difficult to deal with I can no longer be friends with you.”

How about, “I am sorry your pettiness and immaturity caused me to choose others to be my friends”?

Or maybe, “I am sorry you blame me for your mistakes.”

Nope.  Those probably aren’t good apologies.

I do owe apologies -and thank you notes- to nearly everyone who got me or my baby something last spring and summer when he was born.  I was just so overwhelmed by life I didn’t write most of them and now it feels like it is too late.  I am going to get started on Christmas and birthday and then maybe work my way backwards.

I owe an apology to some of my former students for not doing a good enough job as their teacher to help them improve.  For not knowing enough to teach them better.  For being too embarrassed to ask for help.

I owe an apology to my son for being a crappy housekeeper and limiting the space he can crawl in.  For not moving him into his own bedroom until he was 11 months old.  For still not cleaning out that room.  For the pink rose wallpaper that is still on the walls.

To my friend who has passed away for not being a better friend.

To my friends I have lost touch with for not being better at keeping in touch.

To my body for not taking better care of it.

To my blog readers for being a poor blogger.

Sunday night blues

Today was a very long day.

This morning was rehearsal for next week’s Children’s Sunday program.  Bug and I watched the rehearsal and then ate pancakes with the girls.  It is hard to believe I have been there Sunday School teacher for 3 years.  I have known all of the girls since they were babies.  Now they are young women.  They are all so beautiful and strong.

We only stayed for the start of church.  A young friend sang the prelude (and several solos throughout the service).  As soon as the piano started Bug looked up and fought to see what was going on.  We were in the back and she was standing in the front.  I stood him up on my lap and he moved and clapped through the whole song.  I tried to keep him from yelling out, but that is like trying to catch the wind.  He gets so caught up in music.  He wiggles and dances.  He claps and tries to sing along.

We slipped out after the children’s sermon to have time to go to Wal*Mart to pick up photos and baby stuff.  Bug is teething again, but this time it actually seems to hurt him.  He is getting his bottom right 2nd tooth and probably his bottom right canine and bicuspid and something on the left.  He didn’t cry at all for the first 6 teeth (bottom two front in November and top four front in January) and now he is miserable.  I got him some chewy teething rings and numbing gel.  He hates the numbing gel to the point that he won’t even take his pacifier after because he thinks it is more yucky stuff, but the instant relief is palpable.  I also ended up buying a laminating machine for the book I am working on for his classroom.

Then it was back in the car for the 2 hour -that we thought would be 1.5- trip north to have lunch with our cousin.  She is actually our second cousin, but does it really matter? She is the oldest of our generation and my sister is the youngest.  They are 30 years apart!  She is a retired video editor from California and she only gets to Vermont once a year.  She graduated from Middlebury 40 years ago and teaches a course in video editing there every J-term.  This year she took a break from that, but came east for her reunion.  She is a fabulously brilliant woman and we always have a great time visiting with her.  Bug was smitten with her and she with him.  We had lunch at a lovely little place and the food was magnificent.  Then we just sat around and talked forever.  Soon enough it was time to head home.  Bug slept all the way home and was only awake long enough for some food and a bath.

And that is about how long I will last.

Cows on Parade

This was the 9th year of our annual Strolling of the Heifers.  We have been to every one, except the year of the thunderstorm, even I am not dedicated enough for that.  It may sound like the silliest parade ever, but it sure is popular.  Our town fills up with locals and out-of-towners, all to see over 60 heifers, plus dozens of goats, mules, sheep, oxen, Highland Cows, tons of school kids, dance groups, bands, jump ropers, local businesses, non-profit groups, theater companies, and a man in a ballgown.  I love the small town-ness of it all.  I don’t mind the traffic and the crowd.  It is something that makes Brattleboro different.  I know there are places that use the slogan “Keep Blankity-blank Weird”, but non of these places have anything on us.

Weekend plans


  • Gallery Walk tonight
  • dinner out
  • no bath for baby!


  • Strolling of the Heifers!!!!
  • Dairy Fest and Green Expo
  • early to bed after a long day


  • Sunday School (last day, after 3 years of teaching the same girls)
  • Church
  • long drive to Bradford
  • lunch with Bee
  • long drive home
  • early to bed

What’s your favorite poem?

If I Could Tell You

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose all the lions get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

W.H. Auden

When I was a senior in high school (1994) I went on a trip to London with my school.  I was in awe pretty much the whole time.  Not that I hadn’t traveled, I was just so in love with London I could hardly believe I was really there.  If I had had a digital camera I would have run out of space on my memory card the first day.  I especially loved riding the Underground.  After all I grew up in a town with a handful of elevators, a crappy bus system, and no escalators.

On the Underground I started to notice poetry in some of the ad spaces.  I didn’t know until way later (enter the advent of the internet) that this was a culture thing.

Poems on the Underground was launched in 1986. The programme was the brainchild of American writer Judith Chernaik, whose aim was to bring poetry to the wide ranging audience of passengers on the Underground.

All I knew was, I was seeing poems I hadn’t read before.  There was one that caught my eye and I wrote it in my journal.  I don’t know what it was that spoke to me in Auden’s words.  Maybe it was the repetition, maybe the odd rhyme scheme, maybe the message, but whatever it was I came home wanting to know more poetry by W.H. Auden.  It was a librarian friend who explained villanelle style poetry to me.  I tried to write poems in the same style, but I am a hopeless writer.  I got a book of his poetry and devoured it.  Four Weddings and a Funeral came out that same summer and featured another Auden poem that just about broke my heart.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.


The connections just keep coming.  The college I went to, Sweet Briar College, actually has an Auden collection in the library.  I don’t actually know what that means, because I was never brave enough to ask about it.

Looking back I wish my senior quote in my high school yearbook had been from another Auden poem, Leap Before You Look.

A solitude ten thousand fathoms deep
Sustains the bed on which we lie, my dear;
Although I love you, you will have to leap;
Our dream of safety has to disappear.

I would have just quoted the last line, but I put the whole final stanza here to give context.  I was so afraid to leave the safety of my hometown, my friends, the only house I ever really remembered (there had been an apartment until I was 3), my parents and my sister.  Virginia is a long way from Vermont in so many different ways.  And I really had to leap before I looked, or I might not have gone.  I am so glad I did.

I had no idea what I was going to experience in college or how it would shape my life.  I wanted all the answers up front, but they weren’t there for me.  To be trite, I had to let time be the one to tell me so.

If I could tell you, I would let you know