if our hearts are never broken

I'm a storyteller.I may not do it well, or properly, or how anyone else does it, but it's what I do. Ten years ago, I wrote a letter to myself on my birthday, the first one. The birthday posts have always been my favorite to work through (likely because the navel-gazing-dial gets set to max). They are far too wordy, grammatical nightmares - just like my academic papers ding-dong! - filled with bonus adverbs and commas galore, random trains of thought that stagger off the tracks to wander aimlessly, endlessly, in circles. I know. I can give a masterclass in all the things wrong with me, and my writing, and what I do with this space. But for ten years (minus one) it's how and where I take stock of my life, privately, except for the part where I hit publish so it can outlive me to be mocked for generations to come. Telling stories has always been less about the story itself and more about the telling, what it teaches me about myself, the mirror that it holds up to my heart. I…

dreams do come true

Since I relocated to Indiana last fall for school, my husband and I have fallen into habits about how we keep in touch, all of which revolve around the puppies.  I FaceTime him when the boys eat, he FaceTimes me two hours later when the girls are patiently waiting for one of us to say, go ahead.  I get up early, here in the eastern time zone, and usually there are a few texts from him from the night before when I do, pictures of the girls curled up asleep, or funny things that they had done.   I feed the boys, head out to swim or run, and I'm usually making my own breakfast when the text pops up on my phone saying, good morning.
Wednesday.  I was about halfway through my 6am swim when I realized that there hadn't been any texts from him that morning, and I got a bad feeling.  I'm a worrywart by nature, but I couldn't shake it.  I kept swimming, more and more frantic, until finally I pulled myself up on the deck to dig my phone out of my bag and text him, just checking i…

one extraordinary voice

A year ago.  It seems a logical place to start.

Every October since we transplanted to Colorado, I’ve celebrated my birthday with a ride (and every year, I describe this day; please don't mind as I gaze lovingly at my navel for a while).  I step away from work and responsibility and the ping of the phone to wander the mountains alone on my bike, returning home late in the day, blown with wind and grit and sunshine and sweat.  Filthy, exuberant.  Sated.  
All these years.  I'd boogie through the shower to scrub off most of the dirt, blow-dry my hair, pull on the cowboy boots that constitute dressed up in Boulder and head out for a fall evening that has somehow always turned up delightful & perfect, crisp, cool, a black sky thrown with stars.  The day ends with red wine, far too much ice cream and the warmth of love laced with friendship; at this point (in my advancing age) it all blurs together into one soft memory of bracing sunlight, miles traveled over the earth, deep huma…

a tiny box of graham crackers

He came home at seven weeks old.
We had picked out several possible names for him, a whole list crowd-sourced from coworkers and friends.  None seemed to fit.  As we drove up I-95 through light snow, I tried them out.  Winston?  Kalai?  And then a few minutes later, off-handedly to the poet, he smells like a tiny box of graham crackers.  He said, Graham? and I said, with only slight irritation to my boyfriend of about two months, Did you just name my dog?!
He was sugar-cookie-sweet right off the bat.  He learned how to sit at eight weeks old, peed on the Christmas tree rug at nine, charmed my dad into remarking, dogs are so much better than kids at ten. I would say that he was mine but the truth is, I was his.  Madly, deeply, immediately, I belonged to him.
He got sick when he was two, and everyone saved him.  It changed us.  It is hopefully not a lie to say that it made me a better person and it is all because of Graham.  We gave back everything that had been given to us and kept giving…