Thrank you

“Thrank you” - an expression of gratitude issued when [Child] complies with a requirement at the last moment at which it is possible to avoid a negative consequence.

Example usage: “[Child], there is a small mountain of toothpaste on your toothbrush. Stop adding toothpaste. Seriously, stop. Now. One… two… thr- ank you.”

Reflections from down the road

We walk through our lives backwards. Too often we have our eyes fixed on the experiences we have already passed, as we go stumbling into unanticipated obstacles heels first. Our mortal selves cannot turn around. We are reliant on our spiritual senses to visualize the clear course through the unseen. Our souls can see what our flesh does not: a path to a future that has already been.

I love you, therefore you are lovable

Chalk the long outage up to rather unexpectedly moving. Like, wasn’t really thinking about it, and then BOOM we’re moving. Chaos aside, we are settling in pretty well and there are a lot of great things that have come out of the process.

And now it’s time for a whimsical positivity break.

If you feel like you’re in trouble
remember
I love you, therefore you are lovable

If you feel forgotten and miserable
remember
I see you, therefore you are visible

When you can’t get two and two to make four
Start with four, and then find three and one
Sometimes it’s easier to see what you have
When you know where you’ll be when you’re done

Operation Notetaker

Hi, my name is Jane, and I take notes.

It started simply enough, with learning to take precise bullet-list style notes in 6th grade social studies. I remember that the paper was longer than the usual 8.5 x 11, and that everything I absorbed during class was meticulously organized on those oh-so-long pages. My lack of enthusiasm about the subject matter and instruction style faded to unimportance.

I was hooked.

In 7th grade I started taking notes on my life (because what else is a diary, really). Sometime in high school, "diaries" morphed into "books of random thought" and ultimately settled into "journals" - and it didn't stop there. Outside of class, I took notes on library books, computer game solutions, religion, and worlds upon invented worlds.

In college I began using my notetaking powers for Awesome when I joined a few roleplaying groups. Once my habit made itself glaringly apparent, game sessions often began with: "So Jane, where did we leave off last week?" Also there was this one day when I was exhausted from an all-nighter and fell asleep during class... but kept writing. I discovered upon jolting awake that I'd had a brief but flavorful dream about purple zebras.

Obsessive notetaking for almost 25 years ends up looking something like this:

Questioning my sanity is old hat at this point.

Questioning my sanity is old hat at this point.

That's RPG notes and journals only - no academics. And no filler in those piles. It's turtles all the way down.

A couple weeks ago, I unearthed the diaries and journals, and -- as I have on previous occasions -- wondered why I was still holding onto them. Truly, I cannot think of a more awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing era of my life than 7th to 10th grade. I was hypersensitive to criticism, perceived indifference and carelessness as hostility, and withdrew deep into myself as a defense mechanism. I felt adrift in a choppy sea of inscrutable social interactions. And while I myself desperately wanted to be understood, I had no idea how to make that happen and little faith that it ever would.

These threadbare sentiments and conclusions drifted through my head as I flipped through the linguistic snapshots of late middle school. And then the critical analysis part of my mind flared to life, and I noticed something that I hadn't before: those harsh, confusing moments that have loomed so large, so long in my memory were really rare.

I wondered if I was really seeing what I thought. I scanned through probably three times to make sure, and could not dispute the conclusion. I had written something, even if just a sentence, every single day for probably two years. Most days were varying degrees of routine, regularly spiced up by friends and new experiences. In an entire year of notes, I could count the noteworthy negative days on one hand. The way those few memories reverberated forward is doubtless reflective of various intriguing properties of human learning, but that's not my point. Getting to look over a fairly complete data set with the benefit of a mature perspective is a powerful opportunity to recognize the Actual Size of the bad. The stand-out problem days were few and far between, and the ambient malaise that picked up in later entries is directly attributable to hormonal shifts, amplified by medical conditions that I did not then have the life experiences to recognize as such. I think those thorough life-notes have finally fulfilled their purpose.

Seventh Grade Me wrote a few "In case you forgot" notes to Future Me. Now I get to turn around and peer along the path I've walked to whisper a soft "Thank you" back to that girl.

In Memory of my Grandmother

My mother's mother passed away in July of 2017. Eight months later, I'm ready to write about it. (Sometimes I deal with things fast, sometimes it's glacial). This isn't intended to be a biography; more of a poem, or a handful of Polaroids.

Phyllis Mulbarger -- "Mo" to her four grandchildren -- was, and ever shall be, an inspiration. Her love was boundless. She was nurturing, forgiving, generous, spiritual, and snarky as all get-out.

A couple years ago, Mo gleefully informed my mother: "I want my obituary to say that I was flippant and sarcastic." She dealt with a wide array of life-junk in her decades on this earth, and I think she summed up her secret to strength and joyous living in those two hilarious adjectives. I can imagine her saying: I'm not going to take this garbage seriously, and nobody can make me. Live your life. Laugh it off. Embrace the grace and grit of unbridled irreverence. "How else do you think I lived to be 90?" she queried rhetorically.

When I think of her, I see the sparkle in her eye and the impish look on her face. 

YES! THAT look!

YES! THAT look!

A giggle rises from down in my gut and soul, and in that bone-deep humor I feel the bright thread of light that binds me to my entire family before me, and all to come after.

In honor of a mighty woman, let's be flippant and sarcastic. Sláinte.

Everything is a metaphor

Well, it seems like updating two times a month is about my speed right now, so I'm just going to embrace that and go with it. All things in cycles, right?

Today's focal thought is one that has popped into my head and made me laugh quite a few times in the last decade: Everything is a metaphor for something else. A glass of water describes optimism. A sunny day expresses happiness. Our minds are homes, climate change is like a fever, and our bodies reflect the entire world.

In things outside of ourselves we see ourselves, and we build the rooms of our mind from the visions we invite to stay. I drew a picture of my mental house once. It's an exciting place: it has a library, a courtyard with a tree, a dedicated A/V room, a work console, an incinerator... And then I lost the map. Fitting, really. I've always felt slightly nuts anyway.

So now, picture with me: a bright light shines inside an infinitely-faceted prism. The light shines through every side, and looks a little different from every angle, but it's the same light. All are facets are equally touched, equally illuminated, one has only to look through.

Photo by  Mark Daynes  on  Unsplash

Photo by Mark Daynes on Unsplash

That is my working metaphor for God.

Hi, 2018

I never like the first week of the year. Any time January 1st falls on a weekday it feels terribly disruptive to me - instead of a last day of relaxation, it represents having one less work day to deal with the inevitable backlog coming out of the holidays. "What do you mean 'relax'? I need to start getting stuff done..."

This year has been no different, but at least I realized that I'm allowed to reschedule anything and everything that doesn't absolutely have to happen this week. This is in part inspired by my post last week about (effectively) the cumulative risks of wearing ourselves out. Self care is incredibly important for a lot of reasons, including that it keeps us capable of doing our best.

On that note, what I really need today is to hear from Fred. Hi, Fred!

Fred is Proud of You.png

Thanks, Fred. Happy New Year!

Poem: "Entwined"

Happy Friday! Here's a poem from the archives - this appears to be one of the first creative things I wrote after we moved from New Hampshire to Montana. Originally drafted October 23, 2008.

"Entwined"

Variable intonation -
raw imperfect separation -
inflections of then,
there, infected
by decisive glee in now, here.

Primarily, the mountain snow
(seeming first dreamed long ago)
calls together friends
of any weather
dismissing every distance, fear.

In humble tribute, autumn's pass
fosters change to cold and glass;
in swirl of sigh
breathe loose the furl
of waving standard, planted near.

Read futures in an ice reflection;
prophetic tones in recollection.
No matter how the
winds will scatter,
the binding brand shows clear.

(c) Jane P. B. Hozier

How is it Friday

It's the end of a long week and I seriously have nothing interesting to share today. I'll make up for it next week, really I will.

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES PLEASE STAND BY

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES PLEASE STAND BY

Poem: "Prism"

love at the red roots
hearts suit it, but followed
by the mimicry of scorn
beware: what hope heals
truthless verdict leaves torn

fire and fallen leaves, stunning
glow of a dying day in orange
points the way to rebirth,
recreation, truth unended
unoffended by narrow confusion
that mistakes light for merely illusion

life's gold is the sunlight we taste, swallow whole
yellow flower in power unfolding
to sustenance
we eat of one sun and become fellows in

spirit, the green fulcrum, heart of the arc
where the many stand reflected
and join in hand to
one light in the dark

my soul is a string that sings
in my voice, blue melodies
memorializing choice
take up a refrain
and in the echoes our names will remain

cooled in indigo memory
keep yourself in mind
and in still waters find
your ripples rebounded
your meaning expounded
washed up clean on the rock of our

principles, unviolent
ultraviolet
on the cusp of transcendent unseen
in between one word and the next
what connects us to our best selves
when the rest falls away?

let us pray

(c) 2017 Jane P. B. Hozier

Family

Family is....

...the people who accept your faults with a wisecrack.

...the people who share your love of graph paper and packing tape.

...the people who have gone before, stretching out in a line of unknown names and untold love.

I give thanks.