Sunday, April 29, 2012


Did you notice the sky today? So perfectly blue and not a single cloud in the sky. The Dogwood tree blooms pretty pink in the front yard and the petals open their faces to soak up the sun. The air is cool but refreshing like a dip in the ocean. The oatmeal this morning was especially tasty and particularly pretty with mango and bananas and strawberries. Owen was ever so charming this morning and our cat Maya wasn't so loud and snotty. I smiled at the sun, I smiled at the grass. Said, "How do you do?" to the dandelions and waved to the dog walkers. I ate breakfast with Grandma and took my sweet time. I sang to the dishes and danced in bare feet. 11:11 comes along, and I can't think of a wish. My life is complete.

What do you wish for when you see 11:11 light up on the clock? Or when you blow out your birthday candles? What do you wish for on an eyelash? Or a dandelion puff? Or a shooting star? Don't answer out loud. Do you usually wish for the same thing? Or something different every time? Wishes are the perfect time to ask for guidance with your crazy dreams. It's a wish, after all. Cinderella wanted to go to the ball in a pumpkin carriage. No dream, no wish, is too crazy. All you need is a little bibbity-boppity-boo.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem in Your Pocket Day
As my World Literature teacher informed us today, today is "Poem in Your Pocket Day!" I was a bit disappointed with Google, considering the other day they had a zipper-themed Google Doodle to celebrate Eric Sundback's (the inventor of the zipper) 132nd birthday. I am by no means downgrading the significance of Sundback's invention (I can't even begin to imagine where my life would be without zippers...most likely even more disorganized with everything falling out of my book bags and countless other bags I bring to school everyday). I would've thought that if Google could take the time to create a zipper doodle to honor Eric Sundback (by which I was very amused in Global Studies the other day), they would've surely created one in honor of "Poem in Your Pocket Day."

But enough of my rambling, a lot of you are probably wondering, "What is 'Poem In Your Pocket Day?'" I will be honest that in past years I have only ever participated in it when it was required for Language Arts homework, and I would not have known today was "Poem In Your Pocket Day" if my World Literature teacher hadn't told us (however I might've if Google had decided to make a "Poem In Your Pocket Day" doodle...alright, I'm done). In fact, as I was researching "Poem In Your Pocket Day," I found that the month of April is actually National Poetry Month! While poetry is certainly not my forte, I enjoy reading it and picking out the alliteration and rhyme scheme and rhythm and playing with's like a scavenger hunt! As a little background information for those of you who are interested, the U.S. created National Poetry Month in 1996, inspiring the Canadians to join in the spirit in 1999. Apart from the U.S. and Canada, April is celebrated as National Poetry Month in other countries around the world. In 2002, New York City created "Poem In Your Pocket Day" (PIYP) as part of the April celebration.

How does it work? It's simple! Find your favorite poem (or any poem that you like), write it down on a piece of paper, and carry it around in your pocket. I know for many of us we have passed the days of handwriting and carrying around physical paper, however I strongly encourage you to take the time to handwrite or even print out a poem and physically carry it in your pocket, not just as a note on your iPhone or what have you. The physicality of folding a piece of paper, smoothing out the creases as you clear your throat to recite, cannot be beat.

The idea of PIYP is that during the day, you take out your poem and share it with friends, family, coworkers, classmates, peers, teachers, whoever. It's a happy time, with everyone sharing their favorite writing and inspiring; it's like one big hot pot of inspiration! It reminds me of a children's story my mom used to read me when I was little called "Frederick" by Leo Lionni. The story is about a field mouse named Frederick. While all the other field mice are busy collecting food for winter, Frederick (a dreamer and a poet) spends his time collecting sun rays, colors, and words. When the food runs out, it is Frederick's stories that warm the hearts of the field mice in the winter.

I apologize for not posting this yesterday. I assure you I would've if I had known! Regardless, who's to say you can only carry a poem around in your pocket on PIYP? Any day is a good day to carry around a little inspiration.

We just started our poetry unit in World Literature (the timing couldn't be better!), so we've been reading lots of poetry in class. Today, our teacher had us copy down a poem to put in our pocket. I chose "Love Poem With Toast" by Miller Williams, mainly because I love the title.

Love Poem With Toast

Miller Williams

Some of what we do, we do
to make things happen,
the alarm to wake us up, the coffee to perc,
the car to start.
The rest of what we do, we do
trying to keep something from doing something,
the skin from aging, the hoe from rusting,
the truth from getting out.
With yes and no like the poles of a battery
powering our passage through the days,
we move, as we call it, forward,
wanting to be wanted,
wanting not to lose the rain forest,
wanting the water to boil,
wanting not to have cancer,
wanting to be home by dark,
wanting not to run out of gas,
as each of us wants the other
watching at the end,
as both want not to leave the other alone,
as wanting to love beyond this meat and bone,
we gaze across breakfast and pretend.

It's not even a love poem; it's just the musings of a young couple at breakfast. 

For homework last night, our teacher had us write "imitation poems," where we read a poem and write a response poem. Our response could either be addressing the message in the poem, responding to a single line or image, imitating the rhyme scheme, form, rhythm, whatever inspired us. It's a great writing prompt if you're interested, and it's fun because you're bouncing ideas off fellow writers. And even if a class of 25 all responds to the same poem, they're all bound to be different, because everyone will be inspired by something different. 

I did my imitation on the poem, "The Poet" by Tom Wayman. In his poem, Wayman talks about the absent-mindedness of the poet: losing his train of thought, speaking nonsense, not comprehending what he reads and hears, etc. 

The Poet

Tom Wayman

Loses his position on worksheet or page in textbook
May speak much but makes little sense
Cannot give clear verbal instructions
Does not understand what he reads
Does not understand what he hears
Cannot handle “yes-no” questions
Has great difficulty interpreting proverbs
Has difficulty recalling what he ate for breakfast, etc.
Cannot tell a story from a picture
Cannot recognize visual absurdities
Has difficulty classifying and categorizing objects
Has difficulty retaining such things as
addition and subtraction facts, or multiplication tables
May recognize a word one day and not the next

Just last night I was writing in my journal and reflecting on how much rambling I do. (Some of my blog posts are also very "rambly," although I try my best to spare you from my random thoughts...sometimes I just can't help myself though. I'm too excited to share!) So, I wrote a poetry response to the idea of writing nonsense; I wrote a ramble about a ramble.


Sometimes I feel sorry for my journal, who, because of its pretty cover, was victimized to my long and sometimes (oftentimes) nonsensical rambles as I write whatever comes to mind and sometimes (oftentimes) whatever comes to mind is quite distant from my starting point. But I write it anyway because, why not? Perhaps the thought could be important for a future piece, and the idea of passing it by and not writing it down scares me. For what if, one day, I sit down and remember the shadow of a thought, a thought that would fit brilliantly into my story or hug a character like a form-fitting dress, but I cannot find the body of the shadow? What then? I would be ashamed to try and squeeze a pumpkin into a skinny slip, or try and get a string bean to hold up a ski just wouldn’t fit. So I write it down, just in case. So throughout my journal entries there are random thoughts scattered like Easter eggs, and I’m sure my journal gets quite impatient sometimes as it waits for me to get to the point. I am like a TV show host, a Ryan Seacrest, taking my sweet time to say what I really want to say (what I really mean to say), drawing out the suspense, avoiding every contraction, saying full names, using lots and lots of commas and triple periods and conjunctions (and parenthesis when I realize what I am about to write is a side-note), and it’s amazing you can do all of this in just writing, isn’t it? So I am grateful to my journal, who sits back patiently and lets me ramble and sort out my thoughts and maybe, eventually, after trudging through lots of muck and fluff, I may finally get to the gold. Or maybe not...often times not.

I invite you to please post a comment with some of your own poems in your pocket! And also any imitation poems you write. Just like stone soup, we could have one big hot pot of poetry! And when the days are cold, it will be this soup that keeps us warm.

Sweet Dreams,

Megan ;)

P.S. Did you notice? is updated.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The truth is...
My friend shared this quote with me once and when I typed it into Google to get the exact words, I found it on a magnet. Figures. It's the type of quote that should be on a magnet or a card or a sign in Hallmark. What I love about this quote is that it can apply to so many different people. Whether it be a best friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a parent, a sibling, another relative...I hope you all have that one person whom it doesn't matter what you're doing with them. Chores, eating ice cream, watching a movie, going for a walk, just talking, or even just sitting there in silence. After all, "A real friend is someone who you can sit in complete silence with and still walk away feeling like you just had the best conversation in your life." In the silence, you can appreciate the moment you're sharing together. Notice. Sit on a porch swing and hear a dog barking, the birds chirping, the annoying squeak of an achy swing. 

Between really good friends ("carrot friends", my mom calls them), you don't need to say anything. There's no need to entertain. There's no need to carefully word everything you say. There's no need to be embarrassed. You can just be yourself.

"A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same." 
~Elbert Hubbard

They love you for all your quirks and goofy smirks. All your flaws and blah blah blahs. They'll never judge, but will keep you straight. No matter what, they think you're great. (Like I know this "poem" was really corny, but that's okay!) With good friends, you value their opinion and care what they think of you. But you don't need to try so hard to get their approval.

Being a friend is a 24/7, around-the-clock job. And it's not always a walk in the park, but it's worth every extra step of the way. 

Do you have any friendship quotes that you love? Or songs? (Like Taylor Swift's, "I'm Only Me When I'm With You.") I love quotes. They can so perfectly summarize a situation, a feeling, a moment, whatever it may be, all in a simple phrase. Sometimes they're like a fortune cookie, strangely appearing at very apropos moments. They're comforting, too, because you know that someone out there is thinking the same thing you are. You're not alone in this big scary world, even though sometimes it may feel like you are. And they can be interpreted in so many ways, applied to so many different situations. What I may connect to my dog, you may connect to your best friend. I love responding to quotes, too. They make perfect writing prompts. Just select a random quote, set the timer for 10 minutes or so, and write whatever comes to mind! Like a good friend, your journal won't judge you! For Christmas two years ago, my friend decorated this box and filled it with quotes. She said she had looked up online the best gifts for a writer, and she said she read that the best thing to give a writer was inspiration. So she gave me a year's worth of quotes! It was such a thoughtful gift. For awhile I chose a quote every day and responded to it in a little journal she gave me. When I was done with the quote, I glued it to the border of my vanity mirror. 

Thanks to all my friends who listen to me ramble and all you readers who take the time to read it! 
Here's hoping you all have or find that person someday who you can completely be yourself around. Who you can share a comfortable silence with, mess up in front of, and can call at any time of the day for anything. As my mom would say, I hope you all find your "carrot friends."

Sweet Dreams,

Megan ;)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It All Started With Brownies

Today I thought I'd post a writing prompt I've been given before. It all started with brownies. For those of you who have been following my blog (and keeping up with "Did you notice?"), then you know that I have many obsessions. The moon, oatmeal, and brownies. I am also obsessed with clouds and weather and all things concerning nature, however if I had to sum up my obsessions, I would sum them up with the moon, oatmeal, and brownies. Everyone else can have their gummy bears and jelly beans and donuts and even their Reese's cups...just let me have my brownies. Last week my mom picked up root beer and vanilla ice cream for root beer floats, but then we had a box of brownies in the house and I couldn't help it; I had a brownie sundae instead.

I certainly am a "comfort" girl. I like the comfort of my own bed, the comfort of my own pillow and blanket, but my biggest comfort comes in food. Grilled cheese and tomato soup, oatmeal and peanut butter&honey toast in the morning, trail mix, ice cream, cinnamon Pop Tarts before a big event (I will be having one before my track meet this Saturday!), and of course, brownies. Warm brownies. Warm brownies with ice cream. A warm brownie sundae. That is the way to my heart.

Anyway, after coming home today from a rainy and cold track practice and showering and changing into my pajamas at 6pm, I decided it was a brownie day. My two favorite parts of cooking are 1) Getting to sample your food and 2) Getting to lick the bowl. And trust me, when it comes to brownie mix, I clean that bowl better than a dish washer. While scraping the edges of the mixing bowl, I was reminded of a picture from an old Christmas card when I was just under two years old. I was Mommy's little helper growing up, and in this photograph I'm doing a fine job helping her clean the mixing bowl! My mom got a lot of criticism for this picture when she sent out the Christmas cards that year because of the raw eggs in the batter. But come on, who can honestly say they have never eaten cake batter or brownie batter or some raw baked good before? If you can honestly say you haven't, then you are one resilient soul! (I apologize for the poor camera quality in this image. I actually couldn't find the picture to scan, but I had used this picture for my 8th grade baby photo in the yearbook, so I took a picture of the picture with my phone camera, which never gives images justice.)

So here's the writing prompt: Find an old photograph, either in a family album, a scrapbook, etc. Just make sure you have some personal connection to it. Look at the photograph, study it, write about it. Put yourself back in that place. How were you feeling? Why were you there? What was the weather like? Open your senses. What's the story? Really try to imagine yourself back in the picture. Free-write for 10 minutes about the picture (or more if you're so inspired!) Try to keep your pencil/pen moving or your fingers typing away the whole time. If you run out of things to write, simply write, "I don't know what to write," until you think of something. I can almost promise you that you will eventually think of something! For Art class one day, our teacher had us do an activity where we had to sketch still-life objects without looking at our paper; we had to keep our eyes on the object the entire time. The point was that he wanted us to paint what we actually saw, not what we thought we saw. When writing about your photograph, keep it out the entire time. Try writing without looking at the paper or screen for a little while (if possible). When we did the sketches in Art class, I was actually really happy with the way they came out; they had a fun flow to them. Perhaps you'll be pleasantly surprised with your free-writes! Please feel free to share your free-writes or parts of them (whatever you feel comfortable with) in a comment; I would love to read about your memories.

Here's my free-write:

Hey, Mom! This here brownie mix is really great. I can't believe you're letting me do this! Eat straight from the bowl?! No bib, no napkin, no nothing! It's all over my face and I lick my lips and wipe my hands on my shirt and you don't do a thing. You just let me enjoy my brownie mix. Are you sure you have to cook it? Could I please just eat it with a spoon? Who knew cocoa powder, vegetable oil, eggs, and water could taste so good? I'm smiling, Mom. This is great. Are you sure this isn't a trap? Some sort of test? Nope. You know, Mom? You're pretty cool. I'm sorry for all those diapers you have to change, and all those nights I keep you awake. Anytime you need my help, I'm here for you (especially if you need help in the kitchen).

I hope some of you get the opportunity to try this free-write. It's also a chance to look back through old photos, which is always fun. Also, more food for thought (no pun intended), where do you find your comfort? What is the way to your heart?

Sweet Dreams,

Megan ;)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Not Much Shorter
It's just me and my brother Owen in my family. Owen's two grades younger than I am, two and a half years. I never really noticed when he started to really "get big," until this year. The first time I really noticed was when he stepped on the basketball court with the 8th graders, one of four 7th graders to make the varsity middle school team. He was so proud. I was so proud.

Nearly every other day he makes me stand up to see if he's taller than me yet. I still hold a proud quarter inch on him, a quarter inch I won't let him forget. But I would be a fool to deny that he is getting bigger. Last time we went to church I let him step in front of me to receive Communion (like my dad lets me step before him), only to realize that he wasn't that much shorter than me. Pretty soon I will be stepping in front of him! No. I'll still make him step in front of me.

Today was another one of those days when I realize how big Owen is getting. At track practice he ran with the high schoolers, and he fit right in, trailing off their tails. My grandma says Owen's gotten more mature this year. I personally find this a bit hard to admit when he still captures every opportunity to make some juvenile joke (which he still hasn't learned I can't respond to with the reaction he's looking for). Then tonight he had a winter sports award banquet. He left dressed in a suit and with his hair combed, and made me give him the sniff test to make sure he didn't still smell like track (I advised he spray a little bit of cologne). He came home bearing a trophy for Most Dedicated Athlete of the season, out of all the middle school teams. I was so happy all his hard work from basketball season had paid off: all those early practices, all those cold afternoons he spent shooting hoops, all the times he shook the house with his dribbling...he deserves it.

But really, what happened to the little boy who used to crawl into bed with me when he had a nightmare? Who used to dance with me? Who used to booby trap the house, inspired by his favorite movie at the time, "Home Alone?" What happened to that little blue-eyed blondie? He's right here in my lap, now past the stage when he's too cool to give me a hug, but maybe it's only because no one's watching. And if I look hard enough, I still see that little boy. I'll always see that little boy.

Did you notice?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Redefining Me
Definitions are a constant. They're something we can understand, something we can cling to, something that is universally accepted. They're comforting. I know no matter where I go in the world, a plate is going to be a flat dish which food is served and eaten on. No matter if it is called plato, piastra, or assiette. A plate is a plate. That's never going to change. And it's comforting to know that; to know that some things in this world do stay the same. 

Definitions are also a way of explaining things. It gives us a way to identify something. It would be a very confusing world if everything was simply accepted without any rhyme or reason. "Well, why? Why is that furry fabric a coat? Why not a rug? Why not a blanket?" Think about how often little kids ask the question, "Why?" They want to know why about everything. Little kids are smart. "Why should I believe you? Give me one good reason." They want an explanation; they want a definition.

In our society, we tend to like to define people, too. Think of all the labels we put on people. The athletes, the techies, the punks, the divas, the "populars", the geeks, the theatre kids, the artsy kids, the list goes on and on. We're all guilty of it. Even on this blog my posts are labeled based on common themes. Why do we do this? Why do we label? Because it's a way for us to try and organize everything in our brains. Our brains like to see things in neat boxes, stacked one on top of the other, and labeled. It's easier that way. No questions asked. It just is.

The problem with labels is that we tend to attach ourselves to them. There's a comfort in knowing so and so as the track captain, as the dancer, whatever it may be. All of a sudden when they change, sometimes it's hard for our brain to reconfigure where they "fit in." A baseball coach sees a promising pitcher when the boy is in 5th grade and gets excited. He trains him, he brings him far. Everyone knows the boy for being the star pitcher. Of course he'll go into the MLB when he's older. But then high school comes around and the boy tries track, and he realizes he likes track so much better. He has to choose between baseball and track. In his heart, he knows the track is where he wants to be. But everyone knows him to be the star pitcher. He is the star pitcher. 

But just because he was a star pitcher throughout middle school, does that mean he has to be the star pitcher in high school? Who would he be pitching for? Himself, or everyone else? He can only live his life for himself. We can only live our lives for ourself. People may say, "What a shame. You had so much potential." People may be angry, disappointed, but it doesn't matter. Your true friends, the people who really matter, know you for you and will love you unconditionally. As Dr. Seuss wrote, "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." The fact is, you can put labels on food produce, but you can't put them on people, because people change. Who you were in kindergarten most likely is different from who you are now. That's okay. In fact, it's probably a good thing! 

High school is all about redefining who we are. It's the time to try new things, experiment, expand our horizons. Just because we loved something last year, doesn't mean we have to do it for the rest of our lives. We may find something we like better down the road, and just because it happened "down the road," does that mean we should stay on the path we're on because that's all we've ever known? Because we're "satisfied?" Or should we take a bit of a risk and try something new? Verge off and travel down the path where we won't just be "satisfied" but we'll be happy? 

In 5th grade I wrote a poem titled, "Who Am I?" (I apologize for the amateur writing and the lack of poetic quality, but I thought the message was valid.)

Who Am I?

"Who am I?" 
I often asked my father.
"You are a superstar,"
Was one of his many wise replies.

"Who am I?"
Was what I asked my friend when I wanted a compliment
And she was always willing to give me one.
"You are a kind and giving, and understanding friend," was one of my favorites.

"Who am I?"
Was what I asked my teacher when I wanted to know about my future,
And she would reply, "You are a girl with a brilliant, and wonderful future."

"Who am I?"
Was what I asked my grandmother when I was in need of a hug,
And she would embrace me and say, "You are the reflection of God himself."

"Who am I?"
Was what I asked my mother one day when I was wondering how other people saw me
And this time I didn't hear one of the usual compliments.
Instead I heard, "You are you, and it doesn't matter what I, or what others think of you."
"All that matters is what you think of yourself."
I thought for a moment, and then finally understood what my mother was saying.

So from that day on, I never asked my father, or anyone else, "Who am I?"
Instead, I asked myself, "Who am I?"
And I soon realized that my responses were what comforted me the most.
Because I no longer had to worry about what others would say when I asked them, "Who am I?"
All I had to do was think of the positive things about myself.
And in reality, like my mother said, that was all that really mattered.

It seems like in 5th grade I had a pretty good idea about whose opinion mattered most in defining who I am. Maybe I've gone backwards since 5th grade. I wish I could say the last stanza was true, because I find myself constantly seeking for reassurance about who I am, where I fit into this big world. I guess the main thing to keep in mind is that even how I define myself now in high school will likely change as I grow older. Life is all about redefining. It would be boring if it stayed the same all the time! (I sound like a hypocrite saying this because I struggle so much with change, but I know it's true.)

No matter how old or young you are, it's never too late to redefine who you are. That's why we call them crazy dreams. They may seem crazy, they may seem scary, we may not even be able to explain them. And that's exactly why we should follow them.

Sweet Crazy Dreams,

Megan ;)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

At A Standstill
Everything today has been going slowly. I wake up, brush my teeth, and just lay in bed for thirty minutes with my glasses on but my eyes closed. Just thinking. Smiling. The house is quiet except for the light pitter-patter of the rain on the windowpanes. All the more reason to stay in bed. Eventually, though,  I do get up. I stretch, make myself breakfast (oatmeal of course, especially on a dreary morning) and chew slowly. Even my Global Studies homework doesn't seem so bad. I write word by word, pause. Let a daydream pass through. Mom and Michael come home from an auction. I admire the treasures they brought home and we chat. No rush. 

All day goes by like this, quickly but slowly. I am aware of each hour passing by, and it's a wonderful feeling, to be in no hurry. To be able to take my sweet 'ole time with everything. All day I journal, move my pen like a paintbrush across the page. I am in a daze. I'm not giddy or giggly or jumpy like I've been all week, but just genuinely happy, fulfilled. All day I smile to myself and listen to my favorite songs on repeat and let my mind wander. It's a beautiful day when you can let your mind take a leisurely stroll through dreamland without any curfew. I'll have to give my mind a vacation more often.