Home, now—

The room still dark
With only the ticking
Of your watch.
Somewhere beginning
Above my aching toes
I think

“this is the prize.”

The space of a queen-sized bed
This quiet pace away
Away from the noise
Of turning pages,
Television,
No radio,
Or illuminated screens,
Nor online chatter.
There is only
My body touching
Cotton sheets
Above my toes
And the ticking of your watch
In a still dark room.

Leaving Westwood

Well, at least here, I’ve checked out my last book, called the book vendors, emailed a few teachers, said bye to the students, and shed a few tears.

I’ve said to a few people that working here has changed my life and I mean it… the students have expanded my heart and the faculty and program chairs have taught me the importance of being on a team. They had a lot of sweet words (and a gift basket!) for me — but the experience is going to be what I really walk away with.

My work family of awesome, crazy people can not be duplicated. They asked me to not forget them, and it was a silly request—because it would be impossible to do. I’ll be one of them forever.

And now, I leave for the next chapter  — more books to recommend, reference questions to answer, and lessons to be learned.

Gardening (or the realization that mother nature has attitude)

For the past decade or so, I’ve not had the chance to garden. And I’m one of those people who (perhaps due to a terrible memory) claim to love to garden. When Michael and I were looking for our home it was Autumn and the raucous wild nature of the South was ebbing away. We were very enthusiastic about wanting a yard. And when we stumbled upon the home we live in a big reason why we chose it was because it has a secret garden up hill from the backyard and lots and lots of green. Green, woodsy goodness, right?

And now it is full on Spring in Atlanta. Those of you that are familiar will know what that means— pollen, sure. But also a daily discovery of something new blooming. Azaleas are in full force. Dogwoods, redbuds,  pear, and all of it changes the ride to work daily. It’s gorgeous. A gardener’s delight.

And then there is the yard. That lovely thing we wanted so badly. A lot of it is our impractical procrastination of things. We didn’t have a lawn mower before the rains started. Now we do. And it is still quietly locked up in the barn waiting for the rain to stop. Our yard is over a half a foot tall of weeds that are really thriving in the mists and fog and rain of the past week. I’m beginning to wonder when the county is going to fine us for having an unkempt front yard.

And the secret garden? Even after removing several dead trees and about a ton of unwanted privet— it’s still very secret and is going to be a complete beast to control. Seriously, there are ivy vines out there thicker than my wrists. We can swing on them like Tarzan.

So real gardening may not happen for a while. Sure, when the weather allows we may slightly tame some of the tendrils and tidy the wild. But the wait is real and the rains keep coming.

The basics and minutia of cat-sitting

Below is an excerpt of my directions on how to deal with my cats. It was written for a 16 year-old young man who loves cats, has none of his own, and therefore makes a great cat-sitter. I am only sharing it because it apparently gave him quite a chuckle, and I realize that people without cats may find all of this very strange. To all of my friends with cats in their lives (past and present) you may be able to relate. Feel free to let me know if you’d have to add anything. And yes, aren’t you feeling relieved that you are not the poor person that gets suckered into watching the beasts?

…Feel free to leave the back porch light on so that you can see when you come back after dark. Help yourself to any snacks. I believe that Michael is going to buy you some root beer or something. Knowing Michael, he’ll leave little notes out for you as well. Watch tv, hangout, read a book, or just pet the kitties, feed them and leave.
Food (wet and dry) is in the blue cabinet. Cats get a scoop of dry food twice a day (a.m. and p.m.). In the evening, we dole out one can of wet on top of their dry food split 3 ways (so they each get 1/3 of a can). Michael “prepares” their food on top of the blue cabinet and then serves it to them all at once. This is completely unnecessary, but if they look at you awkwardly if you don’t do this, that is why. Also, it is best if you stand there and keep Hushpuppy and Otis from knocking Carter off of his bowl. Carter is a wuss and will not defend his food. Please note the large girth of Otis — he’s fat because he eats Carter’s food. It’s an issue that we keep trying to remedy.
Fill up the water bowl on floor every time you go. Kitties get thirsty! We also keep a glass on the kitchen counter that they like to drink from. Fill it up as well.
Litter boxes are in the office room (the one with carpet). Please scoop at least once. Plastic bags for poop scooping are under the sink on the left hand side. If needed, there is a bag of litter in the office as well (usually under the library table/desk). The rectangular box has some issues with its cover, so please know that we know that you are not the one that broke it; it came that way. The other dome shaped ones are easier because you just lift the lids off and scoop into plastic bag. Please do not be alarmed if all the poop is in one litter box — honestly, we don’t know what goes on in their heads, but sometimes they just pick one and stick with it. Cats are weird.
Hushpuppy is the white one and is the only girl. She is very friendly usually and will purr you to bits if you pet her. She is also a charmer and, at times, looks like a complete angel. However, Hushpuppy is prone to fits of madness. If she starts bolting around the house and knocking furniture over or bouncing off of walls, do not be afraid (maybe cover you face if you are lying on the coach). It seems odd at first, but we’ve gotten used to it. Other than that, I promise she is the sweetest thing in the world. She just has this crazed wild streak in her.
Otis is the fat grey tabby. Otis is also sweet, but looks incredibly grumpy even while purring on a lap. He’s really trying to work on his social behavior. I do try to give him positive body image reinforcement by calling him “Slim Shady” or “Skinny Boy”. These attempts are worthless. However, he does seem to know his name “Otis” probably because we yell at him a lot for trying to move Carter from his bowl. Don’t take his disinterest personally. He really does like people, but he just doesn’t know how to express himself very well. And, well, he is a cat. By the way, he occasionally gets on top of the kitchen cabinets and will stare at you like some sort of cat/owl gargoyle hybrid. Please try not to pee on yourself if this happens. It is way more startling than it sounds.
Carter is the very handsome fluffy Siamese cat. He knows he is handsome, and will occasionally pose for you. That is, he will pose if he ever comes out from under the sofa. Carter also happens to be in love with Michael, so really, please don’t be offended if he does come out and smell you and then walk away nonplussed because you are not the right person. He used to love me, but I’ve come to accept that I am second fiddle to Michael. However, if he gets near you and you give him some good chin scratches and pet him and talk to him in a sort of Bugs Bunny voice, then he may be fooled into believing you are some sort of Michael incarnation and warm up to you. Carter just wants to be loved and to have some reprieve from the younger two. They torment him. But he sort of loves it at the same time.
I know Michael mentioned the neighborhood cat we call “Clipper” and the raccoons. Please don’t feed them. Thank you so much for taking care of our little beasts. I hope they will come out and let you pet them. They will all be very interested in the food for sure.

And yes, I’m very aware this could have easily just said, food is in the blue cabinet—feed them twice a day. 🙂

What am I doing around here?

So, since this blog’s beginnings way back when I lived in Italy, the title has had something to do with a specific place. Recently though, when I moved from Atlanta to Decatur — and now I have the prospect of a job (dare I say it) outside of the perimeter—I am going to have to learn that I am not a fixed entity any more. No longer the twenty something that swore (I still say rightly) she lived in a 3 mile radius, or the thirty something that traveled far and wide to embrace a particular place (and inadvertently found herself). Now I’m more defined by experience than geography. So I am around here. And everywhere. And much like Whitman, maybe even in the blade of grass under your feet.

For now, I’ll let the blog go on without a boundary and know that those of you that know me, know where I am.

Changes

There are three things you should know before we go any further (and further and farther we will go).

First, I’m now married. Sure, those of you that follow me on Facebook already know this. But for the few people that are pressing on in life sans Facebook (good for you!) but that also read this very neglected blog, I feel like you should know that I tied the knot. Michael—the MADman I’ve been dating for the past 3 years—asked me to marry him in November and by the end of the month we were hitched at the courthouse. I’m incredibly happy and maybe slightly annoying. But I’m still me—just amplified and more me than ever.

Second, I have to rename this blog one more time. Because yes, that very same month of November, the MADman and I bought a house in Decatur. So I’m Ponce no more. I’m toying with names for the blog and may go to something more regional than specific. Don’t hold your breath. I have so many changes coming up it will make your head spin.

Third, and a big one, is that I’m leaving my current job by the end of the month and will, at long last, begin my dream of being a public librarian. Specifically, I’ll be a public reference librarian for Atlanta Fulton Public Library System. To say that the move is bitter sweet is speaking the truth; but it is much sweeter the closer I get to my leaving. The students and faculty will be sorely missed. But the lessons they have all taught me I’ll carry with me wherever I go. Like words, some things mark you for life.

All three of the above changes will be repeated themes in the days ahead. Send me some light and guidance while I navigate the new terrain of my life.

July Magic

Hi! This is July and usually, I hate to say, I’m sort of in the Summer doldrums by now. My lovely humid hometown makes it easy to leave you feeling dirty and gritty in July and August. But not this year. And what a magical thing that has turned out to be! I say that because, as an Atlanta native, this is the first year that I’ve decided to run the Peachtree Road Race. It is the world’s largest 10K (or at least billed to be) and is a major event every year. Typically, I’ve equated running the Peachtree with being as dumb as a lump on a log — because who runs in 98+ degree with 80+ humidity and NO RAIN? Well, about 60,000 do, that’s who. And this year, I was one of the idiots.

Except I wasn’t. The weather was its mildest ever for the race. They had the fewest numbers of heat related incidents. It was remarkable. Mother nature smiled on me and I was able to finish the race in spite of the past few months of aging body problems (you know, feet, back, the like). Sure, it was a run and walk event for me, but I did it and am super happy that I participated in an Atlanta institution. Even happier that I didn’t have to be walked to Piedmont Hospital during the event.

And for more magic, today I did something that I completely wouldn’t have expected to do (well, my 12 year old self would have). I woke up at 5 a.m. and went to a yin yoga class that started at 6. It was in a hot yoga room which I was not expecting. So two of my resistances were dismissed in one morning. Getting out of my comfort zone (and comfortable bed) was definitely worth it this morning. I feel like electricity and lightening bugs. It’s a great way to start the day and I may be a believer.

Send out good vibes to the universe. I know a lot of people that could use the extra lightness right now.