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Belated Valentine's Day Love and Love Anthology

As an adult, I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day.  I could really take it or leave it.  Maybe I'm too rational or stringy.  But, what keeps my heart from becoming frozen over is that I am an elementary teacher and the feeling one gets when they open their box of valentines is the same at 38 as it was when I was 8.  You see it in the students' eyes when they place a hand written note in a friends container and you see the magic when that friend opens the note and smiles.  We could all learn to give more of these moments to each other.  Especially in the world we currently live in.  A little more love would be good for all of us.

In honor of Valentine's Day, Low Ghost Press out of Pittsburgh, PA published a new anthology devoted to all types of love poems title, "Unconditional Surrender: An Anthology of Love Poems."  I'm honored to a be a part of this anthology, especially since so many amazing poets from Pittsburgh and beyond are found in the collect…

Vulnerability and Me, Too

Earlier today, my husband and I were driving home from the grocery store. I casually mentioned the "Me too" movement in response to the recent spotlight on the pervasiveness of sexual assault and harassment that women and men face.

I commented on how brave the women were to step forward, that each time I saw a colleague, a friend, a schoolmate's status read "Me too," I felt red, angry, and proud of their ability to speak out.  That, for so long, just the idea of being vulnerable and allowing myself to cry in public over something beautiful, or something sad, made me feel anxious, even scared.

"Will you make it your status? Will you say, 'Me too,'" my husband asked.  I said I didn't know. That it felt like too much. That it wasn't something I wasn't ready to admit.

The act of writing those two words were on my mind all day today. Yes, it was me, too. I was fresh out of college, working at a crappy factory as a receptionist, and I ha…

Confederate Flags and Pancakes

On our way home from meeting friends in Tennessee, my husband H turned to me and said, "You are so brave to date a minority."  I looked at him and told him that I wasn't brave at all.  That in every way possible, I still benefit from white privilege, and that no matter how caring or great he thought I was, I could never fully understand what it's like to be an Asian-American living in the South.

The night before, we were looking forward to taking a day trip to Gatlinburg to see friends who were there doing the same thing, taking the weekend to go somewhere new and explore a new town.  We met our friends at the Log Cabin Pancake House and had a normal breakfast.  We ate pancakes (big surprise), drank coffee, and caught up on life. H is a classmate with our friend so they talked about school while my friend's husband and I listened.  Our friends are both white, but the topic of racism was brought up pretty early on in the breakfast.  On our drive out to TN, we went…

Review of "Under the Kaufmann's Clock" by Angele Ellis and Rebecca Clever

It's been over a year since I've written here but I am excited to share my review of the new poetry book, Under the Kaufmann's Clock by Angele Ellis, photography by Rebecca Clever.


The "Never Will I..." List

When I was in my twenties, I had a list of things I swore I would never do. A lot of my choices stemmed from my studies in college and had a lot to do with feminism. I wasn't militant, or even radical, but I held firm beliefs that I thought I would never change. Then, along came my thirties, and I found myself revisiting my list and realizing much of it didn't speak to me anymore. The list of "Never Will I Ever..." included:

1. Get married
2. Stop being a vegetarian
3. Move to the South
4. Have kids

By the time I turned thirty-six, I had checked off more than one "never" prediction on my list.  In fact, I was already living items 1-3. I had made a comment in one of my non-fiction classes that in my twenties, I swore I  would never get married, and there I was, engaged and getting ready to marry.  A student, in her late-fifties, replied, "Welcome to your thirties, hon.  It's the time in your life where you do everything you said you wouldn't. It…

The Holidays are a Bowling Alley Bar, A Juke Box, Tons of Tinsel, and Family

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When I was a kid, my parents co-owned a bowling alley with another couple.  I literally spent every Saturday at the bowling alley, roaming the building, playing games, sitting at the bar drinking orange juice, and chatting with my parents' friends.  Some of the best lunches I had as a kid took place at the bar.  My dad would make my sister and I kielbasa, cut into tiny circles with a piece of cheese on each sphere.  Instead of forks, we used toothpicks to eat. Some of the sweetest moments between me and my mom took place at the bar counter as well.  I still remember cuddling up to her, my head on her chest, and her wool sweater itching my face, as she held me while drinking her grasshopper that my dad or Kathy, the bartender, had made her.  The people who worked at the bowling alley were extended members of our family.  Kathy would entertain my sister and I with a smile on her face.  I am sure we got in her way more than once but we never knew it.

Of all my favorite memories at th…

Thirty-Five Michigan Thanksgivings and One North Carolina Thanksgiving

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It's Thanksgiving morning and I am grateful.  The mountains outside the kitchen window are a shade of dark blue and a train whistles in the background.  My husband is baking bread and the cats are waiting for him to "accidentally" drop some goodies on the floor.  I am alive and I am happy.

But, this Thanksgiving feels awkward and a little sad to me.  This is the first Thanksgiving I will spend apart from my family.  I know that I am writing from a place of privilege and luck.  My husband has had to spend many Thanksgivings away from his family and in the last four years he has happily traveled with me to Michigan to spend the holidays with my family, even though he misses his family in New Jersey and New York.  I know that he has sacrificed time with his family to be with me and for that I am grateful.  I am lucky. 

When I was a kid we used to spend Thanksgiving at my great-aunt's home.  We ate Thanksgiving dinner in her orange and pine trimmed basement as Bing Crosb…