L A F E I S T

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7 for seven: The Engagement Edition

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

It’s been a while, longer than I’ve ever abandoned this website, since I’ve written a 7 for seven, showing gratitude to everything I’ve experienced in each past week. Ironically, I have more to be grateful now than ever since I’m gaining new family, but I haven’t sat down with all of this newness and allowed it all to sink in completely because, to be honest, it’s overwhelming — but in a good way.

This blog, keyandarrow.com, is set to expire in less than one month, and I’m thinking I may allow that to happen — not simply because of recent changes, but because recent changes are a sign of perhaps more necessary changes. It feels like the time is right to ride the momentum of this shift and see where it takes me.

I’ll still have the domain, ww.keyandarrow.wordpress.com, so nothing will disintegrate into nonexistence; I’ll be able to preserve all the embarrassing moments of my life and all the mistakes I’ve made along the way (joy!). But soon, I hope (all fingers and toes crossed), I’ll visit again soon with an update of where I will migrate — because writing will always be my closest confidant.

For now, I want to leave you with my final (maybe! – eek!) installment of 7 for seven: The Engagement Edition:

1. Austin to Marfa. I’m spoiling the “ending” here for all readers who don’t follow me on social media, but I got engaged a few weeks ago (wahoo!) — Memorial weekend, Patrick and I’s first day in Marfa, TX, to be exact. I knew that day felt special right when I woke up that morning, but to be honest, I didn’t know why. Well, besides the fact that my favorite person and I were taking a road trip — our first of many together (fingers crossed). They always say (“they” referring to people who tend to be right about things) that a couple first learns of their true compatibility during their first trip together, so rightfully, I was a bit nervous/excited to see how it all turned out. Patrick got home from a business trip late the night before we left,  so I woke up happy to see his cute face again, and he was so excited. I’ve been on road trips with guys before who didn’t seem excited, and that bummed me out. WHO DOESN’T GET EXCITED ABOUT ROAD TRIPS?! Alright, sorry, that was a bit much, but it echoes my enthusiasm. On our way there, we stopped at our favorite taco place for breakfast and coffee for some road-trippin’ fuel, and that road-trippin’ fuel must have been good because we made it there in one piece with smiles on our faces after a 6 1/2 hour drive. It helps that Patrick made some sweet knock knock jokes (e.g. “Who’s there?” “Thurgood” “Thurgood, who?” “Thurgood to be back home with my thweetheart.” and “Who’s there?” “Sara doctor in the house? I think I’ve fallen for you.”) on the way there. His dorkiness matches mine, so it’s all good. We stopped at a cute little antique store in Alpine, Texas, and then made it in time for a lil’ bit of Marfa shopping.

2. That Day/Night. Patrick took me to a contemporary farm-to-table restaurant, Stellina, after some window shopping. We indulged in wine, pasta, and pie (the three best food groups) where he questioned me on how crowded this star party was that we were going to later that night. I told him it was crowded and dark, and I could see his wheels spinning… but his wheels are always spinning. We are perpetual over-thinkers, which makes for a great relationship (trying not to over think that).

3. The Proposal.  He decided we needed to make a stop on our way to the star party at the McDonald Observatory, so we drove into the Davis Mountains. He insisted on paying the overnight entrance fee with no attendants, which reiterated in my mind what an honest man he is — so many in my past have been quite the opposite.

The small things matter. Ladies, and gentlemen, pay attention to those small things.

We drove up a ways, to the top of a peak. Then we walked a trail to the edge of one mountain with an incredible view of the sun setting. Patrick told me he was getting thirsty and wanted to go back to the truck to see if he brought a water bottle. He told me to stay there. I don’t know what got into me, but I’ve always had strong and powerful intuitions. My nerves took over, because I felt it in my bones that this was going to be the moment. I had to sit down. When he came back, I could tell he wanted to find a way to get me to stand up again, so I got myself together and walked a bit with him until he stopped me and said, “I have another joke for you. Knock, knock.” OH GOD, it’s happening, “Who’s there?” “William.” HA! I knew it. “William who?” “William marry me?” But then, he didn’t get down on one knee or present a ring — he had frozen, so I jokingly said back, “Duh!” Finally, after his mind entered his own body again, he got down on his knee and tears came out quicker than I could process the moment (damn tears have a mind of their own – for both of us). Then I said, “yes,” just to make it official as the sun went down.

4. The Day After.  I believe I did what most freshly engaged people do, and I annoyed the shit out of every passerby by calling Patrick my fiancé and staring at my shiny finger all day long. We couldn’t wipe our stupid grins off at breakfast. We couldn’t wipe our stupid grins off at the Donald Judd exhibit, at our greasy pepperoni pizza lunch, or at our second star party, this time at the home of artist, Donald Judd. That party was the highlight of our entire trip (besides the whole engagement part – duh). We happened to be in Marfa on Donald Judd’s birthday, so his amazing house was open for a tour. Talk about design inspiration! Plus, the pork belly sliders were the most delicious things we ate the entire time we were there (and that’s saying a lot after the delectable blueberry pie I had the night of our engagement). Patrick and I took our party to the road for a bit to see if we could catch some Marfa lights (spoiler alert: we didn’t), and enjoyed some wine from our enamel-ware cups (not while in the vehicle of course). Double duh.

I failed at taking any pictures at our engagement party, so I’m placing this one here instead of me not posing at all so that people can see my ring…

5. The Engagement Tour: Impromptu Engagement Party.  Patrick planned a quick, last-minute engagement party the night before we left to meet some more of his family. We knew not many people would be able to make it because of it being semi-last minute and because of the torrential rains we had all day, so we were grateful to have a good-sized group stop by for tacos and merriment. We live in a cozy little house, so it worked well that friends came and went and then a new crew would come in. My sweet sister and her husband came by before the party and helped us cook and set up, and I am so grateful for their help and company. Patrick and I felt so loved.

6. The Engagement Tour: OK + TX I had known for a while that Patrick and I were going to visit his mom in Kansas for her birthday after we visited Marfa, but what I didn’t know is that it would turn into a beautiful “engagement tour,” visiting home towns and meeting family. He let me know that we would be able to stop in Oklahoma (where much of my extended family lives) on the way to Kansas, so I contacted my sweet cousin, who recently had a baby I had not yet met, and she so graciously opened up her home to us. Her sweet baby and dog both approved (babies and dogs LOVE Patrick – I feel they are a good barometer for knowing good people when they see them), and it was so great to see my cousin and her beautiful family. We arrived late, so I was sad that I didn’t get to see any of my other family, which is why I was even more excited when Patrick decided instead of staying in Kansas on the way back from Iowa (where we would eventually drive to), we were going to stay in Oklahoma again. This time, I got to stay with my Aunt Lee and Uncle Rick, and let me tell you – they are the most amazing hosts on this planet, I am convinced. At last-minute, my aunt and uncle whipped up an incredible grilled feast (not to mention set it out on a beautifully decorated table) for us to see when we arrived. She had also invited other family members who live in the same town over for dinner. They toasted to Patrick and I at dinner, and made us feel so loved and cherished. They have a way of doing that so well. When we woke up the next morning, exhausted from being on the road for so long in a failing-air-conditioned truck, they had breakfast tacos sitting out for everyone. More fuel (not just the tacos, but the love) to send us on the road again, back to Texas.

Patrick, knowing how sad I was that I hadn’t seen any of my immediate family after the engagement, surprised me by contacting them to get together on the way back to Austin. This is why he had decided last-minute on staying in Oklahoma instead of Kansas (besides also wanting to meet some of my extended family). We were able to make it to my brother’s mid-day BBQ he was having at his cute house in Dallas, with my mom and dad. It was so great to see them, and hug them, and share my new joy with them. Plus, I was just so dang proud of my brother and how well he had put together a home for himself, and he and his roommate (also a Patrick), made such a good little BBQ party.

7. The Engagement Tour: KS + IA.  Back to Kansas! After staying at my cousin’s house, initially, in Oklahoma, Patrick and I drove to Kansas to visit his mother. We spent a good amount of time digging through relics of Patrick’s past (stinkin’ cute baby pictures, paraphernalia from Patrick’s army band days, and… okay, his mom saved EVERYTHING, so basically anything Patrick touched as a child), which made me love them even more. We then headed to a Kansas City Royals game, and it was the most magical game for us to see. I always love a good come-back story, and they rose up from being down seven the entire game and even scored three or four runs in the last inning of the game to win it. We bought hats, stuffed our faces with bratwurst and beer, and then headed back home on a victory high to look at more adorable pictures of Patrick.

The next day, Patrick drove me into Lawrence, where we ate at the oldest brewery in Kansas, The Free State Brewing Co. and went shopping in their cute little square. He drove me through his old college town in Ottowa, and he showed me where he used to live in and go to grade-school (at my request). I don’t know that he cared about going back there, but he’s sweet like that and knew I wanted to see all the pieces that made him who he is today.

On the fourth day, Patrick’s mother drove us to Iowa, but not without stopping at the infamous Kansas BBQ heaven, Woodyard Bar-B-Que, so I could experience a different kind than that of Texas BBQ (Patrick claims it is better, and I’m not sure I disagree). I had the burnt-end sandwich and onion rings, and I’m STILL dreaming about that meal. Drooling in my sleep. We also stopped at an Amish store for some nostalgic candy before arriving at Patrick’s grandparents’ house, and oh my goodness, they were cute! I got to see where ornery six-year-old Patrick carved his initial into the wood border of their kitchen and look at even more old photos around the house.

That night, we left the house for a bit to attend his aunt’s Thankful Thursday event that she organized in the town, and I secretly cried into Patrick’s shirt as we watched the big band play at the gazebo around the corner from the alleyway town get-together. I felt overwhelmed — with happiness, of course. His grandparents reminded me so much of my mother’s parents, who are no longer with us. I loved them so much, and being around his and then hearing the big-band music they loved so much brought back so many good memories.

His grandparents were so sweet-natured; I saw this mostly in how they took care of their grandchild’s children and their old family friend’s children so generously. One of the little girls took to me quickly, drew me a picture of bees buzzing around a tree that she had seen earlier that day, and made me follow her looking for bugs around the backyard.

Later that night, Patrick and I attended a “Meet Lauren Luau,” that Patrick’s aunt also put together, so that the rest of their extended family could meet me. I was surprised that all of his aunts and uncles made it out to this and most of his cousins were there as well. This made me feel so loved, accepted, and grateful to have another family that echoes the same love I feel from the family I was born into.

Lastly, I finally got to meet Patrick’s stepfather on the way back from Iowa, as he drove us home (he is a trucker who was working all week), and although he wasn’t around much during Patrick’s youth, I was happy I got to meet the last piece of the puzzle in Patrick’s life. He was sweet-natured, and I enjoyed seeing how much he cared for Patrick. Just like I do. And just like the rest of his family does, and now my family does.

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week! I’ll see you again soon. I promise!

xo,

Lauren

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What I want.

image1

For some

reason

I daydream

when my hair flies

and my pores raise

— he pulls up

because he knows

my routine.

Breathing out,

I close my eyes,

I breathe in,

and I’m pulled back

— houses full of laundry

pushing their smells

clean, fresh

chemicals

on the lawn in front of me.

But what do I want?

I want to eat less

red meat

drink less

but more

whiskey

sit at tables

vibrating from

jazz

sit among poets

converse with people whose answer is

“No, I don’t care to be famous —

but I care to be remembered

well.”

I want to dye my hair to match my

childhood

roots

someone to love

me for my foul mouth

and laugh at my jokes

dance in the kitchen with my

socks on

that I don’t wear anywhere else (because I can’t

slide).

I want to sniff library books and

hear the cellophane binding crinkle

in my hands

while I highlight my favorite

words,

flag pages

and number them to match their doppelgängers.


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Diamond fence boy.

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My mother told me to stop

and see what they would do

when I asked about their intention.

They chased me

but for what?

At recess,

when a boy finally

caught me (I let him),

he stuck my wrists in the diamond shaped holes

in the fence,

looked around at his friends

for a cue

of what to do next.

The thrill of not knowing

his next move

kept me from taking my tiny wrists

out of the large-

enough holes,

paralyzed by wonder

though instinct told me,

he didn’t know.

I imagined a kiss.

I might duck.

Would he ask me to marry him,

like John did

on one knee,

everyone screamed,

“You are his wife now!”

I told them I wasn’t, and

we went our separate ways,

just like the diamond fence

boy did for his next

move, paralyzed by wonder.

 

If my fingers were wrapped around wrists,

I wanted to catch,

we’d leap over the

diamonds together,

run through the streets looking up to the sky,

screaming at something, though

we don’t know what, running into the wind like it was a security

blanket,

the faster we run, the more it feels like

a caress we want

to give

each other

secretly racing, so that our heartbeats feel slower

than the pace of our feet,

throwing glances, tripping over curbs,

trying not to notice,

we

climb over fences — you’d

have to give me a boost,

swim in other people’s

pools without the clothes

we were sent in,

sneaking glances, tripping over words,

pretending we are new to the neighborhood, mom and dad

work late, so we eat their bbq,

and you tear off the crusts;

you know what I like.

Let’s go inside,

and dance to the record that crackles,

though the vibration prevails

like the secret

we aren’t telling each

other

but don’t

have to

because you trust me

and I trust you.

I don’t try,

but I know,

your wrists are too large

to fit

inside a

diamond,

so we just hold on

to each other’s

wrists

protecting each other’s

fingers from spreading

and getting caught in the

artificial

wires

from our past

lives.

 

 


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Trivia.

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There was always mischief in my round eyes,

but the curls in my hair

softened

the imbalance

when the big eyes dropped off

feeling

from the news on TV —

my mother no longer allowed me to watch.

With a flick of her wrist,

we’d watch trivia.

To my frown, she would say,

“I know that made you sad, but the best

way to get through it is to

fake it, till you make it.”

When I faked it, I felt it, and if I felt it,

it couldn’t be fake.

She built me with genuine bones,

and the adage translated to us as,

“Act it, and you shall feel it,”

and I held onto that belief

until my eyes were more proportionate

to the roundness in my face,

 

the curls soften the

edges

of a bad repair,

where the broken pieces didn’t quite fit

together

the same way

as they once did.

Maybe it’s the added

adhesive;

I’m allergic to artificial.

You can melt it with a small match,

but I’ll take Grand Gestures

for 1000 please.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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When my string pulls her to the surface.

At the pool, where I pretend the peak of my belly

touches my spine

if I lay

flat on my back,

a woman swims laps, and all I can hear is the opposite  

of a pattern someone who is just trying to get through the day

makes.

Between splashing cacophonies,

I still thought about the times I wanted to say something

different but sometimes I am crushed

ice that I can hold on

to with one hand before it melts,

And,

I think we like things with which we see projections of

ourselves and wouldn’t it be

nice

if we weren’t them

but something just close enough to the surface

of the pool

that we recognize others

in our

reflection too?

My chest hurts when it’s hard to say ‘no’

and ‘yes.’

With each breath growing more shallow, I thought

should she drown from exhaustion,

I was the only one there to

save her.

I imagine throwing her a string to pull her back up to the surface,

“IwasabeautifulgirlPleasedon’tgoItoobelievemybodyismadeofglassI’veneverlovedanyoneIthinkofmyselfasfunnyForgiveme…”

Krauss explained that in the Age of String, shy people carried a wad of it in their pockets and used a piece to guide words that otherwise might not make it to their destination.

There use to be a time when there was no moment but the one under the sun and there was no

shift in the universe

that could keep it from going

away too soon.

 


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When my palms face the sun.

In the pool,

where I pretend the chlorine will

bleach my mistakes without turning my hair green,

the men turn skin into leather.

A man who preferred F bombs over cannon balls said,

“We’ve got to stop meeting this way.  Thought about you the other day when I picked up

some Heineken,”

but the man with hair longer than his patience said something by

not saying anything at all.

This time, when the mother insisted,

“Stay away from the lady with the book,

you’ll get her pages wet,”

I said, “It’s okay, the pages dry,”

and she smiled.

I never use a bookmark, because I always know where I left off.

In the Age of Silence,

people communicated only with their hands,

where I wouldn’t get into as much trouble with ambiguity.

Krauss’s words,”the lover might accidentally take to be the gesture, not at all dissimilar, for Now I realize I was wrong to love you.  These mistakes were heartbreaking.  And yet, because people knew how easily they could happen, because they didn’t go around with the illusion that they understood perfectly the things other people said, they were used to interrupting each other to ask if they’d understood correctly,”

landed softly in my cushioned palms because they were

always facing the sun.

I mixed the black print in with the spaces in between into the water around me because intention is overlooked in a world

without greys.

There was a time when the only thing that happened when my shoulder strap broke was that it made it easier to crawl out.

 


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When the edges curl.

In the pool,

where I brown my skin to pretend

the smoothness will last when the color fades,

the kids splash, but their mothers say,

“Don’t get too close to the lady with the book,

you’ll get her pages wet.”

I say nothing.

But I like it when the edges curl up like they are alive,

I imagine this sentence, “It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky,”

dropping into the water,

Krauss’s words spreading wider until the gaps between the letters

become void when the ink runs together.

The boy says,

“Mom, did you know that sometimes scientists lie?  The earth is actually a big spaceship with a bunch of people in it.”

She looked back at him,

and we sat there saying nothing together.

When I was a swan in the ballet, a hunter took me by the hand, and I followed him

not knowing where he was taking me put a knot in my stomach that I wanted to feel.

He stopped and did nothing.  He wasn’t taking me anywhere, but he looked at me as though I could make things that weren’t possible happen

or I looked at me that way.

I use to say nothing and everything all at once.