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Love lots and be brave.

Sister has gone and done it. She managed to outdo herself and eclipsed what I claimed just a few days ago was the best Christmas present ever by bringing my nephew into the world one week early.

Dean Michael
8lbs, 19.5"

Dear Dean,
Welcome to the world, little man!

I've already fallen in love with you and we haven't even met. 
Pretty sure "Aunt" is going to be the best title I've ever had so thanks for showing up and giving me the new job. I would say that I can't wait to spoil you rotten but I've already been doing that since the day your mom told me about you. So, I can't wait to keep spoiling you rotten!

Just remember to love lots and be brave; the rest will follow.

Auntie Caley


"It says 'Fragile!' It must be Italian..."

In college there was nothing better than getting a little slip in my mailbox telling me to stop by the post office because someone had sent me a package. Especially when I hadn't recently been online-shopping at the library instead of writing literary critiques, figuring out the periodic table or researching the psychology of criminals (I was kind of all over the place with majors and minors).

December of my freshman year, late for class, I got one of those magical tickets and decided swinging by the package window would be worth being even later for lecture.

Big mistake.

Mostly because it was a BIG package. And it turns out you can't give a package back to the P.O. to hold for you once you've picked it up (stupid federal postal laws).
The box was 4 ft long and wide enough that I couldn't fit it under one arm while I half slid, half sprinted across the frozen quad to class.

By the time I burst into the classroom the professor had already started but paused to turn and stare with every single student in the room at me and my box. "It says 'Fragile!' It must be Italian..." Mortified I mumbled an apology toward the podium and tried to sneak into a desk. And failed. People kept quoting A Christmas Story and laughing until the professor finally said something.

"I can see we won't be getting anything done until we all find out what is in that box. Caley? Would you like to open it?"

So, my classmates and I peeled off the packing tape and opened the box. Inside was a perfect, little, 3 foot tall Christmas tree pre-lit with tiny lights and with a wicker basket base.

It got a few OOO's, a couple of AWW's, and one, "I thought it was going to be a leg lamp." Face red from the cold outside and the attention inside I read the tag tied to a branch, smiled and said, "It's from my sister."

We plugged it in and left it in the corner for the rest of lecture. Every year since then it has come out of storage soon after Thanksgiving to light up my dorm rooms, apartments, and houses.

Even though a few of the bulbs are now burned out and the wicker has some cracks, it is still my favorite Christmas present ever.


Stopping by the 'rents


"I might be going crazy."

"We've known that since you were five and changed into a new dress before and after every meal."

"Dad, that's not crazy. That's knowing how to make an entrance." I toss my hair over my shoulder and then laugh at myself for doing it.

"Ok, ok," he says shaking his head at me. "So, what is it this time?"

"I can't find my hammer anywhere at my house."

His eyebrows rise. "Did you check your toolbox?"

"First place I looked. See? That fancy private university degree you paid for comes in handy sometimes."

"Hey, since you brought it up, when am I getting reimbursed for that?"

"Dad," I sigh. "There are more important things at hand than the tens of thousands of dollars you spent on my education. I really need to find my hammer. Did you use it last time you were at my house?"

"Nope." He answers without looking up from his book.

"Are you sure? Focus. Pleeeeease. Hammer?"

Looking up over his glasses he squints. "Oh! I think it's in the garage. I told you that last weekend."

"No, no, no! You told me you left the pliers in the garage."

"Right. Same thing."

I snatch the book out of his hands. "Who are you? My real father would never say a hammer and pliers are the same thing because my REAL father spent hours with me in the garage going over the importance of knowing the name and use of every tool ever made. I want my REAL dad back."

"Sweetheart, about that. Maybe it's time we have a little talk..."

Cutting him off I say, "Not funny. I'm leaving."

Between guffaws he tells me he lovees me and before I have a chance to get out the door he shouts over his shoulder for me to wait. "Heeeeeeey, did I tell you I left your hammer in the garage last weekend?"

"Love you too, Dad," and I slam the door.


Sneaking back in

There's no good way to get back into posting after taking a few months off. None. Too much to explain about not writing and no real good reason for having stopped in the first place. So, to avoid being all dramatic about it I'll just sneak back in with a few random sketches.


Moving toward home
the morning’s worries,
8 hours old and starting to mildew
slip back into rotation--
iron unplugged?
trash left out?
food dish filled?
Head down, burrowed deep
in the dark pockets of my head
I walk through
the after 5:00 emptiness of the hall
letting tiles stretch into lines
behind my heels.

Into the Cold

Pushing open the door
fresh air slaps me,
steals away daydreams
of your fingers deliberately
tracing my outline onto
soft cotton sheets.
I freeze--
half inside
but almost gone,
and smile at the shock
of snow,
boldly blowing through
the edges of my red, wool coat
hitting the heat of my chest
and melting
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