Hakuna Matata

My grandmother used to do fingernail inspections.

“Let’s see your nails,” she’d say whenever we had a free moment together.

She’d usually make a little clicking noise of disapproval with her tongue because, c’mon, I always bit my nails and often had dirt under their gnarly remains after playing outside with the boys.

She would make a clicking noise today.

Despite taking nail-health vitamins and frequently brushing on coats of nail strengthener, I’ve been snagging my fingernails on furniture and clothing while softening them beyond repair when I wash my dishes. Having braces forever cured me of biting my nails, but lately I’ve been taking the snagged edges and tearing at them with my fingers. The nail strengthener formula stung my exposed nailbeds just a bit ago as I brushed it on while sitting at my new kitchen island/table.

Sure, Grandma would make a clicking noise with her tongue today if she saw my fingernails, but I don’t need to worry about it. In fact, I don’t need to worry about anything. 

I have a job. I have a car. I have a roof over my head (AND A DECK AND A PORCH AND A WASHER AND DRYER AND A PARKING SPACE) and food in my pantry.

I don’t have a homework assignment due at midnight. I don’t have three projects to do and an exam to study for after I get done with work.

She’d make a clicking noise today at my fingernails, but that’s the only click of disapproval I’d get from her right now.

I’ve been sleeping deeply and dreaming –– DREAMING –– for the first time in years. I have no worries. The only clicking sound I hear now comes from my stovetop when I light one of the gas burners to make myself dinner.

Hakuna Matata.


Emily’s poetry, a history

I’ve been writing poetry for years. My mother named me after her favorite poet, so why not carry it on? I started out with a composition notebook that I decorated with stickers. Everyone just assumed it was my diary, as if it couldn’t be anything but a shallow notebook with all of my deepest secrets and fears hidden inside. Nobody gave me enough credit. Boys would steal it from me, but I managed to get it back without any harm done. They were only teasing. Teasing is harmless, right?

After that was filled, I moved onto a pink camouflage notebook that had pens attached to the front of it. It was nifty because if I had an idea I didn’t have to hunt for a pen before being able to write it down. The pens were just there. That notebook was also known as my “diary” and even a teacher asked: “why do you bring your diary to school?” To which I simply replied: “it’s not a diary.”

I poured random thoughts and whimsical dreams into those notebooks. Within about a month, the pages started ripping out of the pink camo notebook, so I saved the paper, but threw the rest of the notebook in the garbage. It was time to move on again.

I found a regular old yellow spiral notebook and plastered it with quotes, stickers, drawings, and pop-up sunflowers that I ripped off a thing I had at home. Poetry was transferred from my head onto the pages of that thing for about a year. I entered the seventh grade with the same notebook, and only showed the ones I was proud of to my then English teacher (who is now a teacher in the high school). The boys in my grade grew up a little and stopped calling it my diary, and I continued writing.

For my birthday that year, one of my best friends (we barely speak anymore…) bought me a hardcover spiral notebook with puppies on the front. Said notebook lasted me for nearly two years. That notebook taught me something important. Because I wanted the notebook to last, I only wrote poetry when I really really felt like it and had a good feeling about an idea. I decided that I didn’t have to write about everything – but there are some things that I will always wish to remember. I still have one page left in that notebook that remains empty. If I fill it in, the notebook is done forever. I always want to have the option of being able to fill it up totally. It’s amazing to go from the earlier poems in that book to the last few. It’s like traveling through two years of my life in thirty minutes.

Eventually, I took a little notebook that was a party favor at some birthday party I went to (I think it was Carin’s) and ripped out the used pages. I then covered it with duct tape, and voila! New notebook.

Using the duct tape notebook, I rewrote some of the ones I am really proud of, but I also wrote a year’s worth of new material. I am still busy filling it up with my life, so it’s a work in progress. It’s crazy to see how much I have grown in the past year. There are some poems in said book that are extremely naive and young-sounding. I know I will say the same thing in the future when I look back at what I wrote when I was fifteen (the present… for now), but I like what is exploding out of my pen at the moment. Maybe I will post some examples in the near future (which is defined as: later today).

“Knitting up the wazoo”

I have been “knitting up the wazoo” a lot lately. Maybe it’s because Christmas is so close and my goal of creating twenty works of art in one month is coming to an end. Maybe it’s because I have… six things? to knit by the day before Christmas Eve. No pressure, Em.

I started knitting within the week after my birthday (over a month ago). Now I am the knitting expert, and can knit and purl without even looking at my work. I can cast on and cast off with my eyes closed and have come to own three pairs of needles within the past month. I went from one who always dreamed of knitting, to one who everyone comes to with their knitting problems and questions. My mom asks me for my help (she refreshed her memory of knitting when I learned how to), and I have been asked to cast on some yarn for a friend of mine, though she ended up frogging what I casted on. I have made about eight – or more…I’m not keeping track – regular scarves (all piled on my desk in my room), and now I am experimenting with the stockinette stitch, and making other things besides scarves. (Scarves are boring and take too long to make, even though I whip ’em up like nothing.) All I need is to learn the knitting lingo and some new and interesting stitches, and I am on my way to scarves, hats (once I get longer needles), and even totes and bags and such.

My teachers are getting somewhat annoyed with my constant “click-swishing.” Yes, I even bring my knitting to school – where else am I to knit up things for my family without them finding out? Everyone laughed at me and asked “what the HECK are you doing?” the first day I brought the needles and such to school, but now it’s just the norm. “Oh, Emily’s knitting again – I wonder what she’s making now?!?!” Some people want me to teach them how to knit and others are telling me that they knew how a while back and just stopped. Well, a knitting club is to be started soon (assuming I can live to tell the tale after these past two hectic weeks of endless “click-swishing” come to an abrupt halt). One of my friends seems mesmerized whenever I pull out my needles and yarn… it’s rather creepy, actually.

I should probably be upstairs finishing the scarf I just started five hours ago (yes, I am nearly finished). After that, I must make a secret something for a friend, another secret something for another friend, and then I’ll start on another scarf. By Monday, I wish to be carrying with me the yarn I bought to make my dad a scarf. That is, of course, assuming I get all of my other tasks finished first.