Sunday, April 29, 2007

Making our Lives Available to Others: in Music, Stories, Poems, Songs, Art, Dance...

Whatever your medium, everyone has a story to tell...

I have been overwhelmingly blessed in the past week to hear many stories....Often I feel like a small child, sitting at the feet of Kings and Queens, when tales begin to unfold; something gets moved sideways in my body, it's like a cage is unlocked to the ears of my heart.....

A week ago today, it was over Sunday brunch sitting across the table from Barbara and Aubrey Nkomo, visiting from South Africa/ New York, sharing pieces of their poignant history as diplomats, visionaries, two loves who found one another at the United Nations. Daily in email I've been receiving snippets from my graduating high school classmates of 1987 (including potent reflections from Wendy, a friend with whom I shared a deep love for a man that took his own life.) Friday afternoon: I was blessed to hold space with George "Yerzy" Galonska, a Polish immigrant who fights fires in Minneapolis, collects sewing machines, and wants to meet mystics. That evening: it was the Cates Music singing stories into my soul and one divine Henry Allen who appeared and reminded me of what it is to simply RECEIVE.....

Oh! Now I could go on and on. But my job this day is to simply hold up more of Nouwen, quoted below, and remind you all of your gorgeous voices, hearts, spirits, that are simply waiting to pour out their own tales. Know there is no one right way, just that we are all called to give voice to these silences or hushed experiences within...Sing! Dance! Make your art! Tell your tale!

Love to you this day!

Making Our Lives Available to Others

One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this: "I have nothing original to say. Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to." This, however, is not a good argument for not writing. Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived. Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well. Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others.

We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.
-- Henri Nouwen

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Some responses to the BABY Lessons....

Thanks for all of your delightful words in response to my wanting-a-baby-writing. Here are some additional "lessons" that I thought you all might appreciate. They are from: My NCHS classmate, Colleen; sister Katie; cousin Jill; and another classmate, Jennifer.
I laughed my a-- off reading the original Lesson List sent by my sister-in-law, Emily.... But you all have some GREAT additional ones that I believe could be added to this.......
Giggles and Big Love,
You forgot about the part where your semi potty trained child poops on
the kitchen floor, panics, runs through the poop, through the living
room, up the stairs, and into the bathroom, leaving little poop foot
prints in his wake while screaming "MOMMY, I POOP!!! I POOP!!! HELP
ME!! I POOP!!!"
Oh yeah, and it's 3 hours before you host book have scones
in the oven and you still have to finish cleaning the family room and
reading the book.
That happened to me a couple of months ago. Thank GOD for carpet
shampooers and percoset.
after reading that, i don't think either of us should have kids until
a drug company has a complete newborn to adult mood and behavior
modifier. if successful i will then defrost our eggs and get us both
knocked up! hahahha

love you tons and tons.

Add this one,

Take all the loose change in Brendan's mom's (Grandma Marie's) cup holder and stick each one sneakily into the gear-shift slot - one, by one, by one, until they are gone.... Now, the car will not stay in park, or drive or reverse until you pay the Audi Repair Man $276.00. Who read about that one in "Parenting 101"?

- thank you, Brendan Timmer Teehan, two Christmases ago in Del Mar, CA

You have time and when the time is right, you will be ready.

Ok, I am going to throw my 2 cents in here for what it is worth. I need to take a break from working on this pension spreadsheet! My neck is killing me. On kids, I have to tell you, they are the light of your life. Here's a funny story for you along with telling you how darn BIG I was....

When I was pregnant with my 2nd one, I was getting out of the shower when my oldest walked in (get used to having NO privacy with kids) and he looked at me and said "Mommy, take the baby out for a minute so I can see him". I explained that it doesn't work that way. He said "Just for a minute mommy, then you can put him back in". He's saying this as he is trying to spread my stomach apart thinking there is just this cool little zipper I can undo to get him out. I explained again that it doesn't work that way. He stands there looking so cute staring at me, then takes his small hand, reaches around and pats my fat a@@ and goes..."Do you have one in there too mommy?". At that point I told him NO I don't and please go in the other room and play with his toys!

Kids will make you cry, make you laugh, make you pull your hair out, but most of all, they will fill your heart liked it's never been filled before. You are such a wonderful, loving and giving person that I know children are in your future. Your husband is just out there waiting for you when you least expect it. Don't give up! I'm praying for you.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

On Having Babies...(After 38.)


I have had a pretty solid one track mind since I left my life as an educator/ administrator/ consultant to clean houses and date. (I could add " and to pursue my writing career," but that's really not be at the top of my list.)

No: Babies, people. I have wanted to have babies. Clocks are ticking. Sand is running out of the hour glass, and eggs are dropping, rather dying it seems as each day and month passes....

Scary, for sure!

(You all know my mother invited me to consider freezing these things that will be 1/2 of her future grandchildren, right?....Another tale.)

So: I've just been trying to bide my time. Date some men. You know: go out for wine, have burgers, be taken to the art museum, or bowling, all in the larger interest of love, a bit of a romance, and then some whoppingly fast sex to produce offspring.

Really, truly: imagining the whole thing at the age of 38 1/2 sort of makes my head spin. Shoot! It's like I could get morning sickness just thinking of what I'm asking God for....

Cue Elaine and Jerry from Seinfeld: "The Baby! The baby!"

I want to date. And do some kind of wedding. I want to build a life together. I'd like to imagine traveling, or buying pillows together, or mowing the lawn and grilling, having friends over. Drinking and talking and giggling till late at night. Playing poker with his friends. Or whatever his friends normally do that excludes women, but that he'll want me there for at this early point in our life together. I want that period. You know: young couple in love and chilling mode?


Deep breath.

But how does one do that at 38 and 1/2 - when you aren't even married yet, and your unborn son and daughter keep whispering: Mommy! We want to be born! Would you get on it already?! We need bodies!

I'm not crazy. My children talk to me. My son has at least. (I just keep doing the wishful thinking: there's a girl out there, too, who really wants to enter my life, who wants me to play with her and teach her things.....)


Birth Control Happens right here...........Ladies and Gentleman, this is my life lesson, coming at me from a couple directions today:

1. Cleaning houses.

2. In the copied and forwarded funny email from my sister-in-law, a new mother, pasted below.

Yes, I was fortunate to receive a serious birth control lesson while doing my "Two Betty's and A Broom" routine - cleaning houses and really SEEING what a mom's life is like. I was knee deep in this world today; or should I say plastic toy-and-toddler-tissues-on-runny-noses-deep - while over at Sara and Aaron's home, tidying their living quarters.

The three hours of scrubbing while simultaneously navigating the beloved monotonous sound of baby Naomi wanting to be read to, over and over and over and over again: Let's just say: it was a wake up call to my fantasy. It was rather, a lovely way to push PAUSE and hold a bit on the NOW and the JOY I have in still being single and responsible for only myself.


It is. I have to celebrate. Cause with my clock, and what God keeps telling me, I know these babes are going to be here before I know it. And I don't want to look back on this time and NOT RECALL how mentally and physically and emotionally prepared the Universe was getting me.

I do love this day, this moment. And that I can read the following Lessons ("15 Step Program to Prep for Kids" and laugh - knowing their truth, and that there is still time.






Thinking of Having Kids?

Do this 15 step program first!

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.

2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home.

4. Pick up the paper.

5 Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...

1. Methods of discipline.

2. Lack of patience.

3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.

4. Allowing their children to run wild.

5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it, because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel....

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)

2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.

4. Set the alarm for 3AM.

5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.

6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.

7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.

9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years.

Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out..

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.

2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.

3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.

4. Then rub them on the clean walls.

5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.

6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

1. Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a jar of paint, turn it into an alligator.

2. Now take the tube from a roll of toilet paper. Using only Scotch tape and a piece of aluminum foil, turn it into an attractive Christmas candle.

3. Last, take a milk carton, a ping-pong ball, and an empty packet of Cocoa Puffs. Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower .

Lesson 7

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van.

And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.

2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.

3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.

4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 8

1. Get ready to go out.

2. Sit on the floor of your bathroom reading picture books for half an hour.

3. Go out the front door.

4. Come in again.Go out.

5. Come back in.

6. Go out again.

7. Walk down the front path.

8. Walk back up it.

9. Walk down it again.

10. Walk very slowly down the sidewalk for five minutes.

11. Stop, inspect minutely, and ask at least 6 questions about every cigarette butt, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue, and dead insect along the way.

12. Retrace your steps.

13. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbors come out and stare at you.

14. Give up and go back into the house.

You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

Lesson 9

Repeat everything you have learned at least (if not more than) five times.

Lesson 10

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is also excellent).

If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat.

Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 11

1. Hollow out a melon.

2. Make a small hole in the side.

3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.

4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.

5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.

6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month old baby.

Lesson 12

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's "Noggin"?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 13

Move to the tropics. Find or make a compost pile. Dig down about halfway and stick your nose in it. Do this 3-5 times a day for at least two years.

Lesson 14

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying "mommy" repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each "mommy"; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years.

You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 15

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the "mommy" tape made from Lesson 14 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Discernment of the Day: Grad School or No?

The Following is an Email Letter written to my High School Graduation Class of 1987:
Hey Loves!

So here's a live topic that I suppose I'd welcome your thoughts on....
I'm truly discerning whether or not to go to graduate school this Summer to get my MFA in Creative Writing, Non-fiction.
Normally, please note: that I'd weigh such a large decision with a couple close friends, a confidant or two, perhaps my spiritual advisor, Sr. Mary Margaret....
But: my girl Io is not picking up her phone. My guy David is moving houses - checking out of North Mpls, and heading to the 'burbs, so he's tied up in boxes and transferring his cable service... It's too late to call and talk to Sr. Mary Marg. And: I'm a bit on the sheepish side about ringing up Steve and Beth, after I sent them a copy of my "Loving Mari" Confession....(ack! Maybe I should have warned them?!)

Anywho, dear classmates:

I'm thinking of NOT going to grad school this June - (even if I am accepted.) This idea came to me today, as I started weighing my priorities and saying some novenas to. St. Raphael (patron saint of matchmakers, medical workers, and people who are lost and on a journey.)

I'm thinking of NOT going because:

1. I want to get married. And so dating and creating a life-long partnership is the number one way I want to spend any of my creative energies.

2. I really REALLY want to SEE you guys after 20 years! And if I do get accepted and do go: then I cannot duck out of my program, and be with you all at the reunion. And how often do 20 year reunions happen?!

3. It's actually YOU ALL that are making me think that I might be able to do this writing business - without being in school. Your feedback on some of my reflections - past and present day - have knocked me on my booty - ie, humbled me to no end. This correspondence has helped me imagine that perhaps taking out another $34,000 in loans is not necessary at this juncture.

4. Asking for what I want, read: ASKING SOMEONE TO HELP ME MAKE MY DREAM of MARRIAGE COME TRUE is the SCARIEST and MOST UNREASONABLE thing THAT I CAN IMAGINE DOING AT THIS JUNCTURE. (I mean: It defies all the rules I was raised on: Borgmanns are not weak people! We do for ourselves! Being needy is wrong! A sin! To require help, or to be vulnerable is to commit a grave error.) This ring any bells for anyone?! God bless my family! I love them so much!)

I think it's a Law of the Universe, though: that to make things come to fruition, To bring forward our lives' goals, destinies: we must INVITE A PARTNER! Who creates anything by themselves? And to achieve a transformed space/ life, we have to go against all notions of the REASONABLE. In other words: we invite the UNREASONABLE in, and then trust that if it's the Will of God, Love, it shall manifest. Yes?.

So: Before your very eyes, with you blessed souls, this what I'm deciding: The UNREASONABLE thing of NOT Going to School; sticking around to date a guy or two, and RECEIVE this partner into my life; and write here with my local writing group. (Now don't go and start poking holes in my thinking by saying that graduate school is where my husband is! I've gone to graduate school already - and didn't find him there the first time. I don't think God wants me to go into that much more debt to secure a partner. In fact: a partner of some financial means would be most welcome!!)

Next question: how is Melissa going to pay her bills, then, while she dates and writes and waits? That's the next installment of stories: "Two Bettys and A Broom" is what it's called. haha!

Thanks for letting me vent and rant and wonder and question and discern with all of you!!!
I so appreciate your loving support and virtual presence this past month of my life! To say nothing of the last 20+ years!

Love, Peace,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Post-Storm...Clearing pathways

The following are images from my friend Cynthia Berger's home in Lyme, New Hampshire. There was a terrible Nor'easter storm that did overwhelming damage, taking about 80% of their trees. (Sparing their home and barn, but leveling a newer guest house/ tree house her dad was building.)
The scene her father initially describes below, coupled with the appearance and help of others, neighbors, takes my heart to crazy places....
I'm holding this story and these images alongside other tales of devastation we've encountered this week. Whether it's natural disaster; violence and terror on a campus; the marked passing of a loved one; or the internal strife surfacing from choice and discernment -- the psychic and spirit levels of this call for a lotta love. A lotta compassion.
I send that out to each and every one of you.
I so appreciate the neighbors who Mr. Berger describes showing up with chain saws, ready to help cut and clear a path out for his family...
I think of the way we do that for any one we might encounter...
Peace, Love,

Scene from top of mountain, trying to get a phone signal.. You might be able to make out the garage in the distance...

A trapped vehicle in the Berger's driveway.

Monday afternoon I cut a way along the driveway to the culvert where there was about a 30 foot stretch without any downed trees. I could hear chain saws on Horton La. and it turned out that Ben Nichols, Jediah Smith and Doug Gernhard cut a path up the hill and were cutting a way into our driveway. As evening fell, Craig Martin bushwacked over from the Fromers, because another tree had hallen across Franklin Hill Rd. He joined me in cutting a way out the driveway. The second picture is of Doug, the first appearance of someone from the outside.

Dan Ordway, a high school senior and the son of some friends brought another friend's tractor over this afternoon. We used the scoop on the front to lift logs, carry them to the end of the driveway and pile them. Dan was very good at dodging all the ends of the chopped off trees that line the driveway, the cleared path just wide enough for a car and some of the logs he was carrying were 16 feet long.

We got a lot of the trees near the barn and near the house carted away.

He is going to try to bring another tractor with forks on the bucket tomorrow so we won't have to use chains. That should greatly speed up the process.
One of four friends cutting their way in.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I love Robert Fanning!

What is it about a good poem? It has the power to sort of stop time, slow your breathing, and remind you of what you love, who you are. Who you are REALLY, like in Love's eyes.

This Robert Fanning poem, this Monday morning, arrives as I contemplate the stress and headache of entering back into the messy world of arts education and administration. It shows up as I'm thinking about how hair spiders in my shower drain and lint ball dust bunnies clinging to my floor are similar to this work I've tried to leave behind: gross, messy, unattractive, needing to be dealt with.

But then I read this poem. And I remember. I know this voice the poet is talking about. The quiet, teacher-practicing voice of respect, of fear, of love, of awe. The voice that whispers with reverence in the face of something like mystery.

I hear that voice. It lives in me. And I know how to use it. As I know Love.

Thanks, Robert!



Poem: "The List of Good Names" by Robert Fanning, from The Seed Thieves. © Marick Press. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

The List of Good Names

Tonight, in the family style
pizzeria, we speak of having a child
some day. On a napkin smudged red
where the leaky felt tip lingered,
I watch meteors, sperm and tadpoles
cross the paper sky, as you
draw up a list of good names.

Looking at the list, I'm a substitute
teacher practicing attendance
before the class arrives:
Isabella, Gabriel, Rose. Who will be
the bookworm, the athlete, the clown?

Around us, the families finish
dinner, pack into minivans and leave.
The pimpled waiter picks up
broken crayons, wipes sauce
from a plastic high chair,
unplugs the video game.

Soon the room's as silent
as a doll shop after hours.
When I'm ready to speak, above
the ticking of the clock, my rubber
lips click. Whispering the list's
first name, I hear the voice

I used when I spoke your name
the first time—that voice I've used
when I try the name of an unknown
plant, or when I'm scared, or when
I pray, or when I know a stranger
now listens in the next booth,
the one I thought was vacant.

Queen Mab Contemplates

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Poem: on Resurrection

I wrote this about a year ago, in the middle of a rainstorm, as I was corresponding with a friend about Christ, Love, our individual calls in Life. Arch Benham had given me a rock at Easter - a rock that looks just like an egg. I love it. I still have it in my little shrine of precious things. That perfect stone has me often contemplating Christ's tomb.

What would have happened had that rock not rolled out of the way?

Thank God for the gravity - or the miracle - or the mystery at work, eh?

The poem is a work in progress. In the spirit of Easter, here ya go!
(Some of ya's have seen it before. I say, "enjoy again!")

The Hope of Galgatha
Melissa Borgmann
and on the third day,
the stone rolled away.

but can you see that body?
taken down from the cross.
cut, broken, bloody, born into death.

this galgatha.
place of skull.
of death.
and to speak of no promise.
of endings without hope.

that is to stay at the skull.
body torn down and left to the sky, elements, maggots consuming...
skin that blisters, cracks, rages against itself,
festering and boiling over to
raw wounded bones...
that will eventually dissipate
the vultures clinging and carrying away in their claws...

but the flesh of supposed savior was carried away.
tombs for the simple.
lots cast for clothing.
meager as he was.
poor bone and bread boy
laid out for burial.

can you hear the cloth in the temple ripping?
the clouds overcasting and the stillness of sorrow.
we can't breathe its so hot and dry and desert-like.

and in this. there.
the rock rolls.
is rolled.

we return to mystery.
to an emptiness that fills us with questions.

and it rains.
then it pours.
covers caked earth.
and we drink.
the merriment, festivities of miracles.
only we can imagine.
have to imagine or hope,
if we are to continue breathing.

we are Him.
festering wounds wanting salvation.
the balm exists i do believe.
in story.
in shared bodies.
in the poetry that is our work.