checking the mailbox // a story + playlist.

Tonight, I had my first writing class of a series. We did some free writing. Get a prompt. Write for five minutes. Share.

The third prompt was “I remember…”

For unclear reasons lately, I’ve been thinking about mailboxes. What they mean for homes. What they mean for love. What they mean for communication. And in the instant the of the prompt, I remembered a mailbox. Here’s what I wrote…

I remember the mailbox. The mailbox so empty, every time. My heart so broken. Every time. I had no way of knowing it could feel this bad. I was 17. I was in love. And after two years together, he went off to spend a summer as a camp counselor. I was so sad… but we wrote each other all the time. I had to get my wisdom teeth out that summer. The feeling wasn’t pain. The feeling was life underwater. Slower because of the drugs. My head was light, but my mouth was heavy, full of gauze. He just so happened to be visiting home the day after my procedure. He looked at me. Me with my chipmunk cheeks. And he told me we were over. “Whaaad?” I asked, muffled and swollen and crumbling into the pain now. I don’t remember much after that. I just remember the weeks to come. Checking the mailbox every day. Feeling inside the empty tin. So hot. So empty. I wondered if I could climb in, shut the door, and be in that darkness instead.

I assured my classmates that I am happily married now.

Checking the mailbox. It means something different to me now—thank god. It means something, though. I’ve put together some of the songs—old and new—then and now—full and empty—in a playlist for sharing. I hope you enjoy the tunes.

checking_the_mailbox[click me.]

[hoping the hot tin burns.]

lovely little things.

these days, I have to remind myself to stop and breathe in life. love the little lovely things.

like the awesome card from your bff:
or the valentine from your dear friends and their BABY… their beautiful, wonderful babe:

or remembering to watch your all-time favorite movie near enough to valentine’s:

I swear I interpret this film differently every time I watch it. I love it.
and I’m determined to drink a blue ruin someday.

or giggling throughout the day at the misfortunes of your partner in crime.
[which might make me horrid.]

or the full-on incredible valentine’s present from your mom:
crystal_and_hef mom_note

the little lovely things.

pinging joy within.



wonderland texas_rain golf_fun backyard_basil basiling matchy_matchy bf_of_the_year_award emersons_attention the_boys stevens_sibs ry_snowcone deep_eddys_girls evan_darling grafitti_kiss
“heaps” is the answer
to how much I miss Texas.
but my heart is here…

Listening to this all night and playing cards with my love made this night such wondrous affirmation.

I will always be proud of, and grateful for, where I came from.

And I will continue to be proud of where I am and who I’ve become.

Which is the girl who just wants to read this book over and over.

And refuses to be embarrassed about how much she wants to be Ira Glass.

I want to swim every. single. day.

I want to keep pretending and preparing for the conversation BJ Novak and I will have about how spot-on his book is and how we’re obviously bff.

And I will keep being unabashedly in love with this brilliant song/video:

It makes me want to quit everything and make music videos. Create and direct. Strong work. Strong.

Thank you, Ashely, for continually inspiring.

Let’s here it for Wednesday evenings back from vacation.


I am one and the same, I am useful and strange.

There is not a break in life. I find myself saying yes to everything and wanting more. I find myself working hard and still wanting to create at the end of the day. I love this. I get this from my father.

He would work all day at the post office then come home, put on music, open a beer, and go out to his studio to paint.

Sometimes I want to thank my father for this work/creating ethic. Sometimes I want to curse him for it. It’s exhausting to want so much out of life, to expect so much of your own creative soul… and then also hit all the concerts and shows and events that inspire you. Exhausting. Beautiful.

Like when I called him today and he said that they had a great time out in Austin with old friends, but today he wanted to finally write down the poem that’s been in his head and maybe finally submit that comic to the paper.

It made me pick up the closest poetry book to me and read something I thought my dad would appreciate…

Roadside Flowers- Billy Collins

These are the kind you are supposed
to stop to look at, as I do this morning,
but just long enough
so as not to carry my non-stopping
around with me all day,
a big medicine ball of neglect and disregard.

But now I seem to be carrying
my not-stopping-long-enough ball
as I walk around
the circumference of myself
and up and down the angles of the day.

Roadside flowers,
when I get back to my room
I will make it all up to you.
I will lie on my stomach and write
in a notebook how lighthearted you were,
pink and white among the weeds,

wild phlox perhaps,
or at least a cousin of that family,
a pretty one who comes to visit
every summer for two weeks without her parents,
she who unpacks her things upstairs
while I am out on the lawn

throwing the ball as high as I can,
catching it almost
every time in my two outstretched hands.

And it helped assure me of the little gift I gave him. In all of the hustle and bustle of last month, I forgot that I had bought Neko Case tickets with a handful of friends. It felt like too much to make the show, but we made ourselves go. Damn, I’m so glad we did.

We sat in the balcony of the Wilma and drank local microbrews and were in total awe of Case. Everything sounded even better than the album. Our friend, a musician himself, would tap his foot along to the music and when there was an especially amazing lyric he would shake his head, smiling, and turn to me to repeat it…

You know you do, all of you, shame on you, all of you lie… Holy shit, that’s good.”

You never held it at the right angle… Damn.”

I can’t look at you straight on… So good.”

And I knew my dad should be there. I wanted him to be there with us.

I hope you like the album, Daddy. [we can’t stop listening to it at the Smeethens’ household.]

Thank you for this amazing curse of creativity and all of your support and love throughout it all.


I love you to pieces.

Happy Father’s Day!



gosh, I love her so much.

About a month ago, I went golfing with my parents in Texas. We all laughed together harder than we had in a real long time. Probably because of moments like the one when my dad gave my mom grief for taking too long when it was her shot, “Virginia, grab your club!”

So she did…

And then she danced with it…

We could not stop laughing. Gosh, I love her so much.

Momma, you are so full of joy. You have a heart so big and you’re always there for all of us, bringing love into our lives in the way only you can. Thank you, Momma. Thank you so much!

Happy Mother’s Day, Momma! I love you so!

she has taught me.

A day late, but still filled with love.

I spent all day yesterday thinking about my amazing mother while I cleaned the house: did the dishes, all the laundry [done and folded], and weeded the garden to the extent of an insanely sore body today.

So many thoughts went through my head about my momma. I laughed to myself remembering the best times, smiled remembering the constant love, cried remembering the hardest times. My mom has gone through so much, with such a bold statement of love.

Motherhood seems like the most beautiful, exciting, terrifying, heartbreaking, surreal experience. And with every step, my mother had taken her life with us head-on. I’ve learned so much from her.

She has taught me that being beautiful may come naturally, but the most attractive thing a woman can wear is confidence.
And she wears her confidence so beautifully.

She has taught me that standing up for what’s right, what’s true, should always come naturally.
And she always stood up for each of her children flawlessly, over and over.

She has taught me that you should never be embarrassed to dance when the music is good enough.
And now I cannot contain myself in cars, bars, and kitchens.

She has taught me hope.
And I find it in myself, and in her, when times are dark.

She has taught me not to take myself too seriously.
wull hay.

She has taught me that if you’re making dinner, you get a cocktail.
So I make one for Evan… and then one for myself.

She has taught me to pursue every. single. dream. that I find worthy.
And I’m living it, breathing it. Thanks to her.

She has taught me this and oh, so much more. I owe so much of who I am to this beautiful best friend.


Thank you, Momma. I love you so much.
Happy [late] Mother’s Day!

to raise a family.

Blahgging has fallen to the wayside lately, but today calls for an enthusiastic, “HAY!”

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!


daddy with his loretta flowers on his birthday.

My dad is definitely a character… one that I love dearly and cannot wait until the next time we get to spend time together.

Dad recently sent me an email that referenced a lanyard that he found in our home…

“To the casual observer it would register as foo foo kid crap while we have 50 unused key chains that would work better.  To us it represents yrs of how much fun a family can be when you have love.  Money, sacrifice, & hard work mean nothing except it paved the road to success for my goal; to raise a family.”

My dad has expressed before that all he ever wanted to be was a father.

This year, it hit me more than ever. I am a part of something that someone wanted more than anything.

I can’t help but dwell on that.

And the fact that my dad is hilarious, loving, talented, genuine… well, that makes it even more amazing that that person, my Daddy, wanted me… wanted us all… my mom [his love], my sister [his soulmate], my brother [his best friend], and me.

Thank you, Daddy, for wanting us all more than anything. We love you dearly.

Enjoy this day of celebrating being a father… being a family.