Dear Universe,

I should probably tell you, since you seem so intent on hanging around: I have accepted my invitation to attend graduate school at Stonecoast, through USM. This was not without strife, both emotional and logistical.  Thanks for that.

What is it with you?  Every time I am standing on the precipice of a major life change, you send what I have come to call straight up horrible signs I can’t decipher.  It’s an old Latin term. It means I ask you for guidance and you send neon signs both for and against whatever is on my mind.  Case in point:  remember when we were getting ready to move our entire lives to Korea and I asked you for a sign?  All seemed right with our tickets, contracts, house rental…  But then, our Visas didn’t show up, and Garrett broke his pelvis and cancer showed up uninvited to our neighborhood’s party, and you stood on the tallest mountain in my land and laughed? Well, I remember, Universe, and I still feel the sting.

It doesn’t fail.  It’s as if you’re testing me:  when everything goes wrong at once, how’s she going to handle it?  You can’t just send a clear cut yes or no, pro or con, stay or go?  Would that be so difficult, Universe?  It really doesn’t seem that hard.  Maybe I could get fired? Perhaps Stonecoast could go bankrupt?  How about, I know, how about I just win that lottery?  The one with the $1,000 a day for life jackpot? That would make things pretty clear cut.  Instead, you offer all sorts of dandy choices and go hey there, whatcha gonna do now, little feller? 

Let me be clear:  I don’t really like this strategy of yours… making everything a six-of-one, half-dozen-of-the-other situation.

Hey.  What a second.  Was that “tastes great/less filling” pitch yours, too?


Here’s the thing: you know I have to work full time while I attend school, and yet, (let the horrible signs I can’t decipher commence!) my workload, as I found out last week, is increasing by 2/3 next fall (2/3! Teacher friends of mine are you listening?!), as both my class load and student numbers increase. That’s some divine timing, right there.   Never mind that I TOOK this job in the first damn place because of the manageable workload. Remember THAT, Universe?  Well… yes, big guy, that was actually pretty nice of you.  I should have said thanks more loudly and boldly.  That was a great thing you did there, and it’s been a nice two years. Maybe you’ve been waiting all this time for a bigger ‘thank you?’  Maybe, contrary to popular belief, you do hold a grudge.

This new job workload at my job?  It’s going to mean, sir, far, far less time for writing.  Or, more pointedly, far, far more opportunity to put my time management skills to use.  You know darn well there will always be a baseball game I should be attending, or an art class someone needs a ride to, a band concert I’m late for, or a casserole turning to mush in the oven.  And by the time I realize it, I … I will have already paid my tuition, and there will be no turning back.

Or, maybe all this trepidation just makes you laugh.  After all, there’s rarely been a time I didn’t weigh all the options and then dive in head first.  You know it and I know it.  Hell, everyone who knows me knows it.  It’s some rocky, shallow water sometimes, but no head injuries yet.  Maybe you just enjoy making me think I have a choice in the matter, when really, my heart is screaming to go back to school and make that dream come true.  It’s never mattered before what you throw in my path, we all know I’m just going to keep on moving.

That makes me wonder:  is that why I’m waking up in the middle of the night with these song lyrics in my head, night after night?

There’s a stranger in a car
Driving down your street
Acts like he knows who you are
Slaps his hand on the empty seat and says

“Are you gonna get in
Or are you gonna stay out?”
Just a stranger in a car
Might be the one they told you about

Well, you never were one for cautiousness
You open the door
He gives you a tender kiss
And you can’t even hear them no more

All the voices of choices
Now only one road remains
And strangers in a car
Two hearts, two souls, tonight, two lanes

You don’t know where you’re goin’
You don’t know what you’re doin’
Hell, it might be the highway to Heaven
And it might be the road to ruin

But this is a song
For strangers in a car
Baby, maybe that’s all
We really are…

Strangers in a car

—Marc Cohn

Could it be that “all the voices of choices” aren’t mean to trip me up at all, but to do their due diligence, and nothing more?  Universe?

In that case, welcome, stranger.

In love and trust,



Life begins where the blacktop ends. I can’t wait to see what’s beyond that horizon.