Monday, December 12, 2011

Food (and Juice) for Thought

Last year I brought cashews and juice to a stranger at a car dealership who sold me a car headlight bulb and installed it for me. He was installing it just to be nice, and, as he said, because he wanted me to come back. He cut his hand in the process of installing the light bulb on something sharp inside the hood of my car. I told someone that story and that someone said I was creepy for bringing gifts back to him. I saw the same guy today, as I was coming back to get something else on my car fixed. He walked out with me to look at the car and I told him he helped me last December. He said he doesn't remember. I told him I brought him juice afterward. He said, "Oh, I remember that. That was the nicest thing that happened to me all year." I laughed and said, "Well, but you cut your hand ...." Creepy? Magical? Sometimes there's a fine line.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


My wise and thoughtful friend Suchanderina said recently, "If you give away too much of yourself too fast, you will get hurt." I've had my heart broken three times in less than a year, she observed about me. I wasn't counting. If you never give any of yourself, then you can be just as miserable. I guess I have to look for a happy medium somewhere, as usual.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Silly shortcuts that aren't much shorter

Cake mixes are silly. Taking an extra step or two by using a recipe to make a cake is healthier and much more delicious. I am in disbelief that I had not discovered this long before now. I wrote the same thing about spaghetti sauce many, many months ago.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Creativity was Living Under a Rock

Today I took a beautiful black and white photo, a portrait against some trees and a little sky. I made my subject laugh and captured a bit of true happiness, and I was satisfied with it on the first try. I was assigned to take this photo, and I was determined to do something creative with it in a job I have that occasionally and miraculously calls for the artistic nature in me to emerge. I also created a glorious dinner this morning that cooked all day and was perfectly and deliciously ready when I wanted it in the evening. On a small scale, I created what I probably alone consider a little magic today, and that is enough.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sun Blue Green

Today I found the change of perspective I'd been seeking, and it was blissfully therapeutic. Not too far from here, but far enough, there were tranquility-inducing negative ions floating from a little waterfall next to a giant fossil rock where the soothing sun was pouring down on all of me. I visited a friend's three-room cabin nearby, swept off a few pathways and steep steps leading down to the Shaver's Fork River. All was mostly wellish again.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Trying to clear my mind to let in new stuff. It's hard. How does one clear one's mind? Vacation? Fasting? Change of perspective? Deep breathing? Yoga? What am I doing wrong?

Saturday, May 28, 2011


This is my friend Suchanderina's message to her teenage daughter:
There will be boys who like you. There will be many boys who like you. They will not all be able to give you what you need. You will be miserable if you let a boy into your life if he can't give you what you need. You don't want to feel miserable waiting and wondering if he will contact you; and feel miserable if he disappears for a week and a half and then contacts you and then disappears for another week and a half; and tells you he'll see you when he's finished with being with his friends or after this or that important thing, and then maybe, or maybe not, follow up after that. You need and should have more than that, because that lack of care will make you feel miserable. You need someone who makes you his priority, who will be there for you, who will care for you and about you, who will want to contact you as much as you need, who will wait for you and be respectful of your time and listen to you and do what you want to do, when you want to do it. The only way to be sure that you have found that person is to wait until you get to know him before you give yourself to him in a most vulnerable way. Once you give it, it's too late to not have feelings for that person. It'll be a struggle to let those feelings go, despite the lack of care you feel. You can only let someone else into your life to give you that after you let those feelings go, so let them go so you can make room in your mind and your heart for one who can make you his priority. You have to wait for that moment, until you're sure that person has the capacity to care for you and give you the time and attention you need, before you give in, because if you don't, and he can't give you all that, you will be miserable, hurt, lost, confused.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Daniel and Me

Greenness has crept into everything, and the scenery on sunny days is that perfectly spectacular combination of deep blue sky and happy healthy green. I watched The Devil and Daniel Johnston last night, and I kept thinking about the patterns of shadowy stars, flowers, snowflakes and dusty spots that appeared all over everyone in what I perceived to be his imagination. He has a high, gentle voice in the songs he sings, and a gentleness and a wisdom in there that occasionally borders on the genius, the outrageous and the unstable. Some of his drawings shown in the movie look like mine. I saw one of an eye with no eyelid, flying with wings and that I had drawn about 14 years ago, a drawing of which I had presumed when I drew it to be original in as original of a form that is plausible. I wondered how else Daniel and I thought alike.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Happiness replaced negativity so much faster than I predicted, and nothing really happened to make me feel better except the advent of the return of equilibrium. And that makes me happy. Perhaps committing it to words helped my cause.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


My brain is fighting a brave and fierce battle with a spill of negativity in its many pathways, like a sickness that hovers and saturates the landscape of my well being. I wait in enthusiastic anticipation until it heals and passes. I know it will heal and pass, and I want it to happen quickly, but it doesn't work that way. I've learned this lesson so many times and it doesn't make it that much less painful, knowing that it's just a matter of time.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Sunday I was an audience member in the play "The Wizard of Oz," and I cannot think of a better way I could have spent my afternoon. Aside from the amazing performances, energetic and talented dancers dancing, scarecrow falling with grace and perfection, and magical characters filling the theatre with sentimentality and sweetness, I finally took the story's message into my brain: everyone only and already has exactly what they need inside of themselves, and as soon as they know it they will find it. All that singing, dancing and fantastical characters and scenery had consistently distracted me from the obvious. I had understood it and heard the message the first time I read the book, with the lion and the scarecrow and the tin man, but this time, I didn't realize it was true for Dorothy as well. When I knew that, it all suddenly clicked and somehow that realization offered layers of new dimensions of understandings for me -- how we make all our choices and how only we can hold ourselves back.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Life keeps processing on, with plants to water, mouths to feed, walks to take, and words to write. The sun is pink and shining directly on my face this morning, and it feels like Groundhog Day, today, the day from the movie where everything happens all over again but it's another chance to get it right, better than it was the last Monday. I spent much of my time yesterday outdoors, working in a botanical garden, weeding and raking, and walking around in the cool, early spring weather.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Elephants in the Room

My eccentric grandmother had the habit when I was young of using her own drama to convince me that whatever surprise she had to offer was special and rare and wonderful, and it never was. Whatever it was, it was disappointing, meaningless and empty. There was something wrong with everything, whether it was something she cooked or sewed or bought (I think most of what she said she bought were things that someone else gave her that she didn't want, or that she dug out of her attic). Her house was full of beautiful hardwood carved furniture and her house looked unlike any other house I'd ever been in, as it reflected a mind that was bizarre, eclectic, and from 14 hours north (New York City) of where we were. Clutter with bold colors of red, gold, turquoise and black and old furniture crowded the house. The house smelled of moth balls and if anything was removed from the house the smell stayed forever. When she died, she left behind mountains of stuff that was so old almost all of it fell apart or was on its way to disintegration. Every week or so I have dreams I am back in that house, and last night I was there with zoo animals. There was an elephant on the screened-in porch, taking up the whole porch, and there was a tiger in the living room. They were resting on the floor, and they were sad because they wanted to go back to where they came from. The first time I heard the expression "the elephant in the room," it was at a work meeting, and I had no idea what the expression meant or what the elephant could possibly represent. I feel I never really know what that elephant is supposed to be, and, because it's a big elephant, and a euphemism for something that everyone sees but ignores because ... (why?) ... I feel forced to feel that I should know but I don't.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


At a college planning meeting, I heard a few informative and helpful words from a retired public school counselor who is from my hometown. At least 10 years had passed since I had last talked to him, and the way I remember him is that he had brown hair and a brown mustache. He is a friendly, funny, smart counselor and at one time he was a coach. He is the kind of man who a person would feel able to talk to about anything and it would be understood and accepted, as the best of the counselors would be. That brown hair was all gone, and he had much less of it and it was all white. He remembers me, or at least he claims he does, and I hope I did not offend him by telling him I remember him with brown hair, but he accepted my observation and laughed. I started to think about how, now, today, 10 years seems to have passed so quickly, but children grow up in that time and grown-ups may undergo a complete transformation simply because of mother nature's magic. One's perspective on time is ever-evolving as one travels the long and lovely path of years.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I read recently that the author of a book I've been reading believes that in our infinite universe, it is a given that life will repeat itself infinitely. Our experiences, thoughts, lessons, patterns, habits, fortune, misfortune ... it is all simply a system of repetition. The more life experience I have, the more I believe it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I hit a roadblock.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Straight Ahead

Friday night the temperature outside my home was three degrees Fahrenheit. I spelled that correctly on the first try. Today is Sunday and it is sunny, bright, stark and clear. On my countdown to spring, we have only 56 days to go.
The family found a new house to have an attachment to. We all really, really love it and we've visited it three or four times now. It's closer to my workplace, it has beautiful wood floors, a very big deck that covers the front of the house, a grand view of a cemetery, lots of tall windows and built-in bookcases. A match for us that we all feel is meant to be. Alas, there have been many others before it that I have become too attached to ... places that I've become attached to that are unavailable ... am I victim of a tired human condition? Do I need to change or should I continue to dream and work toward making it a reality ... ? Well, of course I need to keep moving forward.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You're Dead; We're Changing Your Book, OK?

So many stories in the news yesterday about modifying Huckleberry Finn to take out the words inside it that censors deem offensive racial slurs. On first listen, my reaction was to feel irritated and defeated at the homogenization of our world, our culture trickling into one stream of what is right and wrong and good and bad and fashionable and indecent; and anger at the audacity of those who have judged and then act by modifying art to make it non-offensive. I close my eyes and see the shelves of Wal-Mart, where everything looks like the same cheap plastic with no character or originality, because the corporations think we all need soulless products that everyone else has, so we can replace it in a few months after they break so we can get more assembly-line-generic goods that everyone else has.
I heard they were taking the "n" out of the book, so I imagined it would be called "Huckleberry Fi_ _" and that there would be small gaps on every page where they entirely eliminated the letter "n" from every word in it. It would still be just as easy to follow, and the_ it would_'t be obvious that they were cha_gi_g a_y o_e particular word or the other .... a subtle cha_ge, if you will.
Then I heard the logic behind the censorship, and I can see some value in making a version available, a choice, to help stop the perpetuation of racially based insults, so that our children can read and appreciate the story without the ingestion of what we recognize now as vicious attacks through name-calling based on where someone looks like they've come from. So, the idea is that the book will be better this way?
Censorship seems OK, as long as the original version is still available to see it in its intended form. Yes, it's not as sharp or authentic and it feels homogenized, but it's a way to enrich our young and impressionable minds in a more innocent way. I do see some value in that, but the problem is that the writer is dead. We can't ask him if it would be OK. I think it would only be OK if the author wanted the clean version to exist, too. Of course, he lived in a different time and he probably couldn't foresee the 100-year-later judgments and calls for censorship on his choice of words. Posthumous censorship seems evil. No doubt ... this censored version will be on the shelf of your local Wal-Mart book and magazine section shortly.