One could go on and on forever talking about anything, but I'll just touch on it here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Power of Suggestion

I'll text him from the grocery store and ask, as I stand before the bulk section, does he like dates. Yep, he'll reply, so I'll buy a bag of them. At home I'll mention how I think dates look like cockroaches. He'll laugh but eat them in his lunch for days. Then, one day some of them will come back in his lunch bag, untouched. Eating dried apricots weeks later, avoiding the dates in the cupboard, he will laugh and admit that he doesn't like dates. But you said that you did, I'll reply with consternation. Laughing harder, he'll say that now he can't stop thinking of cockroaches.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lune Nonsense

Try these; they're fun. Similar to haiku, this poetry form is short and should focus on concrete imagery. But play with it how you like. Instead of keeping track of syllables, watch words. 3/5/3 is the simple format for the stanza.

Haze chokes me.
What happened to blue freedom
where birds soar?

Jalapeno stings my
chewed thumb, chapped lips, eyes;
more failed salsa.

Broken piano keys
remind me of unfinished songs
humming inside you.

Pizza bakes golden
while I hide away lonely,
waiting for you.

Smell dinner burn,
roasted like fiery potato bugs
camping last summer.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cough, Cough; Summer Needs Reviving

I'd love to spend more time here

and no time here

photo credit: Forest Service Northern Region (Creative Commons)

This weekend we made our great escape from smokey skies and traveled through the first photograph.  Today, back home, I look out the window and can't bring myself to find a good reason to go outside and join all the smoke, a gift from the northwest forest fires. Every good part of summer fades in the haze when I realize only two weeks remain of this supposed freedom, and what does smoke go and do but make itself comfortable.

Smoke and heat like to injure summer every way that they can.

Looks as if it's time for me to be counting my blessings again. Maybe I should shout Thank you! to the skies. Thank you for the opportunity to scrub the tile grout; I wouldn't be doing that if I was outside riding my bike. Thank you for time to spend endless hours online; I wouldn't know when my friends were going to the store or getting their legs waxed if I was out skipping stones in the river. Thank you for inspiring another blog post; I wouldn't have anything better to write about if I was hiking a local trail.

Seriously, the smoke and the heat can't leave soon enough! A summer baby though I may be, bring on fall! That is, only if fall will have no forest fires, cooler temperatures, and several rain showers.


*chuckle* How about a summer revival by way of a summer-blessings re-cap, lest you think I will spend all my time complaining today!

*family floating day on the river in a splendiferous thunderstorm
*my first trip to the water park where I screamed (though not as much as my niece) and indeed did not drown, just as my sister had promised
*two camp trips with family, including a breathtaking hike (really, haven't gotten my breath back yet)
*a week of writing camp (which also included biking every day along the river) where I made new friends and fell in love with words all over again
*2nd anniversary celebrated with my husband, during which we braved the heat and explored new places around the city and topped it off with an amazing dinner
*hip hop dance class—we could really rename this Annie's Time Laughing at Herself in the Mirror for 45 Minutes each Week

PLUS: a graduation celebration, meeting up with friends in various places around our city and others, exploring new ideas for our yard, watching our salsa garden grow beyond our expectations, reading, eating ice cream and snow cones, celebrating my birthday, taking photographs, watching my husband get excited about his hobby and take it to new heights (which means antenna growth in the backyard), and

Waking up each day with new life waiting to celebrate!

Photo credit: Forest Service Northern Region

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wanting It All Without the Sacrifice

With every cartwheel on the front lawn, every headstand in the living room, every back bend in school—my little gymnast self wanted to achieve acrobatic awesomeness. I tumbled as a tot and bent my body as a preteen, but then my gymnastics days ended abruptly.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Bethesda Photography

I wasn't out on injury; my family moved and we no longer had a gym or a coach. So what could I do but resign myself to life as a spectator and watch the sport play out on TV? Yeah. I pretty much just quit.

Life went along without too many pangs of heartbreak that I wouldn't make the front of a Wheaties box. I stayed active and pursued other interests but lost any hope of ever being able to compete in gymnastics or even effectively do the splits.

This summer my eyes returned to the screen to cheer on the newbies as they competed for Olympic gold. I call them newbies because I recognized no one. My last heroes were the gold-medal team of '96. That's how this sport is, so physically demanding that you peak partway into the high school grades and often retire before college. These young girls quickly reminded me of the fun of the sport and the awe it inspires. I'm sure I could still stand on my head, but I'm far from flexible compared to the champs and I cringe at the thought of flipping above a balance beam—that always scared me anyway.

But memories of backward walkovers and chalky hands and torturous Mary Poppins stomach crunches awakened my inner athlete. Watching from my comfortable chair I felt short of breath, as if I'd just vaulted with the gymnasts. Yes, I had once wanted it all just like they do.

But what goes behind their talent and skill is more than just years in the gym. The sacrifices made by their families, those made by themselves, are huge. The fact that I gave up gymnastics so easily proves that I never came close to having what it takes. Many gymnasts move away from home at very young ages to live with, or near, their coaches. Parents take out 2nd and 3rd mortgages to fund their children's pursuits. It's lost childhood, money, family togetherness.

I wanted to be THAT GOOD without giving up my "everything else". I didn't want to sacrifice anything to achieve it.

sacrifice, v.

"to suffer loss of, give up, renounce, injure, or destroy especially for an ideal, belief, or end"

When I consider what some people are willing to sacrifice, to make their dreams come true or to make someone else's dreams come true, I ask myself what am I willing to sacrifice? And for what or for whom? I have no regrets about not becoming an Olympic gymnast. In fact, I'm afraid that I would have regrets if I'd tried to go that far and my parents had sacrificed their money—and possibly their sanity—for me. I might feel guilty, even though I shouldn't. I might feel horrible, as if I had only thought of myself. If I'm giving up things in life only for my benefit, does it even count as sacrifice?

*photo credit, Bethesda Photography

Thursday, August 2, 2012


During a hilarious game of Pictionary many years ago I attempted to draw "abundance." What the picture really looked like, I don't quite remember. Big mounds of something or other, I think. My friend didn't guess it, but she gave me a hard time about my effort. How indeed could she have guessed such an abstract noun? (OK I'm sure you all have many wonderful ideas about what I could have drawn. Feel free to share so that I can have a better drawing next time!)

The word itself can't be accessed with our five senses, but many things of abundance in my life don't shock my senses at all. I've grown accustomed to them. Food, for example.

When I walk into a grocery store I don't fall to my knees and weep over the abundance of options available. I go in with my list, rush around to get everything on it, and then get out of there because it is such a bother being there in the first place. What a hassle in my life to have to shop for food.

Well. Maybe you never weep either, but my mom once told me a story told to her by a person returning from the Peace Corps (or some other mission-minded placement) who did in fact fall to her knees in the grocery aisle, overcome by the quantity of food—the abundance of nourishment—on the shelves. Having returned from a country where the people were lucky to get any food at all, this person suddenly saw abundance in very concrete terms.

Photo credit: Creative Commons, markyeg

How, then, can I open my refrigerator and cupboards—especially after returning from shopping—and bemoan the lie that there is nothing to eat? How can I choose to go out to a restaurant because I can't figure out anything to cook for dinner? I find nothing wrong with going out to eat and I don't make a habit of feeling guilty about it, yet I ask myself these tough questions when I realize I've been complaining again. 


Abundance I hope to acknowledge in my life ever more deeply from day to day—besides food—is love. I know I have it—and I see it and am told it every day—from my husband and my family. I also know I have it from God, but mostly I've read about it and people say it is true. Maybe I let it be too abstract and miss the concrete representations. I could say the fact that there is all this food available to me vividly shows God's love, but that sounds a little off somehow. My house, my job, my possessions, my food supply are all blessings that many people don't have. I really don't know what part God plays in them all. So are there concrete—sensory—representations of God's love for me? He acts through people to show me love. Is that the only way? Do I need to see his abundance of love or just learn how to accept it?

*photo credit markyeg