Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stray, unrefined, unfinished thoughts . . .

The Continuum of All Things

There's a point
At which the party-
Sized chip bag
Can't shrink
Any smaller
Before its paucity
Of ounces
Qualifies it
For a new name--
  A fiesta for two.

And there's a point
At which worry
Or pain or
(fill in any undesired thing)
Can't extend
Any longer
Without transforming
Into something else

* * *
A Haiku of Sorts

Enemies and friends
Two sides of one coin, both use
Energy to spin.

* * *

Every north-south road we traversed was under construction, but, as my sister pointed out, we weren't at all annoyed, knowing that orange cones and heavy equipment meant work (employment, a job) for somebody.

* * *

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We pray . . .

. . . for large things to be made small and small things to be made large. Masses shrink. Iron levels increase.

This seems reasonable enough. Things can swell. Things can shrink. We've heard stories of or witnessed such miracles.

But what about lost things of a living, physical nature? A lost eye or limb, a clipped thumb.

Where there is physical loss--it seems to me--we rarely pray with the same fervor, the same purposefulness, the same level of hope and expectation that we would use to pray for more health or less sickness. More happiness and less pain. More good fortune and less disparity. Part of this, I'm guessing, is from our observation of this finite existence: we know that not all lost things can be restored, not here. What is lost physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, financially, politically, personally, religiously is not always found, not always regained.

I am convinced, though, that every loss grants us other gains, often imperceptible to the naked eye, yet formative, defining, and alive.

I wonder what my losses mean. How they've changed me. If they've had any purpose beyond suffering. (Or if, as a human, I'm making meaning where there is none.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A stray thought . . .

My Shadow

My shadow
Has four legs.

It jingles
And jangles
As it trails me
Through the night.

My shadow
Is Havanese.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Have you ever noticed . . .

. . . how much vine, tendril, and pod is required to produce a handful of peas? Not to mention all of the ingredients: soil and nutrients, dried peas (seeds), temperate pea-appropriate temperatures, days turning into weeks, the cycle of sun and night, water?

This year the birds chomped and chewed up most of the pods in the top eighteen inch region of the four foot vines. I suppose I could have put up a net or a scarecrow or silver and gold whirligigs that would reflect the light. But I didn't because some writing (yes, writing) and some vegetables are for the birds.

(And I happen to like birds. Mostly.)

And it only cost me 25 cents . . .

I would say that you can't buy anything for 25 cents, except that I am certain there is a gumball dispenser somewhere that still settles for a single quarter. And probably, if you go to the grocery store, you can buy one little piece of candy from the bins and manage to pay for it and the sales tax with twenty-five cents.

Yesterday, I bought a moment of happiness for a quarter.

I was driving through a subdivision because the main road was under construction and wouldn't allow for a left-hand turn. As I curved around the church, I saw all the signs of a lemonade stand: six kids of various sizes in T-shirts and shorts, bikes on their sides in the grass, a square card table, an upside down stack of cups, and one pitcher of lemonade next to a bottle of Sprite.

I knew that my wallet was heavy with coins, so I pulled onto the shoulder of the street just past the kids, turned off the car, and started pulling out quarters.

When I walked over to the stand, they were ecstatic.

"Would you like lemonade or Sprite?"

"You can have both! We can mix them."

I asked for a lemonade and they poured it into a heavy green St. Patrick's paper cup. Before they handed it to me they announced the price of 25 cents.

"How many of you are there?" I asked. "Six?"

They nodded, and I told them that I would like to pay each of them twenty-five cents. When I handed the small pile of coins to the girl, the squeals erupted. "Whoah!"

I heard the change clank into the bottom of their money-keeping paper cup.


Their comments grew louder as I walked to the car. "Thanks so much for coming." "Thanks for stopping." More squeals.

All that and a delicious cup of lemonade in a sturdy cup for twenty-five cents. Times six. A bargain by most anyone's standards.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Do lost things . . .

. . . want to be found?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A few (actually two) of my favorite things . . .

I worked in the family bakery every Saturday since I was eleven until I went to college so maybe that's why one of my favorite things--even now--is a fresh hard roll.

Fresh hard rolls haven't yet started to wrinkle from spending their time inside the plastic bag. They still sport their crunchy shells. A squeeze of the package confirms this, and if you want to make 100% sure that you're selecting the freshest rolls they have, just look at the sell by date. You want the rolls with the date that's the farthest away, usually the bags on the back row or hiding underneath the less fresh rolls.

Add a slice of Danish Havarti from the Deli to your hard roll (as long as it's a good hard roll and a good brand of Havarti) and you have perfection. No need to muddy it up by adding sliced turkey, tomatoes, sprouts, lettuce, avocado, or smearing it with mayo. Just enjoy the simple perfection of crunchy shell that flakes off when you take a bite, then the fluffy bready interior and the cool, creamy cheese.

I discovered Havarti cheese in my high school art class. My teacher brought us apple slices and Havarti as a treat, and the Havarti hooked me.

Isn't it interesting how some of the things we learn weren't the main point of the experience? My art class's purpose was to teach me how to use line, composition, color, but it also taught me to love Havarti cheese.

Isn't it interesting how a lot of who we are grows out of us embracing pieces of the life we live? It's like a kid walking along the shoreline. There's seaweed strewn along the sand, shells, little bits of this and that left behind by beach goers; there's the sound of the ocean, the view, the way the kid's feet feel when the water washes away the sand beneath them. But for some reason, the kid spots a twig--something she could find most anywhere--and she bends down to examine it. Later she adds it to her collection, kept in a plastic bin beneath her bed.

We all have favorite things. They define us.

Monday, April 26, 2010

For someone to read . . .


Today, I peeled real carrots. Full length, full sized carrots. Not the whittled down baby carrots that I buy more often than real carrots, because they're ready-to-go--no peeling necessary.

Real carrots taste better. There's a better balance between the flesh and the woodier carrot core. They're sweeter too.


Every once in a while, I get an email asking me to be a Facebook friend. I don't have a Facebook account. I hope that I never have a Facebook page.

I don't understand why people want to dig up connections to people they knew in first grade (although I do wonder what Rusty is up to; he once wore pajamas to school, underneath his regular clothes, and people made fun of him. I was intrigued by his pajama wearing) and fifth grade (although I thought I spotted one of the twin boys I got in trouble with for vegetating--vegetating meant we weren't on task. We were looking at his basketball book) and middle school (although it would be interesting to know if Sharla is still spunky--a snotty girl made fun of her for wearing the same sweat shirt twice in the same week, and Sharla said, "I have a washing machine, you know!") and high school (although I sometimes wonder what the artists I spent so many hours with are up to; artists are lovely people to hang around).

I think the point is that we have a past, we have a present, and we have a future, and they all need to be kept balanced. I think that perhaps the people in our world now are the ones that matter most. They're the ones we should be emailing and calling and visiting and thinking about.

I'm not saying that the past shouldn't ever intersect with the present. I'm just fond of serendipity of a non-Facebook sort.

A woman I grew up with was killed in a tragic auto-pedestrian accident. Her death moved my mind to the past. I remembered how she laughed, as a kid; it was a contagious, happy, I love the world laugh. I remembered hiking with her through the Uintas, and how she didn't bring any food with her, except for a potato, because it was her period and she didn't want to eat, but also--I'm guessing--because her mom didn't help her pack anything. I remembered her black shiny hair pulled into braids.

I visited the condolences pages, online, several times over several days' time, and one day I found a message from her third grade teacher. She was also my third grade teacher, and pretty much my favorite elementary school teacher. (Maybe my favorite teacher ever.) So I wrote to her. We reconnected via email. And maybe we'll have lunch, I don't know. (It's really strange to think that she isn't that much older than I am; she was right out of college when she taught me.)

I have a friend from college that I miss having a connection with. Every year, around her birthday, I send a card or something or other. Every once in a while, I wonder how she's doing or what she's up to, but that's as far as it ever goes. Maybe someday it will be more.

I sometimes hear about what people are posting on their Facebook pages. Usually what I hear disturbs me, darkens my spirits, makes me sad. (After all, it's those sorts of stories that get spread.) Do people really post about their relationships on Facebook? Should that be the place to announce that your marriage isn't working out so well or that your husband left you? Do people really talk about their struggles, inner-most needs and desires, and foibles in that forum? Should that public space be where we reveal things we wouldn't even dare speak out loud in a room full of friends?


The conversation went something like this.

They were watching a genealogy show where experts help trace a person's roots through DNA and records.

COREOPSIS: We don't have any exciting stories in our family history like that.
BARBRA: That's because they didn't write them down. They had them.

Even people who wrote in diaries or journals didn't write everything they felt or experienced; a lot of those people wrote knowing that someone in the future--their children, grandchildren--would read their words.

I've done the same thing myself when I've written in my journals. And I'm not saying it's the best way, but I think we should meditate on it. Perhaps, we should consider why we're willing to put everything about ourselves online for everyone we know well, once knew, might know in the future to see.

A little decorum, a little restraint would go a long way, I think.


I spent the week--literally--writing and revising my novel. It went both faster(in terms of writing new scenes) and slower (in terms of my progress through the entire manuscript) than I thought. Time's like that. It almost always surprises me.

It's like going on a road trip. The drive away from home always feels longer than the drive back home, maybe because on the way out we are so keen on getting away from all we know that we're impatient, but when we come home, we relish the familiar. It's an emotional shift.


I guess I have a lot going through my head right now. None of it is completely fleshed out or fully connected, but here it is. Online. For someone to read.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I sometimes wonder why . . .

. . . I continue to pursue things that are beyond me.

Some call this reaching nobility. Others call it stupidity (the inability to see how inferior you are and hence the blind trying). And still others reserve judgement: it is what it is; it is reaching.

When I was a kid, I collected quotations on punched index cards in this little blue book. One of them said: "A man's reach should exceed his grasp; else what's a heaven for?" That quotation from Goethe gave me hope, even back then when I didn't really need help believing I could do what I wanted to do in life and beyond.

Now, I sit here thinking Is it enough to reach? Maybe the upward direction is all one needs?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Alone . . .

I know the sound that being alone makes. It's an echo in the brain that says why-why-why did I speak? It's the vast hollowness of a canyon, stripped of all vegetation and life, waiting waiting waiting for the pebble, the words, to fall and make a clattering sound (even if that sound is small). A sound that proves that the words exist, are real, are as tangible as flesh and bone.

It's you sitting at a dinner table not saying anything, because the words in your mind, the questions questions questions are foreign or incomprehensible or wrong if spoken in this space and at this time. You cannot win: silent, you are odd or rude, and yet, if you speak, you are rendered a foreigner in your own land.

Tonight, I am hostage to the words I do not speak. The wrongs I do not attempt to right, because my speaking the truth about myself and those I know would not be understood. Being a hostage is another form of alone.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Goals that seem possible . . .

1) Return to the elements--drink more H20; breathe in more air (N, O, H20, CO2, etc.)--the cleaner the better; dig in the soil (K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn) and hopefully learn more about the soil (here's one link I might look into).

2) Turn off technology more often--like the battery on my cell phone, I'm a bit drained. Maybe this goal shouldn't be listed under "possibles," as my work requires the computer, my writing requires the computer, etc. BUT what I'm thinking is less email checking. Less mindless surfing. Less time staring at the screen, and more time doing other things. I would love to go days without turning the computer on. Honestly.

3) Focus.