Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Christmas Unicorn

I’m always stumped when someone asks me what I want for Christmas (or my birthday, or whatever gift-giving occasion is at hand). For some reason it has always thrown me for a loop and I’ve never been able to put my finger on why, and I still can’t. The question will inevitably be asked and I will be perplexed and then feel as if I must be an alien because of the way they are squinting at me. I imagine they are thinking “Geeze, she must want something really expensive. I shouldn’t have asked!”.

Well, the truth of it is that I absolutely don’t know what I want as a gift from someone. And honestly, I would rather know what they would pick out for me without direction. So, what is the proper answer to their question? Should I say “Just pick something out,” and leave them with the burden of wondering rather or not I will like it (I will), or should I say “A gift card to the mall,” which is my standard response? It’s hard to say.
One of my favorite Christmas presents I ever got was when I was 16, my beloved grandma gave me a wooden snowglobe with a white unicorn inside. I don’t remember what tune the globe played, I would have to bring it down from its high shelf to check. But, what I loved about that gift was that it was simple yet magical and completely unexpected. She happened to see it and she knew that I was still young enough to like it, yet old enough to appreciate the meaning behind it. She saw “me” in it, and that is why it is so special to me. It was certainly not the most expensive present I’ve ever gotten, and to be truthful I don’t even recall what was the most expensive present I’ve gotten.

For a few years I got to where I would actually carry around a little list in my purse and when I thought of something that I might want, I would jot it down so that I wouldn’t meet the “question” with a deer-in-the-headlights stare. But, it felt wrong to keep a list. It felt selfish. I stopped.

So, in case you ever wonder what I might want for Christmas, here is the answer: I want something from your heart with meaning. Give me a unicorn snowglobe with the sentiment that I am loved and that you truly “see” me and who I am.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Horn of Plenty



Part of the Cornucopia’s interesting history

(From Wikipedia)

The cornucopia became the attribute of several Greek and Roman deities, particularly those associated with the harvest, prosperity, or spiritual abundance, such as personifications of Earth (Gaia or Terra); the nymph Maia; and Fortuna, the goddess of luck, who had the power to grant prosperity. In Roman Imperial cult, abstract Roman deities who fostered peace (pax Romana) and prosperity were also depicted with a cornucopia, including Abundantia, "Abundance" personified, and Annona, goddess of the grain supply to the city of Rome. Pluto, the classical ruler of the underworld in the mystery religions, was a giver of agricultural, mineral and spiritual wealth and in art often holds a cornucopia to distinguish him from the gloomier Hades, who holds a drinking horn instead.

Painting by Jaacob Jordaens, "Cornucopia"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fate - Better Than Sliced Bread

I watched a program on PBS/Nova last week that got me to thinking about fate. Basically, it explained that “TIME” is not necessarily progressing at a constant state, that instead, “TIME” is collection of micro-moments.

First of all, time is only relevant to the creatures that measure it – us. Dogs don’t give a crap about time, neither do hermit crabs. Why would they? Furthermore, it’s only fairly recent that we humans (or aliens, whatever we happen to be) have started measuring time with a device (sundial, clock, etc.).

In this Nova program, they talked about the concept that every single micro-moment of every single being that has ever or will ever exist has been recorded. Imagine a giant loaf of bread. Now imagine slicing a micro-slice of that bread and looking at that micro-second in “time” and seeing a representation of every moment recorded. Ok, now this is where it gets weird. Imagine that the moments recorded on one end of the bread slice are so far away from the moments on the other end that if they were to travel to the other side of the slice to meet another, it would not be the same time when they got there as to when they left. Thus, the slice would be diagonal instead of straight.


Ok, so that means that if a diagonal piece of bread can be sliced, then the moments that are hundreds if not thousands of years ahead of the moment on the other edge of the slice are already made!

What? Excuse me while I take a puff from my crack pipe.

So, does this mean that our future moments are pre-determined? That everything is fated? That’s a heavy concept.

Let’s pretend that this sliced-bread concept has been proven true. Does this mean that one should choose to just sit back and wait for things to happen to them, figuring “what will be, will be”? Or should they take a proactive approach to their lives, and participate wholeheartedly in making every micro-moment the best that it can be? Either way, it’s still the fated future. It won’t change anything, right?

I disagree. Although I don’t think it will change anything, I think that sitting back, accepting what you THINK is your fate is wrong. Who are you to know the future? You can’t. All you can know for certain is the present. And I know for a fact that every time that I have ever grabbed life by the horns, things have turned out ok. Did I change my fate? I may or may not have. It’s impossible to know because although time may be laid out like a piece of bread, all of us “beings” are only allowed to live in a micro-moment at a time.

We will never know if our actions changed our fate or not because by the time we get to that moment, it will already be there!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mass Hysteria

My Psychology instructor teeters on the edge of reason, as any good Psychology instructor should. On one hand, he’s a genius; on the other he is a plodding older man who doesn’t know how to use Windows. Each week into this semester has proved more interesting than the last, but I’m hoping that this past Tuesday will be as far as he will push the envelope. I can take it, but I’m not so sure the majority of my classmates, all wide-eyed in wonder and younger than me by at least 15 years, would be able to.

Class started normally enough until he suddenly said “Shit!” and spit his upper dentures into his hand. “Well, they broke,” he concluded upon examining them briefly, then shoved them into his back pocket and continued the lecture. This elicited a few blinks from the audience, and a few bodies shifted in their chairs. Well, it’s not every day that your instructor spits his teeth out.

Thus, he spoke with a lisp the rest of the night as he lectured about Freud and the Victorian times. He started to delve into the phenomena called “Hysteria” that many women were diagnosed with at that time. Students sat close to the edge of their seats, intrigued.

I turned to my partner, one of three of us in that class who are older than the majority of the students and said “Oh my God, is he going there?”

He told us how women with hysteria would make appointments with Dr.’s who would have them sit in modified dental exam chairs with stirrups attached to them and suggested that the female members of the class would know what he meant. Again, I turned to my partner and said “My God, he IS going there.” At this point I had to lay my head sideways on my desk to muffle the giggles I knew would come (pardon the expression).

He continued to explain to his wide-eyed audience how the Dr.’s would reach up under their patient’s skirts and use an apparatus with a rubber tip (of many different designs), stimulating their clitoris and bringing them to orgasm, thus curing them of Hysteria. A pin could drop in the room. My body silently convulsed from giggles and a tear slid down my face. Mind you, his dentures are in his pocket and he is talking with a lisp. He proceeded to explain in detail the differences between a clitoral orgasm and a vaginal one.

After regaining my composure, I wiped my eyes and sat upright to listen again. It’s a good thing I sit in the back row.

That night I learned there are several words that induce severe giggles from me when spoken in a public forum by an older man missing half of his denture palette: Vagina, Clitoris, Dildo, and Orgasm. Heck, these words induce giggles from me anytime I hear them, but hearing them from a toothless teacher is special.

I’m certain that my posting here has failed to accurately depict what occurred in the classroom that night, but I’m pretty sure some of the students were traumatized based upon their lightning fast exits and red faces. And, I learned that after all, I am still a 13 year old girl in Health class who can’t help but giggle like a loon whenever she hears certain words.

And what do dildos have to do with Freud? Well, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to Help

“There are starving kids in Africa.“

I remember hearing this at the dinner table growing up, as I’m sure we all did. Our parents and grandparents unintentionally guilted us into doing something we didn’t want to do because there were kids out there that couldn’t do it. After hearing this for the twentieth time I started to wonder why they couldn’t just box up my leftovers and send them to the poor kids that didn’t have any food. In my 6 year old mind it made perfect sense, so I didn’t understand why my well-meaning suggestion was met with a reprimand.

Thus, here we are some 30 odd years later and I am still hearing and feeling echoes of those conversations, although a bit different. There is always someone that is worse off than me. Of course there is, and I know there is. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot and have seen some very poor areas where homes (if you could call them that) are barely bigger than what I call a bathroom and made out of particle board. I’ve worked in a convalescent home. I’ve sponge bathed ill relatives. I’ve held a dearly loved one as they passed to the other side. I’ve seen more death than most people my age. Yes, I know loss. I know pain. I know betrayal by a loved one. But, I also know that there is always someone out there who is worse off than me. And, maybe, knowing that is what helps me to keep my head up when it becomes increasingly enticing to let it slump instead.

Yes, there is always someone out there who is worse off than me, but does that mean that I should “suck it up” and continue with what I am doing with a smile on my face? Does that mean that I should happily finish my okra knowing that some poor child in Africa can’t have it, as if my feat would help them in some way? Or does it mean that I can decide that I hate okra, and instead take my childish idea of packing up my meal and turn it into a real-life idea that can actually help get nourishment to Africa?

Someone is always worse off than me, but that doesn’t mean that I have to put up with sub-standard relationships, friendships, behavior, jobs, or anything else (including okra). I can acknowledge that there are starving children in Africa (and everywhere else). I can help them. I can honor their pain with a tangible form of assistance, not by eating my Okra 10,000 miles away on the other side of the planet.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Trusting the Darkness

Sometimes I feel
Life’s anything but fair.
But the stupid truth
Is neither here nor there.

The truth’s in the days,
The details, the hours.
The seconds, the minutes
They have all the powers.

The truth’s being present
Each breath I take.
It’s choosing my path,
A destiny I make.

Do I turn left?
Or do I turn right?
Or do I head straight
And venture to night?

A blanket of silence,
The night air seduces.
I step into its comfort
And join the Medusas.

They have gone before
And some still will follow.
Those who have trusted
The pill they have swallowed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Perception

Last weekend was my 20th Reunion (High School – I guess that has to be clarified. Apparently there are middle school reunions these days too.), and it got me thinking about perception.

For me, high school was a good experience. I was friends with a lot of wonderful people across the spectrum of clique-dom, many of whom are still in my life. Although I wasn’t in sports, I was in drama and creative writing classes, and was on the Newspaper staff.

Life at home wasn’t all that peachy for me though, and I became a little rebellious. I started ditching regularly, choosing to go to breakfast with friends, the lake, the Excalibur, or many other places, yet somehow I still ended up making good grades. I think I was able to separate what was going on at home with school, and I was able to channel my angst into more creative outlets thanks to some awesome teachers.

But, back to perception. I perceived myself to be an oddball. I dressed in fishnet stockings underneath ripped jeans with a black t-shirt and motorcycle jacket. That was some days. Other days it was my black converse with a red denim miniskirt and a black and green tie dyed shirt. My hair had a bright red streak in it, sometimes, when it wasn’t permed or crimped. Lord knows where I came up with those crazy ensembles.

Many of the people I hung around with were from different classes, or they weren’t able to attend the reunion for their own reasons, so I was kind of nervous about the whole thing. I joked with everyone that I was afraid they wouldn’t recognize me unless I was wearing some crazy outfit, or that they wouldn’t remember me (remember – I ditched. A lot.). But, what I found was interesting. People that I’d never even had a class with remembered me as quiet, sweet and nice. It was kind of weird to know that while I thought I was such a hellion, they thought I was “quiet, sweet and nice”, and were happy to see me.

It’s all about perception.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. You may think one thing of yourself, but there may be 100 people out there who think different.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Adaptation

While I was camping in Zion over the weekend I had some time to sit in the quiet under the silver light of the full moon and think. I’ve been trying to come up with a definition of “Who I Am” for some time now. I think that’s a tough one for anyone to answer and I don’t really feel like I’m any closer to the answer than I ever have been. But, I did make a few discoveries.

1.People should not be judged by their hobbies.

Ex: Someone drives a Harley – they are a hellion.
Ex: I like to camp - I don’t like cities.
Ex: I have a tattoo – I’m rebellious.

These are incorrect judgments based on unfair and ungrounded generalizations. If someone were to define themselves by one small aspect of their lives, then they are hiding.

2.I discovered a few things that I am NOT.

I am NOT close-minded.
I am NOT a quitter.
I am NOT moldable.

3.I discovered one thing that I AM.

I AM ADAPTABLE.

Saying that I am adaptable rather than moldable is actually quite accurate. To say that someone is moldable implies that they allow someone or something else to have complete control of them, to shape them as they see fit. I will never allow that.

However, to say that I am adaptable is correct because adapting is a conscious effort on one’s own part. I am easily able to adapt in many situations and social arenas. In high school I was able to befriend and hang out with kids from all the different cliques. I’m a chameleon of sorts, and I think this is a good thing. I believe that life is full of endless possibilities, and the ability to adapt is key to experiencing all of those.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Never Forget...

No words are needed.



Friday, September 2, 2011

Firework


I attended a funeral today for a special woman who was a member of my writing group. Although I had not known her for a long time, I was touched by her dedication to the craft of writing and her spunky personality that shone in our meetings. Today I learned that her birthday was Independence Day, which makes perfect sense because she truly was an independent spirit.

Her daughter communicated to those of us in attendance that her mother’s dying wish was to see her novel published, and as a fellow writer that really struck me. When I started writing romance a few years ago, one of the driving forces that pushed me was to see a love that truly would be “happily ever after”. If you write a great love story, have it set in stone (or on paper as it were), it will truly last. A book will outlast me and my time on earth. If I were to be published, my story would be a legacy of hope in love for anyone who would read it. I completely understand the emotion behind her wish.

In honor of a fellow writer and believer in Romance (who was born on July 4), here are a couple lines from Katy Perry’s “Firework” (paraphrased):

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause baby you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh"
As you shoot across the sky.

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, Oh, Oh"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe.

Even brighter than the moon.
It's always been inside of you.
And now it's time to let it through.



Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to SKUUULLLL

I decided to go back to school at 38 and finish my Associates in Psychology. Why not? I only had four classes left when I got my first degree fifteen years ago. Well, as life has a sense of humor I found out that a lot of the core classes I took “way back then (thank you Mr. Counselor)” no longer count as the core requirements have changed. So what I expected to be a year-long process is looking more like two or two and a half years. But, I am not discouraged. I am energized. I look at it as an opportunity to explore subjects that I wouldn’t have normally explored.



This Fall I am taking Geology and Psychology of Dreams. Geology doesn’t hold an ounce interest for me whatsoever (rocks…ooo, interesting…). But judging from the overall wackiness of the instructor and her jokes about vibrators, it might be interesting after all. The Dreams class, however, is right up my alley. I’ve always been very lucky to be not only a vivid dreamer but a lucid dreamer and as a kid I just assumed that everyone could do the same thing. Well, no, they can’t. The instructor promised everyone in the packed class that by the end of the semester we will all not only be able to recall more dreams, analyze them and decipher their meanings, but also we will be able to dream with lucidity. I am so excited to see this happen for the rest of the class. It really is such a great feeling to be awake and aware during my dreams and I wish it for everyone.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blood Donor

The needle pierces my skin,
A sting of pain, then numb.
I’m far to used to this charade,
I close my eyes. Succumb.

My life-force, I feel it drain,
Trickling sickly from my vein.
But I don’t mind, I feel alive
I relish in the pain.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pages

What lessons must I learn
From this blank slate before me?
Never ending the questions
My muse will emplore me.

I strive not to fade away,
Not to merely exist.
In a black and white world
More color, I’ll insist!

I can’t go forward
I can’t step behind
I don’t even know why
But I’m loosing my mind.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Window

“Oh, Charlie, what have you managed to get yourself into this time?” I thought to myself, rolling my thousands of eyes. I had a horrible sense of direction, and I really wished the Queen would reassign me. Perhaps my black and yellow butt could be of more use if I didn’t leave the hive every day.

Only an hour previous, the Queen had sent me out to mine pollen, and here I was lost, as usual. Somehow I had managed to find the rosebush and gathered two handfuls of gold, which I was gripping tightly as I buzzed around this unfamiliar environment. I must have taken a wrong turn at the bird feeder.

Nothing looked familiar. I looked around, accessing my situation and that’s when I noticed the giant.

There was a two-legged animal of some sort that seemed very frightened of me as I buzzed by. I guessed it was a female since she was holding a smaller version of herself in her forearms as she squealed and ran away from me. There was a smaller four-legged furry animal watching me curiously from the ground, licking its chops with a huge pink tongue.

There, I could see the rosebush. I turned in its direction and, BAM! There appeared to be some sort of invisible force field between the rosebush and myself. I tried again, slower this time, with the same result. Reluctantly, I dropped one handful of gold and reached my other hand out to feel this strange clear barrier. I ran my hand up and down it, all the way to the bottom, curious to see how big it was.

“Hisss….”

Oh no! The sound had come from the foreboding hole at the bottom corner of this clear barrier. I had gotten too close. I started to back away but it was too late.

A furious tornado of legs and fur launched out of the hole toward me. Without thinking, I dropped the other handful of gold and immediately began to defend myself.

The spider came at me again, but this time I was ready for her. With a good left jab I knocked her back into her hole just long enough that I could buzz away, reluctantly leaving my gold behind.

I felt a gust of wind at my back. What now?

I turned and the two-legged giant I had seen before had returned and was waving a long rectangular object in my direction which was producing a gust of wind. Another gust knocked me away, spinning through the air. The giant was saying words that I didn’t recognize. I regained my composure and tried to focus my eyes. There it was, I could see the rosebush again! If I could just make it to the rosebush I could find my way back to the hive.

I closed my eyes and aimed myself in the general direction of the rosebush. Another gust of wind came at my back and as I opened my eyes, I was headed straight for a beautiful red petal. I made it!

From here, it would be a quick flight back to the hive. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much gold left to gather, and the Queen would be angry for sure. Perhaps I would talk to her again about switching positions.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tracking Unicorns

“You’re chasing rainbows”
Is what they would say
When they would go forward
And I’d go my way.

“You’re tracking unicorns”
They’d tease me in jest.
And snicker behind me
As if they knew best.

“Your head’s in the clouds”
I’ve heard it before
Whenever I’ve opened
An imaginary door.

“Just stop dreaming,
And decide what to be.
You’ll never make it,
Can’t you just see?”

“Be serious, calm down,”
They tried to discourage
But I never listened,
And that’s why I flourish!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What People Say Vs. What They Think

Why is it that people say one thing when they really mean something else? Why would someone say an unsolicited “I’m happy for you,” when they really aren’t? Is it because we are conditioned to act a certain way; that we should believe and accept certain things because they are considered “good” rather or not they really are “good”?

Pretend you have a friend that is fast on her way to becoming a serious workaholic. When she gets promoted at work do you tell her that you are happy for her because you know that’s the right thing to say, or do you tell her that you think that she already has too much on her plate? If you tell her the truth you risk her wrath (or cold shoulder), but if you don’t, you will risk loosing that part of yourself that screams from within for you to TELL THE TRUTH. With every lipservice, that part gets shoved further and further back into the storage closet of our minds/hearts and before we know it we’re walking around like robots saying “That’s nice, I’m so happy for you,” nodding our heads and smiling, instead of gently telling them that you think they bit off more than they can chew.

Years down the road, while recounting your life with your friend one night at a bar, you may finally confess that you didn’t think they should have taken that job. And, they will look at you with weak, weary eyes and tell you that they wished that you would have talked them out of it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to Deal with People that Drive You Insane

SURRENDER

S – Seek shelter. Shelter in the form of a friend, family member or colleague that doesn’t eat your soul.

U – “Unlearn What You Have Learned.” – Yoda. Who says you have to be nice to everyone?

R – Resist. Resist the urge to play their game right back at them. Although temporarily fun, this tactic will always backfire on you. Always.

R – Respect your intuition. Listen to your heart when it is telling you that someone is not quite right in the noggin.

E – Establish firm boundaries. Moats, tar pits, flypaper, whatever is near and handy.

N – Never back down. Don’t let them take your soul. Fight.

D – Don’t try sarcasm. They won’t get it. Ever.

E – Eat your cake, Damnit! Who says you can’t eat the piece of cake in front of you? And, don’t let them make you feel guilty about it.

R – Remember. The best weapon you have against soul eaters is a good memory. That way, when they pull out their bag of tricks, you already know what’s in it and can shut it down before the rabbit even sticks one ear out!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh, the HORROR!

Top 10 signs the horror movie you just rented is going to be stupid (in no particular order):

1. It has a washed up actor/actress in it. (Christian Slater should be a red flag!)

2. It has an overly fancy cover, sometimes with metallic accents.

3. It came out of Hollywood in the past 5 years.

4. You’ve never heard of it.

5. It has a pentagram on the cover.

6. The title is in a digital font.

7. There are no review quotes or “star ratings” on the cover.

8. The blood is bright, bright red, and there is a buttload of it.

9. There is a car chase, slow motion fist fight or machine gun firing frenzy in the first 5 minutes (or all three!), with accompanying techno music.

10. You rented it from the library because it was free.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Gift

I never thought it would end this way. My life, that is. And yet, there seemed to be a good chance that it might happen. There we were, crouched over, hugging our knees, as the plane that was to take us to Disney World on our first anniversary made an emergency landing in Houston.

My life flashed before my eyes, the same way it had only five years previous when I had been held up at gunpoint at the Mail Boxes store I worked at in college. I remember that feeling vividly. I felt one inch tall as the man, almost the same age as me, held the gun to my forehead and demanded to know where the Western Union money was. I was sure he was going to hit me, if not shoot me, when I told him there was no money there. In an effort to reason with him I asked him what good reason I had to lie to him, it wasn’t even my money! It must have worked, because I escaped unharmed. Yet, he did rob something from me that day; my sense of security. But, in its place, he unknowingly left a gift. The gift of seeing my life flash before my eyes. I had always heard of it happening to people, yet there I was experiencing it firsthand for myself. And what did I see? I saw that there was much left for me to do. I saw that there were friends and family that I needed to spend more time with. I saw that there were places I needed to go, and more I needed to experience. I had an overwhelming feeling of panic, that I wasn’t ready for my life to end that day.

I thought of that day as the plane circled around to make the emergency landing. We had only been in the air about 5 minutes before we knew something had to be wrong. My ears started popping like crazy, and the few babies that were on the plane started screaming while everyone looked at each other with wide eyes. The captain came over the speaker and told us there was a problem with the landing gear. Apparently, they couldn’t tell if the landing gear had retracted as it should have, or if it was stuck. As a result of this, the pressurization of the cabin air wasn’t working correctly and there was nothing else we could do except turn around and make an emergency landing and hope that the gear would hold. We expected the oxygen masks to drop at any moment, but they never did.

With the runway in sight, lined with fire trucks and ambulances, we assumed the crash position. I prayed that our landing gear was down, and would hold. In those few moments, my life flashed before my eyes once again. But, it was different this time. I wasn’t ready to die, but I thought “If this is how I die, I’m ok with it.” It was a drastically different feeling than the one I had before. I was surprised by the calming peace that came over me in those moments.

Well, I didn’t die that day, none of us did. But, I walked away with another gift. The gift of awareness. I no longer bumble through life blindly trusting that I will always have another day ahead of me to do the things that I want to do. I try to honor the gift I was given by living each moment, acutely aware of how precious it is.