Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Improper Poll: Breakfast of Non-champions

I am sort of known for eating rather unusual things for breakfast. Except during pregnancy, that is, when I actually craved normal breakfast foods at normal breakfast times. So the other day I was sitting at my computer eating Chipotle flavored cashews for breakfast, and it occurred to me that perhaps this might seem odd to a normal person. Am I the only one? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten for breakfast?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Senior Sex(less) and the City: #17

Mellow Dude
I met Mellow Dude at a Valentine party called the Red and Black Party. If you felt optimistic about love, you were supposed to wear red. If not…well, you get it. My sweater was red and black. Mellow Dude drifted along the shore of the sea of red and black sweaters wearing…a blue, beach-style, summer shirt. “Gets hot dancing,” he later told me.

The party was held at a wild casino bar. The music was hard rock and loud. People either went home early or wandered off to gamble. I looked around, and the only person left was Mellow Dude. He didn’t ask me to dance so much as he cocked his head at the dance floor and shrugged. I shrugged back. What the hey.

Hours and hours later, we closed down the place with a reluctant, sweat-soaked farewell to the band. My feet would ache for days, but it was worth it. During the breaks, Mellow had told me a little about himself. Doesn’t drink much. Never danced in his life until he discovered recently that it’s a nice form of exercise. Likes dogs. Is close to his children. Likes reading books on spirituality. He shrugged again. It fascinates him. Go figure. He didn’t talk too much. Asked a few questions—but not so many that it was prying—and listened to the answers.

Hard to pinpoint, this Mellow Dude. Not a hippie. Not an aging surfer. Not really rural. Not urban. But he didn’t seem controlling, needy, dramatic, insecure, patronizing, or immature. On the dance floor, he wasn’t a swooper, a flailer, a showoff-er, a pretend dance instructor, a St. Vitus Dancer, a bowl-people-over-er, a spin-you-like-a-topper, or a cop-a-feeler. Just smiled dreamily and danced. Not a bad thing, this mellowness. In fact, it was a little like relaxing on a beach after you’ve been through a hurricane.

The next day, I got a better look at the sweater I’d been wearing. And I discovered in the light of day that it wasn’t red and black, after all. It was really red and navy.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Improper Poll: Along for the Ride

Since I'm officially tired of "Stuff," I’ve decided to start a new thing called Improper Poll.  Improper Poll is just an informal poll, usually about goofy things that have happened. Each week you will be invited to respond to a new topic with a short story or comment of your own. The only thing truly improper about Improper Poll, however, will be the silliness.

It'll be on Sundays. There won’t be a quote.

So here’s the first one. It comes from an incident that happened to me the other day when I discovered at work that I’d been walking around all day with a dryer sheet bunched up in my sleeve. I’m sorry to say this was not remotely the first time it’s happened, either. In fact, I have had the dryer sheet fall out of my pants leg in front of entire classes of teenagers, an event which I figure probably boosts my coolness quotient about a bagillion points to these young people, who probably can’t wait to be middle-aged themselves because I already make it look so cool.

Anyway. That got me thinking about a friend who once told me she often went all sorts of places after work, including swimming, so she used to keep entire changes of clothing in the trunk of her car. She told me she went to a party after swimming once, and a pair of panties fell out of the leg of her jumpsuit in front of everyone.

So today’s Improper Poll question for you is: Have you ever found something bunched up in your clothing?

Happy Sunday and have a great week!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Love Song: the Next Stanza

I was so deeply touched by what you all said about the Love of My Life!! Some of you thought I should go try to get back in touch with him. He’s married, and obviously to someone with a heck of a lot more sense than I have.

If he ever finds himself single, he’ll contact me. Or, in the words of Princess Buttercup, “My Wesley will come for me.” But I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen. And frankly, I’m still plenty happy if it doesn’t.

The day after Valentine’s Day I picked up the book I’m reading, Eat Pray Love. Today’s quote is what I really, truly did read. I just can’t add a thing, except that I was so uplifted by all of your good, warm wishes for my true love and happiness. May your kindness come back to you a hundredfold.

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with your soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. ~Richard from Texas, as quoted by Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Love Song

If the soul truly has a mate, he was mine. It was clear from the beginning that he was Yogi to my uncertain consciousness, guide to a restless spirit. He surfaced and resurfaced several times through the years, but always I was about to embark on a new phase. Bad timing, I told myself. Bad, bad timing.

He even wrote me a song, sung in his deep and honeyed voice, a going-away gift. I treasured that song and put it away for safekeeping, but at some point over the years I forgot where it was.

One of the things that summed him up best was his response when a beautiful, renowned boyfriend-stealer threw herself at him right in front of me. That was the first time I took a step back and realized with a small shock that he was physically lovely as well. Virtually every other guy I know would have flirted back at the very least, but he was cool to her and a little disgusted. When she finally backed off and left, I fished. Didn’t he think she was pretty?

He was careful. He hesitated, felt for the right words. He finally said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think she’s pretty on the inside.”

Goodness, how I loved him then, and forever, in a way that didn’t end when I married someone else. I will forever think of him not just as someone I loved, but as one of the people I admire most in the world. And now I admire him even more because I’ve lived enough to realize how rare he really was.

Some people continue to uplift and inspire us, as I said in another post, and some comfort us. He did both. Does both. When I look back, I realize it wasn’t that the timing was wrong. I wasn’t ready. And I can’t regret. Knowing that people like him exist in the world is enough. Having known him at all is enough.

The other day I was looking for some paperwork for a project, and there was the song, just in time for Valentines Day. This time the timing was perfect; it sings to me again after all these years. But then again, love that comes from the soul is timeless.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love. ~Sophocles

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stuff from Around My House: The Love Notes

My daughter went through a stage where she made little love notes for me. I knew that stage wouldn’t last forever, so I saved every one and stuck them up all over my office. One day my (then) teen-aged son asked me why I cherished those weird little scraps of paper so much. I told him those weird little scraps remind me that I am loved, and there is no better gift than that. He told me I should just know that I am loved.

What followed was a lecture on What Women Want that I hope he found at least as instructive as all that biology stuff. And I got one love note from my son. It was hurriedly scrawled on a scrap of paper, but still—to this day, it remains carefully taped to my printer with the others.
 He once asked me when I plan to get rid of my love notes. I said, “Get rid of them?” When they eventually disintegrate, I will laminate them. Yep, I’m a dork. But I am a LOVED dork.

And P.S. Welcome to Val Thevictorian!  Val, do you have a blog?  If so, I couldn't find it.  Thanks for becoming a follower!

Do I only have two pictures total now?!  Arg!  This is so frustrating!

Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth. ~Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Story of Young Love

He was my first husband.

We married on the church steps. My friend Chris was the minister. He kissed me—on the lips—and everyone giggled, including me. He gave me a ring that turned my finger green. I gave him a lock of my hair.

He was the new kid in a school that rarely got new kids. He was tall and handsome and exotic.

One day his mother came to school. She was statuesque and graceful, like a dancer. She picked him up and he left. I never saw him again.

I grieved. Anger is a part of grief, so I angrily buried the ring in my backyard. He hadn’t even said goodbye. Later, when I had moved on to the acceptance stage, I tried to dig it up again. I couldn’t find it. So I grieved over that, too. Honestly, I sort of still do.

And now, as an adult and a mother, I have to wonder what made his mother leave so quickly. And I grieve now for her...maybe most of all.

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle in their journey.
Thank God and them for the opportunity to walk this leg of their journey with them.~Anonymous

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Totally Random Tuesday: Life

Sometimes life is a violin and sometimes a fiddle, and sometimes both at once…but it’s all beautiful music.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stuff Around My House: Pet Memorial

I had no idea what to write about today since I was going to make sure everything had a love theme until Valentine’s Day. And then, as usual, I was inspired by reading your blog posts.

First, Linda O’Connell  posted about the various dogs she’s loved in life. It reminded me about my Pet Memorial. I got the idea from my mother, who used to have a shelf in her bedroom with little figurines representing all of the dogs she had loved. In many cases, the figurines had been painted to look just like the pets themselves. She even affixed some masking tape to their undersides where she’d lovingly written their names and the dates they’d lived. I think one of the paradoxes of today’s society is that it is getting both more necessary and more difficult to cherish and preserve our pets’ memories. So I thought I’d share the idea.

The tough thing is when you’re a fan of mixed breeds like I am. Our lab mix is represented by an oversized Jack Russell that’s painted black, and our female vizsla mix is captured by an obvious male with the docked tail of a weimaraner. Still, when I look at these little statues, I smile.

You may notice there is even a turtle on the upper shelf. That was a gift from my sister, who understands the value of both the pet turtles and the shelf. How I wish someone made little hamsters! (Yes, I know.  I am a terrible nerd.)

Also wanted to welcome my newest follower, Judie of Rogue Artists. Judie, I've become a follower, but I have ceased to show up in people's Followers area and no one seems to be able to tell me why.  In yet another paradox, her blog, with its desert Southwestern header, somehow reminds me of a watering hole, an oasis of art. Be sure to scroll down to look at the paintings. I loved one of her comments so much that I am quoting her. Judie, I hope that’s okay with you! Also hope my little brackets are okay.  I took out just a couple of words in this instance because I thought this lovely statement applies to our beloved pets as well.

I have been sitting here trying to think about [those] whom I remember warmly, and I think that the one thing they all have in common is "selflessness." They never do the right thing to make themselves look better—they do it for…love…. ~Judie of the blog, Rogue Artists

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It Keeps on Giving

In honor of Valentine’s Day month, I was going to write about some of the greatest loves of my life. But a blog post inspired by my long-ago friend Marcus turned into a writing frenzy that’s lasted for days…and what I ended up with is not a blog post, but something that feels necessary and complete and much too dear to my heart to send into the world just now. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet, but right now I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed being snowed in for the past few days! Okay, except for the shoveling and pushing my daughter’s car out of a snow bank (thanks to the help of a kind stranger), that is....

Why is it that with some people we’re left feeling bleak and drained, and with others, even their memory is forever uplifting and inspiring? And what is it that inspires you?

May you find yourself surrounded by warmth—warm people, warm surroundings, warm memories, warm hearts.

Friendship is a sheltering tree. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge