Saturday, January 29, 2005

Saturday Morning Satisfaction

and utter abandon
as an almost four-year-old
attacks the rainbow sprinkled chocolate iced donut
she's dreamt about
since hearing of its possible arrival
one evening prior.
eyes shining,
her tongue loosens each sugar compressed tidbit
from its cocoa nest.
though her focus
appears singular
she shuns appearances
with a sudden oohing
and pounces
securing the chocolate droppings from the wrapper
to her catlike paw
suddenly she is queen and servant
with head reared
and mouth wide
she both washes and dines
digit by digit
for a moment
she smiles

then with eyes smiling and suggestive
of future torments
to lovers
friends and
she beckons
and then simply,


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Ah Choo!

I have a cold. Or my allergies are acting up. Either way, I can't breathe and my cough sounds like I'll be losing a lung any day now. Plus I have bed hair and there is an abundance of tissues surrounding me. Don't you want a picture of this?

Well . . . you'll just have to use your imagination. And while you're at it, imagine me a bowl of soup that I don't have to fix myself!

Come On In, the Water's Fine

This week a man in his late 20s told me that he wondered if he'd ever find someone given that as a minister his "pool" was so limited.

I laughed and then explained that he knew nothing of shallow pools, "My pool as a 43-year-old woman is a drop of condensation on the backside of a leaf deep in a forest that I can't even get to from here!"

Thought that was a good line. I've used it three times since. So I'm sharing it with you. How vast is your pool?

Jules is offline

She introduced me
. . . to instant messages and avatars and smiley face icons that wink and wave
. . . to a Texas honky tonk band and conversations that freely flow from one outrageous topic to the next
. . . to an honesty in the workplace I hadn't quite seen before
. . . to lol
and more.

Now she's taking on a new role
In a different place

I wish
Her well
I wish
Her growth
I wish
Her continued presence on IM

I wish . . .
Change didn't hurt so much.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

When's the Last Time You Showered with 2 Women?

This post may net a few Googlers who have something entirely different in mind when they search for "women in showers" but there's nothing Girls Gone Wild about this one. So if you're here for such a stop on your journey, click away, you're going to be disappointed.

I volunteer at an AIDS hospice. Yesterday I met a 32 year old mother of three whose husband gave her the disease then left town and left her off his group insurance. Sounds like a fine fellow, doesn't he? Now she's awaiting a spot in a nursing home since she's truly not bad enough to be in a hospice but with the left side of her body paralyzed, she can't care for herself either. So we're the in-between place while folks who do this kind of thing hunt for a more permanent space.

When I arrived, I was told she needed a shower. When my friend and cohort arrived we prepared for the experience. Except, really, how does one prepare for something like this? Remember . . . we're not professionals. We've been doing this for almost ten years but we aren't there on a weekly basis, more like monthly. So, yes, while I once helped moved a paralyzed six ft seven inch man from bed to bed chair, I wasn't exactly studied-up on all that was involved in working with those who can only partially help themselves.

First mistake . . . I mentioned that inexperience.

I thought that with her independence having been ripped from her, she might enjoy giving some orders and that by telling her she should direct me, I was giving her a gift of some kind. What I did was scare her. She knew, just knew, that my friend and I were going to drop her, allow her to fall out of the shower chair, or cut her with the razor. She knew it.

We made it through the disrobing and transfer of wheelchair to shower chair fairly well so I thought we'd perhaps reassured her but no, that was not to be. Instead when we arrived in the shower room (barely enough space for the three of us and the chair and the various showering articles that are needed for shampooing, conditioning, shaving, et al.), the tension began mounting. The water temperature wasn't cooperating, the shower chair was secure enough, I slipped in a puddle prior to bending for yet another adjustment in the chair, as I bent over to position myself for shaving her legs (rather difficult while wearing latex gloves) the water from the shower head had a sudden leak and my pants were completely soaked.

But we accomplished the goal. Wet and weary, we shampooed those long locks, shaved those long legs, and insured that she maintained as much of her dignity as possible when you're the only one sitting naked in a room of strangers.

I worked up a sweat when we arrived back in the room to put on her clothes and work through the tangles. I tackled the lined sweat pants (did you know that you need to treat such pants like panty hose in order to get a paralyzed leg all the way through without tangling it up in the material?) and my buddy took on the hair. One HOUR after we started, she was dressed and coifed and I was dripping from both my forehead and the seat of my pants.

At some point, we didn't exactly gain her confidence but we did gain something. She seemed to see more than our awkwardness, hear more than our questions, and feel more than our anxiety. She grasped that we thought ourselves no better or worse than she, and throughout the day, she called me by name -- a great gift when often we are simply, "Volunteer! I need a volunteer."

We were getting her ready for a visit from her children. But three hours later they hadn't yet arrived and after a few calls, she thought perhaps the arrangements for transportation had fallen through and that she might not see them at all on this day. My heart broke to see her 90 pound frame -- which I had earlier held in my arms as her sole support -- sitting alone in that huge recliner, resigned to yet another disappointment. And I wanted to take her in my arms again . . . give her . . . I don't know . . . something more than one hour of exertion, something more than what simply had to be done, something of me.

Instead, I looked into her eyes and said goodbye. My shift was over.

It's Raining Men

For almost ten years I worked with nearly 100 women and about 17 guys. Breaks, lunches and sometimes even vacations were spent with women. I was married to a quiet man so even at home, conversations were usually on the phone with women.

Today I realized that my life has taken a 180 degree turn. It's raining men.

Oh, I have girlfriends and we get together when we can. But they often have families and/or other commitments that consume a great deal of their time and prevent them from the kind of spontaniety I've come to enjoy. The men in my life are far less constrained (and yes, I could go into a whole philosophical rant at this point about male/female roles in family life but that's not what this post is about and most of my friends are doing a fine job of figuring that out for themselves).

So I spend a great deal of time with men . . . a great deal of time. I have male friends at work who I can count on for stretching my mind about the issues we face in ministry. They are married . . . happily. They are also the kinds of friends I can trust and so I share an openness with them that is built over time and is quite pleasant. We challenge the whole "When Harry Met Sally" line of thought regarding the inability of men and women to have friendships.

I have gay friends who compliment my clothes when they're working for me and stay sympathetically silent when my clothes are wearing me and I really should have spent more time in front of the mirror. These friends can be counted on to hear my secrets . . . and my secret thoughts . . . hear me without judgment and love me unconditionally. They think deep thoughts and we actually TALK about issues, but they also can pick up and go at the mere mention of a possible adventure.

This weekend the male factor was at the highest it's been in a while (unless you count the shower I took yesterday morning with two women but that's yet another post). The cause of the increased testerone was due in part to the emergence of a couple of other categories of men in my life that I haven't engaged with in a while. On Thursday I went to dinner with an acquaintance of some years back. Again, he's married and happy but we never had the kind of intimate conversations that I have with such folks today. Still when he suggested we hook up while he was in town for business, I said yes.

We had a nice dinner. We caught up on the status of those with whom I used to have contact regularly and now have to take time to conjure up a face to go with a name. He told me about his impending grandfather status and his recent weight loss and the fun he and his wife were having hiking. We laughed. And at least four times during the evening he told me I was beautiful.

At no point did that feel improper. At no point did I feel uncomfortable. But I did find myself smiling alot. Because he seemed to think I was going to be offended or that I somehow needed to hear it (because, after all, I'm divorced and another divorced woman he knows had gone into a depression about feeling unloved and unlovely, so therefore, I MUST be going through something similar) or he seemed so genuinely compelled to tell me. One friend I told about it thought he was making a pass, but I was there and I can honestly say that wasn't what was going on. Maybe it was the time that had passed between us and he hadn't seen me since I'd lost so much weight. Maybe it was because he felt slightly uncomfortable and repeating himself took up conversational space. Maybe he's just a nice man and knows what compliments can usually do for a woman's ego. Or maybe . . . just maybe he sees the peace in me and perceives that as beautiful.

Friday night I went dancing. The male/female ratio wasn't even so we tended to just all get on the dance floor at one time. I wasn't the object of anyone's attention. But on occasion, one male friend and I had a "moment" in the same space. He's a guy with whom I've had a rocky ride but as I told one buddy, "He may be an SOB, but he's my SOB, and I'll always keep him in my life." On this night, I realized that I wasn't the prettiest woman in the room, nor the sexiest, but I had very little of the gnawing anxiety that once accompanied me whenever I found myself in mixed company.

Saturday two guys and I walked the park. We were all looking at the same scenery so we would go silent when certain runners made their way past us but the conversations in between those art appreciation breaks turned to inner peace and happiness. Again, I was told that what was going on inside me showed.

And today, I had a date. We met for brunch. We laughed. We chatted. And we parted with a kiss on the cheek. Sparks aren't flying. I'm not sure if anything is even warming up at this point, but enough is happening that we've agreed to meet again. When debriefing the experience with my friend-who-is-like-a-brother, I had to confess that it's absolutely unfamiliar ground for me to not have total transparency. I've come to rely on it. I've come to expect it from my male relationships. And while I know it's premature to think that's possible at this point, I want it, because never again do I want to live the daily lie.

All this said . . . I feel blessed. Friends, brothers, pastors, confidantes, laughing links, lovers(?), fans, challenges . . . it's raining men and I love the flood.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Pleasant Pleasures

I waited a day to reflect on Tuesday's party because initially everything I thought of saying sounded like some drippy food critic at a small town weekly trying to seem sophisticated as she oohed and ahhed over the Dairy Queen's newest burger offering.

Ok, maybe it wasn't that bad but I was tired and the prose I was concocting in no way measured up to the concoctions that made their way from my kitchen on that glorious night and into the bellies of some of my favorite people. Today, my apartment has been restored to its original state, coffee and wine stains have been bleached away, and with a clear and unfoggy head I can proclaim, "Damn, that was a good party!" (Ok, so now you know I've totally given up on sounding sophisticated.)

I'm not going to recap the whole evening because, really, you'd only wish you'd participated and then I'd have to feel guilty about not inviting all of you and I am not going to sully this experience with guilt. But I will offer a few morsels . . .

I gave of myself for this event. Helping R&R out prior to the guests arrival, I showed yet again why I am not the next Martha Stewart as I grated both my knuckles and the carrots for one of the three salads that later exploded with flavor as they hit my tongue (more than making up for the fact that I was dining with a Tweety Bird band-aid wrapped around my middle finger . . . obviously I was selective about who I showed said band-aid to).

The initial solemnity of the crowd amused me. They walked into the candlelit room quietly and met R&R as gracious guests, listening intently as our experts set forth the idea for the evening and introduced the first sparkling wine. I kept wondering when someone was going to laugh because such seriousness is not customary for us. Soon I had my answer as we sat at our assigned seats and comfortability had guests harrassing one or more of the Rs at the same time they dished out both sarcasm & the courses.

Questions flowed as easily as the wine and soon conversations were overlapping, seats were switched and switched again. One person helped out with the food prep, others took turns with clean up after each course. A definite party atmosphere prevailed.

At one point, B declared, "The gauntlet is down. You've raised the bar for our get-togethers. The challenge is on." I look forward to see what he comes up with, 'cause frankly, I'm not sure we could surpass this one!

My surprise of the evening was the root puree. We might call it "mashed potatoes" back in Tennessee but there were lots of other roots in there and they packed a wallop in every forkful. The salads proved that you cannot go wrong with fresh herbs and lemon or lime juice. They simply tantalize. The shrimp dish was rather mild but the beef and its accompanying rosemary simply sang a symphony for our nostrils and our tastebuds. Wow! And I'm not a big beef eater.

I'm not on my way to being any kind of wine critic but I did learn quite a bit Tuesday evening. I'm thinking two, three, four or more of these events and I may even sound knowledgeable when the next waiter hands me one of those 30 page wine lists we get in Houston restaurants. And then again there's always the house white!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Dinner with KC & Friends

Though you can't be with us in person, I thought I'd invite you to a little virtual party at my place tonight. The non-virutal guests and I are attempting a bit of a wine and food pairing. A couple of friends of mine are serving as wine experts and chefs. Other friends are arriving at 6:30 p.m. and they will dine and drink the following:

Sparklers – Sesame sticks and honeyed pecans, seasoned
Scharffenberger, Champagne, NV, California
Bianchi, Champagne, 2002, Argentina

First Course – Asparagus Risotto (Arborio rice, asparagus, asiago, leeks, white wine, stock) dusted with minced chives and lemon zest
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc, 2003, New Zealand
Whitehaven, Sauvignon Blanc, 2004, New Zealand

Salad Course – Trio (roasted beets with thyme, fennel with lemon, carrot with tarragon)
Belvedere, Chardonnay, 2001, California

First Entrée – Hot Confetti Shrimp & Avocado-copia (garlic, sweet and hot peppers) finished with a cilantro-lime garnish
Santola, Rosé, NV, Portugal
Alexander Valley, Gewurztraminer, 2004, California

Second Entrée – Black pepper-marinated Texas Flank Steak with Rosemary Hill Country Claret reduction and root puree (celery root, russet and diced sweet potato)
Sonoma Ridge, Merlot, 2002, California
Dante Rivetti, Barbera, 2003, Italia

Cheese Course – French Brie, Artisan Chevre & Oregonzola Bleu, with dried fruit (black mission fig, Argentinian apricot and Washington pear)
Argyle, Pinot Noir, 2003, Oregon
Giacu Mus, Nebbiolo, 1999, Italia

Dessert Course – Cognac-macerated blueberries with whipped cream in a baked pastry shell
Vignaiola di St. Stefano, Moscato d’Asti, 2003, Italia

il sigh felice – Decaffeinated French roast coffee with almond wafers

We'll be educated as to aromas, flavors, sensations, etc. But most of all, as my expert/chefs pointed out we'll follow the main wine rules of "explore and enjoy, and discover what works" for each of us. Buon Appetito!

Dreams Yet Unrealized

I want to believe that the dream MLK offered us decades ago is possible in my lifetime. But the sad truth is that here in Houston those who want to celebrate the idea of unity in the midst of diversity have two choices of parades . . . organizers for the two events could never agree on one approach that would work for both sets of dream supporters.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

13.1 Miles? No Problem!

Actually at mile 12 when those tricky race planners had us shuffling toward the George R. Brown Convention Center and our goal was in sight and then turned us for an extended block or two of torture, I wasn't quite sure that I'd make it but I did.

Did you get that? I completed the half marathon! Not only completed but did so in much less than the time I had calculated it would take me. Two hours and 43 minutes and 38 seconds from the time my shoes went over the start line, they crossed the finish line and I was still in them!!! That put me at a 12:28 pace and the BIG thing for me was that for the most part I jogged. I had told myself that powerwalking at my rate was acceptable and that if that was what it would take, ok. But I only powerwalked about 4 miles of the route.

I'm tired and my friends agree that I'm walking like I had WAAAAAY more fun this weekend than a race would offer but hey . . . I'm a funny-walking half marathon FINISHER!

(P.S. Thanks to Amanda who commented on my query as to whether I should register for this or not and was the voice of encouragement that pushed me over the edge and ultimately over the finish line.)

Saturday, January 15, 2005

I'm Half-ing It

My bib number is 27097 and tomorrow morning when the gun sounds I'll be standing still with the 16,000 other race participants Houston is hosting. (You pretty much stand still until those in front move out of the way and you can finally cross the starting line.)

I'm nervous. I want to believe that I can do this in the time allotted. I just finished a 5.2 mile jog/walk and averaged about 13 minutes a mile. When I was through, I had energy to spare. I'd better. I'll be doing 13.1 miles tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2005

A 2-Hour Coffee

He's cute. He laughs at my jokes. He tells neat stories with a charming accent.

He doesn't take my breath away . . . yet.

Still I said yes to a post-coffee date.

We'll see.

Cirque, Cirque

If you've never seen a Cirque Du Soleil performance, run . . . faster, faster . . . to the nearest opportunity to sign up for this EXTREME experience. The colors and costumes are as much a part of the cast as the acrobats, jugglers, comics, singers and musicians. A lizard in the forest is both a reptile and a tree. A sea creature skates across the "water" and ultimately down a "drain." A contortionist with breasts -- large breasts (not something you see on every gymnast) -- mesmerizes with twists and turns not possible for people with actual bones in their bodies.

It's amazing and utterly impossible to describe.

If you're as lucky as me, you'll get to take a friend in order to celebrate their me-ness and in the process have a grand time yourself.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I'd Want HIM for a Daddy

Having lost mine at the age of 10, daddies have always been an alien species to me. So when I encounter father/daughter interactions I study them, mostly marvel at them, and sometimes envy them. Which may explain the compulsion I had to share a excellent story with you from the Real Live Preacher. Read it. I'm fairly sure you'll like it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Do I or Don't I?

Tomorrow is the deadline for registering for the half marathon this weekend. I could powerwalk the entire thing . . . I think. And still be under the time limit . . . I think. But I haven't yet committed to the task.

Do I or don't I?

Life Happens

Tonight was a glorious night. Not because of any exotic activity. Not because my craving for the experiential edge was somehow quenched. No. It was glorious simply because it was filled with life.

Checking in with many of my folks on the way home . . . yes I talk on the cell while driving but when the ride home is at less than 10 miles per hour due to "rush hour" traffic, I don't feel that guilty about it. (And I've been known to tell whoever I was speaking to that they have to wait between my legs for a few moments while both hands are on the wheel to take care of any nasty turns or situations.) Anyway, checking in helped me to see that while all wasn't well with everyone of them, they knew they were loved.

Arriving home, I met G for a walk/talk that had us acknowledging none of our crew lacked issues, we loved them all, and if left in charge of the world, we could solve practically everything!

We came back home to toast his acceptance into the schooling option of his dreams. At 50+ this is a BIG deal for him. We're pumped. And, yes, WE are pumped. I've already volunteered to help him through speech classes. The bottle we opened was recommended by a wine loving friend of mine. My palate isn't quite "there" yet because the "oaky, grassy, citrus" flavor just tasted like too much alcohol to me.

But I'm ready to learn and this same friend popped in midway through the "Biggest Loser" (I wanted Gary to win because of his personality, his family and his new arms, but alas, it was the other guy) and helped me see why I wasn't quite into the chosen white. She was also here to check out my kitchen. You see we're having a wine/food pairing party next week and she and her chef boyfriend are doing all the wine selections and cooking. So we talked wine for a while, mourned Gary's loss, and then G went on his way to leave R & I to the details. Calls came and went as we discussed my plethora of tableware and lack of knives. And those calls represented sadness and much celebration.

And through it all, life happened. As I sat in my jean shorts and T-shirt at my antique library table, drinking my "good-but-not-great" glass of wine, life happened. And it was good.

Happy! Happy!

[glee dance . . . oh glee, oh glee] At the Y last night I completed the entire abs routine save for about 30 seconds when I was clueless as to what the instructor wanted and couldn't find her in the sea of straining bodies and blue mats and a Body Pump class that has you pumping iron to the music for about an hour. All of these activities, mind you, were first times for me, and my 43-year-old body served me well!!!!

(Even I'm amazed sometimes as to what puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step.)

Monday, January 10, 2005

On a Happy Note

Having just blogged a couple of heavies . . . I'd like to now take the time to say to my sister and her new hubby, welcome to the world of the Internet! They just got a new computer and plan on checking my little corner of the world out when they finally hook up to DSL.

This coincides with my realization yesterday that while I had initially embraced the newest member of our family for the sake of my sister, I no longer love him just because she does -- something I was willing to do but always with eyes open, ready to protect her if need be. I now love MY brother-in-law because he's MY brother-in-law and because he's a great guy and watching out for her is obviously something he was meant to do.

Interpreting Intervention

On Saturday I saw a woman at the local YMCA who, if seen on a television infomercial would have prompted people to give so that she might live, that she might eat, that she might find nourishment and health. She was THAT thin. She may have been 10 or more years older than me but it was really hard to tell. She moved with a zombie-like gait from weight machine to weight machine and I almost thought I'd see her catapulted across the room when she began to work with the bands and ropes.

On Sunday I had a chat with my sister about a mutual friend who was battling depression and we felt helpless to help. I also watched a Real World episode with a girlfriend where one of the residents of this "real" house was obviously "really" battling alcohol.

With each instance I wondered about intervention. When is it ok for someone at the Y to say, "Enough! M'am, you need to walk away from this machine and let us talk to you about the other side of health . . . eating."? How do you stop a friend's spiral when you know you don't have the tools and that any suggestions will probably just add you to the list of those with whom ties have already been broken? Can television producers be held accountable for stepping in when one of their "real" characters is in real trouble?

Relationships take guts. I sometimes wonder if I have the intestinal fortitude to live life in community.

Silent Sins

Yesterday one of my pastors spoke of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." The "good" consisted of how the church had guided him and helped him to find his purpose. The "bad" surveyed history for the times when organized religion missed the mark to such a tragic extent that lives were lost for nothing more than the sake of ignorance -- the Crusades, slavery in the U.S. were the two specifics he offered. The "ugly" was his concern for what believers today are doing with equal amounts of conviction that in years to come we may look back upon and cringe with shame. He didn't name specifics here.

When I filled in my own blanks, I, of course, thought of that which I have seen from experience . . . the way parts of the church have made homosexuality a litmus test for moral purity and in some sense true "Christianity," the unspoken yet still felt cries of "unclean" whenever you mention that you work with people with AIDS, and how it sometimes feels that the woman caught in adultery, lying in the dirt, surrounded by accusers who think themselves so much better is still a metaphor for the way some view women as church leaders.

I acknowledge that this is MY list from MY perspective. And had we taken the time to consider as a group what the blanks look like as filled in by others . . . well, debate rather than worship would have probably ensued.

I combine this with another experience with another of my pastors later that evening. We were speaking of a mental giant that is coming our way to share thoughts on diversity and we both agreed that while this passionate observer of faithwalkers has much to say regarding homosexuality as well, that this should not be a topic that is explored in his brief time with this particular congregation. "This church isn't ready for that conversation," he said and I agreed.

I agreed as a professional communicator who understands that you can't force people to see a truth and that for the most part turning hearts and minds takes time, much time. As a communicator, I agreed that we couldn't turn a worship service into discourse. I agreed, as a communicator, that even the few moderate congregations with whom I'm attached aren't ready to embrace homosexuals as fellow pilgrims. But as an advocate, my heart breaks. I choke on my silence.

(For an interesting piece on the sins of silence as it relates to AIDS, check out Leonard Pitts' column for today.)

Friday, January 07, 2005

Applause & Gratitude

Much thanks to the divine Miss Em at Giggling Universe who walked me through the task of linking to some of my favorite bloggers . . . scroll along the righthand side of the page and you'll see what I mean. I give a little background on each as you make your way through the list. Happy blogging/lurking/reading/commenting or whatever!

Holy Ghost Etiquette?

Most folks who read this know I work for an organization that deals with church life. My role is primarily telling stories about what other people are doing . . . how God is at work in their lives or the life of a congregation. I deal with after-the-fact stories for the most part and am usually just capturing the words of a firsthand account.

Sometimes, though, the spiritual realm crosses my threshold.

Yesterday that happened.

I was in my office chatting with a friend/pastor when I realized the usual office buzz in the background was growing in its buzz-iness and was less and less in the background. Moments later the cacophony had risen to such a pitch that it was a presence in the room that I felt had to be acknowledged. I paused our conversation and listened.

We couldn't hear the words, just the layers of voices, the swelling outcries, the near chanting sing-song nature of what I soon determined were prayers. As it grew louder, I found that I couldn't continue my conversation. I was giggling.

I almost wrote "laughing" but that wasn't it. I was giggling. Something akin to the yes-I'm-a-little-girl-and-I-just-caught-the-grown-ups-doing-something -only-grownups-do kind of giggle.

Soon enough the sounds died down, we did hear a booming voice declare, "Amen!" and it was echoed all around by the other folks in the closed door office and they began making gathering-up-your-things-to-leave-noises.

This coincided with my having to leave my space to make some copies and of course, my path intercepted a couple of theirs.

Which led me to a series of questions . . . what does one say to someone who has just invited and evidently received a visit from the Holy Spirit when you were not party to the party? Do you make eye contact and acknowledge that something very personal was also very public? Or do you simply make a mad dash for the copier and focus on the paper in your hands as though it were written in an unintelligible code that you must decipher?

What is Holy Ghost etiquette?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Jewish Teaching Story

Truth, naked and cold, had been turned away from every door in the village. Her nakedness frightened the people. When Parable found her, she was huddled in a corner, shivering and hungry. Taking pity on her, Parable gathered her up and took her home. There, she dressed Truth in story, warmed her and sent her out again. Clothed in story, Truth knocked again at the villagers' doors and was readily welcomed into the people's houses. They invited her to eat at their table and warm herself by their fire.

-- from Experiential Storytelling by Mark Miller

Do you ever . . . ?

Do you ever catch a glimpse of your reflection in a window and think, "Looking pretty good today!" and then a few minutes later walk past a mirror and think, "Yuck, what happened in the last five minutes to make me gain that much weight?" Sometimes it feels like I NEVER see the same reflection . . . leading me to believe that indeed, I have absolutely no idea what I really look like. Some of you must be familiar with that whole growing-up-as-a-fat-girl-so-I-can't-imagine-a-thin-me-even-when-the-scale-and-the-mirror-says-otherwise thing that happens to people. I have that!

Another thing . . .

Do you ever get comments on what you're wearing -- nice comments -- and realize that every time you wear that particular thing people say nice things about that particular thing? I am currently wearing a multi-colored sweater that I know makes me look boxy but never fails to garner praise fot its own self. This always leads me to believe that it is true . . . sometimes you wear clothes and sometimes your clothes wear you.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

One Question at a Time: #4, 5 & 6

What quote do you want the next few years to look like?
This was easy. My favorite and "life quote" comes from a Mary Oliver poem that I've shared here before. It says, "When it's over, I want to say: all my life/I was a bride married to amazement./I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. . . "

But in 2005 it would be cool to realize this one by Alexander Smith (she said with a smile), "Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others and the delight in the recognition."

What's one thing you've done that you wish you could un-do?
Oh, that's a tangled one. There would be some who would suggest I look at my current marital state and beg forgiveness for that one. But in fact, I value the things I learned from that journey. Others might point me in the direction of some social OOPS I've managed to pull off, but again, I'm not inclined to look there. I guess . . . if it's not THE one, it's definitely on a list . . . I wish I hadn't let the ties between my twin and me become so loose that I often feel disconnected from him.

What's one thing you've not done that you still have on your wish list? Yea verily the list goes on and on. This year I'm determined to see Yosemite. I want to travel in the coming decade to as many exotic locales as my stubby little legs and iron stomach will allow. I want to have a long, mesmerizing conversation with a man who stirs everything within me and feel totally confident about myself as I'm having it. I want to write something that makes people FEEL . . . and something that makes them ACT. That's a few on the current list!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Irony Roasting on an Open Fire

Disclaimer: This is not a political jibe. . . . It's a media jibe.

I'm watching the Today show this morning while reading the paper. The Houston Chronicle has just told me that current President Bush has enlisted the help of former Presidents Bush and Clinton to raise money for the tsunami victims when lo and behold elder George appears on my television screen. I've got the sound down so I don't hear what he has to say about the efforts (and moving slightly away from my disclaimer, why President Carter who has not been a particular fan of either Bush wasn't also asked to perform this humanitarian function) but I do note that he's in Houston. The screen points this out in 18 pt. type at least. Why would that be amazing or amusing? Because behind said speaker is a roaring fire.

This item followed the weatherman announcing that Houston may reach near record-setting temperatures today . . . 78 degrees.

"Put another log on the fire, honey, we've got compassion to project."

Monday, January 03, 2005

One Question at a Time: #3

What quote (from book, music, movie, etc.) would sum up the last few years of your life?

"No matter where you go, there you are." -- Buckaroo Bonzai and the Eighth Dimension

One Question at a Time: #2

What's the book, music (in whatever form you choose) or movie you'd want to have with you should you ever wind up on that infamous deserted island?

I'd want to take an anthology of poetry. My grandmother gave me one when I was a child that I wished I still had today. I like the idea of an anthology because no one poet would offer enough diversity for me. But a collection from many writers . . . it would be like having a different conversation every day. And when I re-read a poem I know I'd have the exact same sense I have when re-reading now . . . almost as if I've never read it before because in the moment something new strikes me.

One Question at a Time: #1

I listed lots of questions. Now I'm going to attempt to answer a few. Here's the first from the list.

If you could change one thing about the world, yourself, or both, what would it/they be?

The thing that comes to mind in this moment is . . . I'd like to change the way people seem to make assumptions without enough or even any information. People assume motives. People assume rationales. People assume . . . unfortunately and often . . . the worst. If we could see each other with new eyes, more compassionate eyes, eyes filled with grace, then I think the world could be a happier place to be.

And if I'm allowed a totally sci-fi kind of answer (and I am because it's my blog), then I would wish we could see the beauty within as easily as we see the beauty outside . . . maybe even instead.

I Kissed a Couple of Strangers

They stood beside us as the countdown continued
I didn't know their names
But I knew they shared a friendship
And we shared some of the same secrets
So 3-2-1
I turned first to my companions
One for each cheek
And then
I kissed a couple of strangers.

Happy New Year!

My Wish for You

If you have never had one of those times where you say to yourself, "Remember this. This point in time is special, unique, and you will cherish the memory for years to come" then that is my wish for you in 2005 -- not just the moment but the realization of its power while you're still in that moment.

If you have, I wish more for you in this new year.

My impetus for this wish came over the weekend, sitting on a friend's couch, watching my first-ever-viewed-in-its-entirety-televised-Bowl-game, laughing hysterically at one woman's remembered cheers, munching on made-with-love dumplings and beans, and knowing that this was the kind of experience that can't be planned . . . they happen only when love abounds.