Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Yellow Brick Road, part I

While everyone is posting about New Year's Eve, I thought I would post something ordinary, well as ordinary as my signs come.

I recently had a "Wizard of Oz" experience. Come, walk with me.
I journeyed to a magical land of country roads and no street lights.  Instead of a Land of Oz, I was searching for my friend's Christmas lights display. (He programs them to music; he is one of those people.) To be honest with you, it was an excuse to see the Great And Powerful Oz himself.  Amidst all the flashing, blinking, and twinkling lights, I made my way to the front door and knocked.  Rather timidly.

"Who dares disturb the Great And Powerful Oz?" An unseen voice boomed. Well, actually they said rather gruffly, "Who is it?"  When I replied who I was, the voice gruffly spoke again, "What do you want?"  I wanted to drop off a gift and see the Great And Powerful Oz in hopes of charming my way into his heart.  But I only mentioned the first part.

The gruffness was dropped after I peaked behind the curtain--er, garage.  It was all a case of mistaken identity. The voice, who happened to be the Father of Oz, thought I was one of his neices.  He apologized and had a good laugh with me about it.  Turns out Oz wasn't home. 

But what proceeded was light and wonderful conversation with two of the nicest people I have ever met.  They seemed to greatly enjoy me.  Who wouldn't enjoy the company of a girl with an affinity for pesky dogs and an eye for adventure? Step one down,  charming the parents!

Back to my journey. So what was I looking for?  Even though I have been likening myself to Dorothy, I wasn't looking for a way home.  (Besides, my overly romantic heart believes I had just found it.) No, I find I am in need of courage to ask for what I want and believe I deserve it; a heart that shines with possibilities for all to see; a brain to know when to stop deluding myself.

Wait a minute, doesn't the Wizard of Oz have a happy ending?!

Hopefully this spin-off will, too. To be continued...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Signs to learn from Mo, part III

You know those days? Those days where you have to make the decision, is the glass half full, or half empty?

Mo showed me today that sometimes, the decision isn't yours.
Like when your roommate forgets she is in the middle of changing your water, for example.

The glass--er, tank-- IS half empty. You have reached your proverbial ceiling. You shall not pass.

Someone up there--er, out there-- has it in for you.

Sometimes it is intentional, sometimes it is benign neglect.

Mo offered several options for coping with a forced half-empty situation. You can always take a nap. You can hide in the foliage. You can blow bubbles until someone notices you.

But that's not what Mo did. He kept swimming upward. He never stopped testing his limits.

Swim to the top, because one day that ceiling will not be there. Be ready to soar--er, swim-- beyond.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Sign Of Hard Work

After another long day of working with the circus, I looked at my friend who was painting faces.  She had an accidental paint mustache with stained hands and colorful freckles. I started to say, "You have a little something-" and she stopped me. "I know."

It is a sign of working hard, getting your hands-er, face- dirty.  Just ask pro-ball players, mothers of small children, animal trainers, chefs, and new to the list, circus workers.  A sign of perseverance against all odds, it may seem. And a sign of working hard.

I went to hand my friend a baby wipe.  Instead of accepting the baby wipe, with a mighty flourish she grabbed the bottle of glitter and spritzed her face.  "It...[glitter] just like deodorant," she proceeded to inform me while comically sparkling her shirt and armpits. "It can only make things better."

I laughed.  I knew what she meant.  So when you are working hard and you get a little dirty, you know people will stare.  So you might as well give them something to look at, to really be caught off guard with.  Maybe it is the tribal marking that resulted from the exquisite finger painting masterpiece your child made you. Or maybe it is the blue ribbon to go with your chocolate stained apron.  Or maybe it is glitter to go with your misplaced face paint.  Wear them as well earned badges of honor.  Wear them with deodorant. Wear them with confidence and succulent smiles. Because if they are going to stare, they might as well have something to look at, and you might as well be worth looking at!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sign You Need to Sleep.

Today was incredible, purely on possibilities alone.  Adding in the rest, it was astronomical.  And as I write that, shooting stars go by in my mind.

Wishes, signs, wishes for signs.

I wanted to write something really profound about how life and love is a marathon.  Or that I was enchanted. Depth, gravity, fortune cookies. They were all there.

But the best I could come up:

You are greater than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fried or quesadilla form.

That is pretty big in my book.  And you stole my words. 

That's a sign I need sleep right, an absence of adequate words?  Maybe, just maybe this is a continued sign of love.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Sign for the Inspiring

This one is for the inspiring people. The persevering despite all odds.  The strong. The fierce. The quietly brilliant.

The blogs that get me through the day.

The signs that I love to see and seek to find.

The people I wish I could be like.

The words you say, that I soak in like sun rays.
Copyright El. Seattle WA
The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light. -Felix Adler

Thank you for being a hero.
Thank you for being a saint.
Thank you for being a light, and showing me what it means to shine.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12 (Wrong) Ways to Make Potatoes

There are 12 wrong ways to make mashed potatoes.

1.  Forget to boil the potatoes.  Stare intensely at them in the mixer until you can figure out why they are not "mashing."

2. Boil them in a soup maker. It boils water in 90 seconds, so it should boil potatoes rapidly, right? Wrong.

3. Put the milk, butter, etc into the mixer before you put the potatoes in (wait for it...)

4. Dump the potatoes into the mess and plug in the mixer without checking to see if it is "off" first. Yes, potatoes can launch like rockets in case you were wondering.

5. Add more butter. The potatoes look fantastic at this point, more smashed and wounded than mashed. Butter will help right? No.....

6. Add flour to even the consistency. With a little baking soda, I bet I could have had some tasty potato biscuits.


Okay, so those are only 6 wrong ways to make mashed potatoes. It felt like 12 wrong ways. And it was a sign for me.  Sometimes I think I know what I am doing (see, POTATOES!) and jump right into a disaster waiting to happen. The psychological allure of boarding the Titanic. Or watching a thriller.

These are learning experiences.  These can be signs to others, should I share them.

Sometimes I know I don't know what I am doing. But the confidence of knowing that I don't know makes up for it.  A strange certainty in the unknown possibilities if you may.

Sometimes I don't know when to quit. Like step one. Or step four even.  Perseverance is admiral though, right?  Either way, thank God for family who ate my nonmashed potatoes with a smile.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sign of Self:those people

Every now and then, a great personal insight comes along that can really change your life. They are signs of self. 

This is a those people post.  Everyone know that they belong to a "those people" category.  Some of them are humorous, like "those crazy hat people," others not so much, like "those casserole bringing people."  So what kind of "those people" am I?

Today I was talking out loud to figure out a problem when I realized I am a Contingency Plan person.  I hide it in the guise of over-preparedness, and can-do spirit, but when it boils down to it, I focus on the fall back plan.  Even though I phrase my situations optimisitcally, stating "If this fails" not "when," I still have a back up plan. It is how I make situations that are absolutely horrible reasonable in my mind. Because there is a back up.

I am a living worst case scenario game!!

Whenever I hear the words contingency plan, I always think of death. And that is not what I want associated with me.  How morbid!  And to think, my security blanket of plans could even be the thing that sets me up attacks by Murphy's Law, because some of my contingency plans are better than the ones I am living. Why do I do that?!

I attest I can continue being a Contingency Plan person, but only if I can adjust my outlook: Don't have something greater than what you are doing be a contingency plan- don't wait for failure, just do it!  I don't want to be any other kind of Contingency Plan person, just like I don't want to be anybody's contingency plan.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Signs that Would Be Helpful if Applied to Real Life (2)

People seem to have this notion that geography is the key factor in change.  While this helps, I disagree.  Although, my longest running life goal consists of different geographic placement, this is not my key factor to change.  How spectacular would it be if we saw signs like this everyday?  In every moment when we question ourselves, in our searching for what we think we need?

Change is internal.  Change we breath in everyday.  The earth changes, seasons change.  And this time of year happens to be my favorite season of change.  Not because of the exchanging of gifts, or the dining on succulent food.  This is a season of change.

Late November, early December, is the time of year for shopping for new calendars.  It's the moment we make year-long commitments to pocket books, desk calendars, and wall calendars.  We look through thousands of pictures of puppies, and flowers, and optimistic sayings to find that right calendar. 

This is moment we realize that our coming year teems with endless possibilities.  Who knows what we will have scribbled on January 5th?  Or what kind of plans we will circle in red on Valentine's Day?  Anything is possible.

And just like committing to a calendar and feeling the energy of endless possibilities, we have to realize we can see this around us everyday.  Everyday is a destination waiting for us to declare, "I have arrived!"  The change we wish to garner through packed bags and new homes begins with each breath everyday, where we are right now. I wish we could see this sign every day.  To know this is where everything can (and will) change if we let it, if we let ourselves.  This is the place to turn your life around.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Signs to learn from Mo, part II

I just wanted to get a picture of my fish all flared up, the way betta fish do when they are defensive of their territory. (And yes, it makes me giggle to think of a tiny fish being territorial. What's the worst he's going to do-blow bubbles?)

Mid-snapshot, a message flowed through the water to my mind. And Mo looked at me knowingly.

Get out of your own way, the message said. Here was my fish, flaring to defend his home from some terrible unknown enemy, when really it was only himself. He had archers ready, sharks on-call, and a willingness to fight to the last breath-if need be- all against himself.

And it would be so easy to just laugh lightly at him, and say silly fish. He is just a silly red fish. I am a smart human. I see what you are doing and laugh because I would never do such a thing. I am human. I have thumbs. Plus I feed you.

And yet, how often have we over thought something, second guessed an answer, or logically skewed a point of view to better fit ourselves? All the time. He's not calling me not because he is busy, but because you are loud and odd and ought to tone it down. I'm pretty sure it's A, but then again I have been facing some rotten luck -entirely my fault I'm sure- so I'm going to guess B. I need this job because it is critical to my formation of character, despite the fact that the travel expense for this job almost costs me the entirety of my paycheck, and compromises my health.

All these words, everything, all for the sake of fighting myself to death, because either way I am right, right?

When really either way, I am exhausting myself and my resources. Either way, I lose. Anyway, I think it is time to get out of my own way. And time to feed my fish.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You'll Be Bright

All the things you love
All the things that may hurt you,
All the things you shouldn't do,
And all the things you want.

They're calling your name.

And you'll be bright.

a small sign for me today. and for you too.

(Lyrics by The Cloud Cult)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Penguin Song

I witnessed an amazing sight today. While at work, I took a minute to watch the king penguins. All 11 were stationed loosely around the penguin exhibit. Then suddenly, one raised his head and sang a little tune. After he stopped, another took up the verse. One by one, the king penguins took turns throwing their heads back in song. This went on for about five minutes.

In watching this sign, I discovered a profound sense of unity and belonging. They are not the most social birds. They don't put on fancy displays with feathers or flying, kind of like us. But even after one gave up on his song, there was another penguin to add to it, and continue until the song found its way back to him.

Please know we are all interconnected. The actions we define ourselves with will send out songs. Someone on the other side of the world is listening in their heart, nodding in approval, waiting to join in.  Worldwide, we belong.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

From this Angle
I saw a really neat sign last night. I was watching one of my new favorite shows, My Extreme Animal Phobia. One of the clients the therapist was helping was deathly afraid of butterflies. Through exposure therapy, the woman eventually was surrounded by 200 butterflies, and was perfectly okay with it. When one landed on her shoulder, she said, "From this angle, they are kind of beautiful."

I have a friend that I am feuding with. I am not sure they know that we are feuding, but we are. I did not appreciate an analogy they used towards me, regarding me. And I do not approve of the lack of compassion they proceeded to show me. But from an obnoxiously close angle, it is kind of beautiful, to have someone you care so much about that you can feud and make up with very little harm done. To have someone inspire the passion it takes to stand up for yourself.

I have an appointment coming up on Monday. Every time I think about it, my stomach does an awkward two-step inside me. From a close angle, I still do not find it beautiful. I am grateful about it. But even more respectful. Not everything should be viewed at from obnoxiously close angles. Venomous snakes and spiders for example. Fire is another good one. Or contagious diseases and really bad ideas. These things require respect for their existence, and respectable distances to be kept.

Still, it is good to view your life and the objects in it from a closer angle, to swallow that bigger picture we sometimes get wrapped up in.

Nine times out of ten, you will find it beautiful. Okay, make that six times out of ten. As long as those remaining four aren't deadly encounters of the aforementioned kind, I'd say your odds are pretty good. Just beware the signs, from this angle.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Signs to learn from Mayzie, part 1

This is my dog, Mayzie. And I am always learning new things from her.
Today's lesson:

It's okay to be odd. Embrace it!

Be comfortable with your inner upside-down dog!
So you put on your hat, and then pull on your shirt over top- so what?!
So you like to talk to your fish, or your plant, or your microwave- so what?!
Maybe you decorate your breakfast plate,
or only wear purple slippers,
or only wear one color of toenail polish.
So what?!
If there is one thing I can take from my dog today, it is to embrace your inner weirdness. I
t's how you get comfortable in your own skin.
Oh, and Mayzie wants to add,
It's not necessarily what you do,
as long as you do it with style!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

Last night. Well, last night continued my "wreck" of a day (see previous post).  I spent about 3 hours trying to scratch the surface on a Psychology paper that isn't even worth ten percent of my final grade. It should have taken three hours to finish total.

Driven to tears and a searing headache, I finished my preliminary research and closed the computer. I marched myself downstairs. I gathered supplies. I nestled into the corner of the couch and raised my weapon of choice ominously. And with that shiny fork I devoured a piece of chocolate cake. Psychology needs chocolate cake. And for good measure, I chased it down with a buttered piece of bread, and milk.
Then I went upstairs, put on my silkiest pajamas, and curled into my heated bed. I was frustrated. I was filled with frosting. I knew I'd have to pay for it tomorrow. But man did I look good.   And Marie Antoinette would have been proud.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Buttoned Up

My button says "I'm a wreck." It's totally true. And today, it is what I love about me. I love the mess I will have to clean when I get home. I love the fact that I'll probably groom my dog instead of cleaning. Or that I should be researching, but I'm writing instead. I'm a wreck about everything! I am in between now and forever, consistently on the precipice of disaster and enlightenment.  And it feels absolutely wonderful. Like the wind that whips ahead of the storm, cooling off the hottest of days, bringing with it the power of an unseen force and an unknown storm. Since I do not know what is heading my way, hurricane, tornado, northeastern, there is no way I can effectively prepare. It is entirely out of my hands. (This is a BIG deal. I am a very planned and efficient person.) But it feels great! I have come to understand that I do not need to white-knuckle my control onto every situation. Some things are entirely out my hands. I am not at the wheel. But I can feel the wheel.  Just like I can feel the wind. And that is control enough. And I am a wreck. And I have never felt more attractive in my life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's All In the Shoes

Today was going to be hard. Normally I pair my outfit with a quirky hat to off set or distract everyone. But not today. Today I put my big girl boots on.

No, literally. I put my big girl boots on. I knew I was possibly up against ignorant people, entering with a fuse that is already awfully short to begin with.  I didn't want to attract attention with a hat or have a brim block the fire that was ready to shoot from my eyes. I slipped on my shoes and headed out the door.

Perhaps the universe thinks twice about messing with you, when you get up and immediately put your boots on. I didn't receive a single snide comment, resentful glance, or other various outcomes I am accustomed to upon returning from an unknown absence.

Instead I had more people acknowledge I was alive and well, with happiness and concern, than I have ever received.   I entered the morning guns loaded, ready to prove I don't need no-body, cuz ain't no-body gonna give a damn about me, only to be pleasantly surprised. I'm going to say it was the boots. And I'm going to say I've discovered what they mean by going out with your boots on.

Friday, October 21, 2011

When You're On Top Everest

There are days worth screaming over.  In pain. Anguish. Grief. Frustration. It's like you are from a whole different planet, and no one seems to notice why you are screaming. They are merely annoyed at the disturbance you are causing them.

In many ways that is the relationship I have with my health. An infuriating balance game that I thought I was momentarily winning.  Enter the screams. And being a boisterously busy and outgoing person, I don't want to have to deal with any setbacks. Any symptoms, any pain, anything. I'm tough, I handle it. But I'm overcritical with my body and the expectations it has recently failed to exceed.

In a fit of internal screaming, I exploded to one of my mentors and healers, "I have exams, homework, classes, two jobs, friends, laundry, a brother, a dog, a fish, and a whole household's sanity to worry about. And I can't handle it on top of my health!"

She paused thoughtfully, and replied, "Well, you know there is really nothing you can do about it."  It sounded like a smart aleck response, even though she didn't mean it that way. I stiffened, hurt even more by her lack of compassion.

Smiling at me knowingly, she said, "What I mean is, well think about it this. Say you are climbing Mount Everest. You reach the very top of the world, the very top. What's the first thing you think about?" 

She smiled at me, making sure I was listening. "I'll let you in on a little secret. It's not anything you listed before. Nobody gets to the top of Mount Everest and starts worrying about their laundry at home. No one."

If you can't do anything about it right that second, right that day, why are you using your precious heart and energy worrying about?

My health is just like any journey. And some times, it will feel like I am forced to the depths of this earth to find relief.  But it is a journey none-the-less. And no one gets to the top of Mount Everest and worries about laundry.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sign You Weren't Meant to Get Ahead (Manatees)

Every now and then one of those comes along and just knocks us off our feet. Because if we had seen it coming, oh say in this form, we might have found a way around it.

No such luck. Here I am at the drawing board of my life again, and I find myself erasing, probably senselessly, all the things I see disappearing. But it's okay. My excuse: I wasn't meant to get ahead. And for the next few days that's how it will be. You don't just get up and waltz away from one of these wrecks. There are vertebrate and self-esteem to make sure are intact.

I suppose if I were to muse on it, the wreck I find myself in is probably my fault. Shouldn't have been in cruise control, applying lipgloss, singing to the radio, and arriving promptly at my long awaited destination looking marvelous.

Maybe I didn't see the signs. Maybe I didn't count my blessings. 

Or maybe this is a good sign. If I had flown by this in one piece, I might have missed the manatees. Sure they are not the cutest of creatures but HEY people used to think they were mermaids. And that's a good luck sign, right? And if I missed the manatees, I might have missed the dolphins, limbo happy hour, and who knows what else?!

It'll be a few days until I see those harbingers of good news, those manatees. Right now I'm busy at the drawing board, futilely attempting to reconstruct myself. There's not much else I can do right now in this ditch I'm in.  But perhaps once the rain eases, I'll be able to see the silver lining. And a rainbow? That's the best time to see manatees, so I've heard...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ten More Minutes

It was one of those mornings. I thought all I wanted was ten more minutes.

To be precise, I wanted ten more minutes to continue the dream I remembered having.

And then it was ten more minutes to feel better.

Ten minutes more to find the strength to get out of bed.

45 minutes later, it was one of those mornings. My cell phone, which doubles as the only alarm clock that can wake me up, glared evilly at me.

Today I want those ten more minutes.  I can think of countless things I would enjoy ten more minutes of! Ten more minutes of enjoying my coffee.  Ten more minutes on the sofa watching HGTV. Then the hot shower. And I'm not just talking ten more minutes of things today. I'd love ten more minutes of mediation daily. Another ten in a handsome someone's arms. Another ten on the phone with my best friend.

But we don't always get ten minutes. We are called to get up, keep going, and find the time later to reflect on those ten minutes we would have spent differently if we were allotted them. It is a sign we are growing, if we want those ten minutes. A sign we have things worth savoring.

While the insight didn't stop the siren's call of my pillow this morning, it did put things into perspective. There is so much to be grateful for. And so much more to do. So take ten to reflect and remember that. Just don't let your cell phone see you!

Monday, October 3, 2011

It Takes the Shirt Right Off Your Back

Life has some pretty high demands of me of late. But it's okay, I rise to the challenge.
One of the birds at my job forgot about the invention of glass, and how it isn't even slightly semi-permeable to birds.  She tried to fly through it with atomic force. In a stunned panic and unable to fly, she proceeded to scream and try to bite everyone around her. Knowing full well she could get hurt or stepped on, I raced over and tried to grab her. She wasn't able to fly to get away, but she was able to bite and yell. Knowing I couldn't leave her there, and seeing the crowd going, there was only one thing to do.  Off came my shirt (now everyone knows I like lacy purple undershirts and sharing secrets with Victoria), which I bundled the bird in and raced off to radio the biologists.

Sometimes life takes the shirt right off your back.  Sometimes there aren't any other options. Sometimes it is the only thing you have left to give. But I'd rather be without my shirt, in public, having done the right thing.  Perhaps there is someone watching, wearing two shirts, and ready to do the right thing as well.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

You Were Meant to Do This

I sat there listening to you, helpless through the other end of the phone. I lit a candle for you. And I waited.

Photo courtesy
 Staring desperately around my room, a Post-It note caught my eye. In a fit of my own despair, I remember writing that note. Positioned above my bed, it simply reads:

How do I let what I have work for me?

I could answer that for you. But how dare I take the journey away from you? The strife, the hardship, the success, the glory. They are all part of it. I could hand you a road map. But you'd refuse it. Thankfully, this is your journey.

I wish I could tell you how much you were meant to do this. I wish you would take a second to find the light inside you, find what fuels it, and hold on for dear life. It is a nearly tangible emotion, full of the passion and conviction I know you have. Because I have it in you.  I showed it to you.

Your inner dialogue is so loud you can't begin to find that light. And you call out, but can't hear me.

So here are some signs for you.

--To those who wait, time opens every door. Chinese proverb

--It's all right to hesitate if you then go ahead. Bertolt Brecht

--It was a high counsel that I once hear given to a young person, "Always do what you are afraid to do." Ralph Waldo Emerson

--Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value. Albert Einstein

--If your aim is to make the kite soar as high as possibly can, you need to master the art of holding firm as well as the art of letting go. Papemelroti

--Small town people from Ohio didn't believe that humans could ever fly. But two dreamers dared to move beyond. Two dreamers dared to believe they were meant to do this.

You too are meant to do this.
And so am I.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sign of Compassion

 Today I recalled a story I once heard in one of my high school classes.

There once was a contest to find the Most Compassionate Kid in the world. Parents from all over sent in videos of small children sharing cookies and crayons. Pictures and hand drawn cards to teachers, soldiers, and siblings. Poetry of all kinds.

One video in particular struck the judges.  In it,  an elderly man sat on his front porch.  A small boy walked up, unaware of the anger and bitterness in his neighbor's eyes.  He sat next to him on the step, very close, for hours.  Words might have passed but no talking was visible or audible from the distance the video was shot. The boy sat very still. And then, the man slumped forward and cried. The boy remained, and put his hand on the man's back.

The judges called the little boy. 
     "What did you say to that old man?" they inquired.
The boy looked at them quizzically.
     "I didn't say anything.
          I let him cry.
               And I didn't let him do it alone."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Signs to learn from Mo, part I

One of my plethora of jobs is at an aquarium. I learned to love the fish, the cool touch of the acrylic behind my fingers, the moist air that encompasses me as I walk through the tunnels. First thing in the morning, before the aquarium opens to the public, before the ambiance music is turned on, there is a peacefulness.  It surrounds me and takes me in, like a secret.

I have almost an addiction to that tranquility. And I bought my very first (and then second) fish ever. He is a red crown tail betta named Mozart. Mo for short. He has a one gallon tank on my desk, with a color changing LED light. And now I have that peacefulness at home.  I turn off my lights, draw my black light curtains, turn up my fan, and turn on his light.  It's like magic.

People familiar with a certain popular kid's movie know the motto "Just keep swimming."  Mo has a different motto. He blows bubbles. (I assure you, this is very natural of betta fish, don't be concerned for him!) If I am not feeding him fast enough, he blows bubbles. When he entertains himself, he blows bubbles. The first thing he does when he is in a tiny holding tank while I clean his, is blow bubbles.

And I think it is very zen of him. He takes whatever it is that is getting his gills in a bundle, and just blows it out. Makes him feel better, even happy. If I could let go as easily as he does, just blow it all out, I'd probably enjoy the tank I'm residing in a little more. 
So tonight when I turn off all the lights, and watch the colors change in Mo's tank, that's what I'm going to do. And Mo will nod at me in response, and blow me a kiss, in the form of a bubble.

Soup Spoons

Besides traffic, there are very few things out of my control that get under my skin. One of the more quirky of these are soup spoons.
Why are they so big and pretentious? They are not the best fit for most mouths (and nobody loves soup that much). They don't hang off your nose properly. They sit on the table collecting dust because so few people use them with their soup, and they cramp the space of the other utensils in the dish washer. Plus, they always get mixed in with the other spoons in the untensil drawer, completely throwing off the spooning.

Needless to say, they are more than pointless.

And today, I have come to realize that soup spoons can be a living metaphor.  Today they are a metaphor for irritating jobs (and the big-headed bosses that come with them). Traffic can be a Soup Spoon. So can low-fat lattes,second cousins, and your neighbor's noisy dog.

So if you have an unnatural abundance of soup spoons, or Soup Spoons, I have a few recommendations. Gather up spoons and have a sundae feast. Then throw them at the Soup Spoons in your life. It's a fool proof way to get all of your Soup Spoons out of your life, for good!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Be Sure to Do It!

     Be sure to do it! the neon church sign winked at me. It was probably referring to Jesus or something biblical, but my mind was already racing, taken in by the sign.

     Sure. Small children hear that word constantly. Be sure to clean the fish tank. Be sure to finish your vegetables.  Be sure to always wear fresh underwear.

     By the time we are grown, we are overwhelmed with things to be sure of. Sometimes, we even lose sight of the simple definition. Sure: free from doubt as to the reliability, character, or action of something.

     With all there is to be certain of, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his daughter a letter detailing her duties and what shouldn't be worried about. He said:

             Don't worry about popular opinion.
             Don't worry about dolls
             Don't worry about the past
             Don't worry about the future
             Don't worry about growing up
             Don't worry about anybody getting ahead of you
             Don't worry about triumph
             Don't worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
             Don't worry about mosquitos
             Don't worry about flies
             Don't worry about insects in general
             Don't worry about parents
             Don't worry about boys
             Don't worry about disappointments
             Don't worry about pleasures
             Don't worry about satisfactions.

     He also had a list of things to think about, or be certain of.  The most prominent one being what am I really aiming at?
     Then there is the sure, the positive, the yes. The enthusiastic reply to a request for adventure.  With our things not to worry about in mind, we also must go with confidence towards what we are aiming for. 

     Because if it's not worth being certain of, then what's it worth? 
     Are you sure?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Things I don't Believe in

There are very few words I do not believe in. Forever is one of them. But you already knew that.

Perhaps it is wishful thinking, so the dark side of forever doesn't exist.  I'm not entirely sure, but the certainty and weight behind a forever is daunting to me.

But you know that sinking feeling you get right when you realize you are dead wrong?  The "Jaws" music. The uncomfortable hiccup in your heart. I think I dislike 'forever' because it reminds me how little time we have to really accomplish anything. I had nothing but time to improve myself.  Lay in wait while constructing a "fool proof" plan in my head for how things were going to work.  And it was delusional, but optimistic. And we were on that path together, even though we were thousands of miles apart. Actually I was thinking of you today, realizing how much of who I am is a direct result of you.  A simple thank you does not suffice.

But here comes that music.  For the first time I realize that forever might actually exist.  Not the ever-after forever, but the dark side I was avoiding. I might not ever see you again.

Forever is a long time.
But it is still not long enough to forget you. 

That's why I don't believe in forever.
And I don't believe in goodbye.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sign of Silence

As great composers know, sometimes silence is more beautiful than sound. A well timed silence can ring out loud.

Thank you, horoscope for today. As I read this, I started to believe my horoscope writer is falling out of touch. My day was incredibly noisy, and in every way it had to be.

But as I sat here and thought, my mind went to the deeper meaning. I have recently experienced a person I could spend the rest of my life with. Easily enjoyable, like Sunday comics. Timing wasn't right, however.  So my breath of hope got taken from me. And I have waited, more patiently than I have ever been. Sometimes great things take great efforts. I have nothing but AND only time to lose. And my silence is swallowing my minutes. But I take it in stride. This horoscope points that I should be quiet, and learn how to wait, even after it feels like I have waited so long.

On a greater scale, though, the universe has already told me that my loud spunky-ness is all right. It gave me more opportunities this year than I have had in the past 3 put together. So I will be quietly composing my symphony of plans in my head. And when my time comes to play, it will ring forth more beautiful than the most golden of silences. Obviously it is not complete yet. But when it is, watch out Mozart. Here I come.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's All In the Hands

A lot of people take their hands for granted, not even truly noticing them until the unfortunate hang nail or splinter befalls them.  I am no such person though.

In one of my jobs I got to learn palm reading. Strangely enough it is not all hocus-pocus I predict something vaguely good will happen in your future type of stuff. We don't read the future because we make our own future. We can tell you about yourself. And the lines on your hands change as your personality grows and changes. Bizarre and wonderful. And since I have loved observing people's hands.

Also, eight months ago I received massive second-degree burns on my left hand. Being a hands on person as well as a flutist proved a difficulty (never mind my stubbornly independent streak). 

But through all of the burn ointment and gauze, even after the healing was through I discovered a truth. When everything is burning I don't need someone to make my world better, I just need someone to hold my hand until it is. There is so much strength behind our hands. Supportive, protective, telling, strong, our first sensory experience. 
Josh Groban sings, "You see these hands, they're millions strong, they are yours now. Hold on love, we're still going down, hold now we're still fighting." All hands together, we can accomplish anything. With hands united, we do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Signs for Something More

For those of you who are aware, I have a thing for peanut butter and jelly. Creamy peanut butter, grape jelly ( ONLY grape jelly). Serves as a great snack, meal, and/or problem solver. Today I have done quite a lot of reflection, with a quick sandwich in hand, and it brought forth a pleasant memory. And with it, a sign.

Once upon a time, I was hanging out with one of my best friends, with whom I share the most unusual relationship. As always, the long conversations turn to music, our latest favorites and newest sensations. We take turns sharing Youtube videos, singing, and dancing like loons together. The songs, much like our relationship, skirt the fine line of hopeless looming romance and positive hopefulness. But that is fine either way.

It was my turn. I was playing a song about strength, perseverance, and the power of emotional unseen things. And it has this fantastic drum solo in the middle, perfect for dancing with wild abandon. After listening to a few lines, my friend spoke up. "Are you hungry?" "Sure, what do you have to eat?" "What about quesadillas? (wait for it....) peanut butter and jelly quesadillas?" It was a molten explosion of flavor in my mouth, amazing. But the rest of the story goes, the tortillas were too large for the quesadilla maker, but we used them anyway. And mid-dance the jelly bubbles over and starts to burn. (The quesadillas were saved though, don't worry!) This didn't happen last time, my friend explained, but they had smaller quesadillas last time.
Maybe we are all like those oversized quesadillas sometimes. Because there are so many times in our lives that we are meant for so much more, but do not take the time to realize it. Maybe we were meant for crepes, or chicken fried rice burritos or other novelties. Just because we are oversized and work well enough doesn't mean we have reached our fullest potential. Until that fit is perfect, don't forget that you were meant for something more.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Something for Everyone

Sometimes we all need a sign, proof that there is something (or someone) for everyone.

So go on you egg and ketchup eaters, you kangaroo fanatics, glue sniffers, cat fanciers, snow globe collectors, toe sock wearers, and hard rock romancers. 

I give you proof:

There truly is something for everyone.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Sign You Are Smarter Than You Know

Among my friends, I am known for a listening heart with good advice. Something I consistently say about relationships and the right people goes as follows.

You are on a path. This path is both literal and metaphorical. It is for you only. You have a long distance to cover on your path. And there are many things on it just for you. The right person will not pull you off of this path. The second you stray off of your path to chase someone else, you are missing whatever was coming your way. Everything you do, believe in, feel and think, those are the things that make up your path. And one day, through all you do, you will attract someone to your side. And your path becomes their path, and their path becomes your path. Don't stray from your path. The right person will find you through everything you are.

And I believe this, because every time I put a toe off of my path, I get whacked on the nose by the universe. I don't trust that my path will bring me what I need.  But it does. And it provides me with strength. 

I also believe this because I could not have accomplished what I have by straying from who I am, and what I am meant to do. That is powerful. That is the path. My path.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Opera Lessons

I have found that there is nothing quite as scintillating a night on the opera. Dressed to the nines. Expensive fancy chocolate. Timeless story lines.  Outrageous costumes and set. Truly unbelievable music. All for a student-rush ticket of $12. Last night was....
When faced with arduous trails,  the hero Tamino implored, "When will I get what I desire?"
The response was, "Soon, or never."

Of course, in operatic standards, that "never" could be slightly dramatic. But opera does mirror true human behavior.

When will I get what I desire? Soon, or never. How remarkably true is that? It is self-fulfilling. If I don't receive some kind of sign soon, I believe I never will and thus will change what I desire, or change my course of action to achieve it.  The beautiful thing about that, though, is a sign comes either way.  We are constantly regulated by our environment, through punishment and reward, encouragement and discouragement, on our path to achieve that great desire. We may feel lost or like we are wasting time, but that is just another lesson on our path to Soon or Never.

When it all comes down to it, Soon or Never is really all we have. Will this day ever end? Soon or Never. Will he ever call? Soon or Never. Will I ever graduate?? Soon or Never. And as long as we keep ourselves open to the signs, to the feedback, the answer will sooner be sooner than never.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Need a Margarita with Dinner

Today was, to put it lightly, miserable. Let me enlighten you, play by play.

8:33AM.  turn off alarm, feel miserable, remembers how ex handled the news last night about me dating like a champ, while i imploded when i found out he was over me. lay in bed until second alarm sounds.

8:55AM. turn off second alarm. set a third alarm. Can't miss work today, today I lose a disciplinary point because of one month of perfect attendence.

9:16 wake up, still feeling miserable. put on wrinkly shirt. grab an apple, too pathetic to muster up the energy to pack anything else.

9:37AM leave home, empty stomach.

9:43AM Starbucks Drive-Thru is closed. (WTF!) i actually have to get out of my vehicle for coffee? and i can't find my coupon.

9:43AM Lady in black SUV almost hits me.

9:47-10:40AM Stuck in traffic for no apparent reason. Averaged 25mph whole way to work. took an hour to get to work. so much for that month of perfect attendence. i could have stayed home in bed....

10:40AM work at the aquarium. somewhat decent.

12:29PM 'ellen go to shark petting area.'

12:29PM-2:45PM shark petting area inudated by 3500 kids in day camps. two hours non stop repition. two fingers. wait til their eyes pass. don't pull on any fins or tails. just use two fingers. show me what two fingers looks like. yes they can bite but not when we only use two fingers and follow all the rules...

2:20PM lost day camper comes to me, can't find his group. they were getting ready to leave and insisted they had everybody even after my supervisor asked them. poor day camper was reunited with camp, although we don't know if he made it home safely...

2:46PM teetering on mental meltdown, finally relieved from shark petting area, shaking and close to tears from how overwhelming it is trying to prevent people from doing stupid things. eats icecream for lunch.

2:51PM guy i tried to get to ask me out a few months back asks me out.

3:00PM received texts from my crush, whom i am currently dating, saying if you want to talk to me tonight at practice don't bank on it, my family will be there, i'll be busy, etc. so you might not want to come. his family doesn't knew we are dating, seeing as i am the first would be serious relationship he has ever had, and is struggling to break the news to them. so text translation: don't come to practice because my family is going to be there.

3:01-6:44PM life sorta coasts along. still teetering on the edge though. but thankfully i get off work early.

6:45PM realize i had been asked out, drove the rest of the way home frustrated again.

7:27PM mom burns half of my tuna melt.

7:31PM reads horoscope "you'll naturally gravitate toward stability, elegance, and excellence," but hears "you'll naturally gravitate toward stability, elegance, and excellence.. too bad there is none to be found. And like an asteriod, you'll get sucked into something else's gravitational oull, and head for certain destruction."

the only redeeming sign comes in the form of a jimmy buffet tune.... It all says you need is a margarita with dinner.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Signs It Could Be Love (prelude)

There are many signs out there that point to whether what you are feeling is truly love or not.

This particular one comes from a conversation I had with someone I care deeply about.
I could really fall for you I said frankly.

You mean you haven't already?! Because it seems to me that you already have fallen, down a cliff, off of another smaller cliff, down a canyon into a chasm!
he said as he smiled (and kissed me)

...when you know you are falling, but only feel like you are know it is love.     

Saturday, July 16, 2011


You might just be the sign someone else is looking for....

My Not So Ordinary 2011

This has honestly been the best year of my life so far. And on paper, it’s impressive, but also surprising. I think grown-ups call it ‘a learning experience,’
My first New Year’s in 5 years that wasn’t miserable

Learned how to eat fire, then learned the sense not to

Played a principle part in CCM’s Symphony Orchestra, with burnt fingers

Celebrated a One Year Anniversary with a job that was as unforeseeable as it is enjoyable
Celebrated a my first year of service to the SPCA

Recognized my worth and quit what was worth quitting
Applied for on a whim and received a great job, in hopes of boosting my career as a biologist

Only to change majors to Psychology, courtesy of a wake up call (thank you Chemistry 103)

Attend my first Alt. Rock concert, lost my hearing and my voice, and learned I’ll never be an Alt. Rock girl through and through

Wrote 113 pages (because I promised to write until it sucked less) despite not feeling like I could follow through or finish anything

Sent poetry in to be published (keep your fingers crossed!)

Learned to read palms and not to rely on the future, because nothing is for certain

Enjoyed 2 operas, the dress I got to wear to both, and the new close friends I went with
Shot a shot gun and learned to how to throw knives, because it’s ok to be more than what meets the eye

Went on an incredible first date (over three months in the making) and

Learned what (and who) is worth waiting for

Gave for the sake of Giving for 29 days and watched my world changed

Received a gift of 6 expensive concert tickets, gave away 5, and was upgraded beyond believing (<3 josh groban!!!!), which taught me

Being loud is a good thing, because you never know until you ask (the worst they can say is yes)

And anything worth doing or experiencing takes time and a lot of faith.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Maybe You Need a Map

Say you are browsing the Welcome Center.
Oh, maps!
These neatly folded squares indicate all sorts of things: Map of Ohio, Map of Historic Kentucky, Map of Haunted Greater Cincinnati, Map of Restuarants, Map of Local Points of Interest. You take the first and the third, just in case.

You look even closer and see more maps. Map to _________.  What would your dream map say?

Mine would say Map to Successful Relationship with B.C. (....and would probably include a bottle of asprin because this incredible guy frustrates me to the point of headaches)

If given the map of your dreams, would you take it?  There are a lot of times maps really come in handy. When there are detours, for example. Or when electronic directions take you no where (like swimming across the ocean to get from China to Taiwan, or to a dead end street while insisting you go forward).

I can see my hand reaching forward....and taking only the bottle of asprin. Because anything worth doing takes time. And when all else fails, follow directions.

When all else fails, then and only then, maybe you need a map.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To Remind You It Matters

When I was in the middle of my first giving round (see link on left) I got discouraged, because no matter how much I gave, none of it seemed to matter. In response to my frustration, a friend told me this story, which I later found out is adapted from Loren Eiseley.

A man was walking along the ocean, and observed another person on the beach as well.  As he watched, every couple of feet the man repeatedly bent down, and threw something into the ocean. 

Puzzled, the man asked, "What are you doing?" 

He simply replied, "Throwing the star fish back into the ocean." And picked yet another one up, and tossed it into the waves.

"Why?" asked the man, still puzzled.

"Because the tide is low, and they will dry out and die otherwise."

The man watched him throw a few more starfish and became exasperated. "This beach goes on for miles! And there are hundreds of star fish per mile! You can't possibly save enough to make a difference!"

In response, he picked up another star fish and tossed it into the ocean.  "It made a difference to that one."


Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's All Going Down the Drain.

Sometimes you can just feel it, all slipping down the drain. Sometimes that is your sign. Sometimes it is the aftermath. In an attempt to be upbeat, you can always say to yourself, "Well, everything must be emptied in order to be filled again."


I tend to believe these kind of signs are more tuned into self-awareness. Examining what is being lost.  Maybe it is something you have been losing for twenty years.  Maybe it is something you have no control over, and yet feel it is all due to you.

Maybe it is the realization that no matter how good you are, how much you overcompensate, how hard you try, when you don't fit the bill, you simply don't fit. You can perservere, you can attempt to shape shift again, or you can evolve.  Regardless, sometimes you just have to learn to live when it's all going down the drain.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Signs You Have Made a Friend....

Signs you have made a friend:

in Kindergarten: they share their cookies with you when your mom packed you carrots for snacks. they 
whisper to you during nap time. they share their crayons with you, even the good colors. they never tell on you. they come over for play dates and love your pets. you do silly things together because no one else understands how cool you are. they sit next to you on the bus. they hold your hand.

in Elementary School: they chase you around outside.  they yell and laugh at you but it's okay because you yell and laugh at them. there are no personal boundaries between you.  you have a secret handshake. you break all the rules together. you play together. you just met this morning.

at your Work Place: you talk about things like movies and restaurant reviews. you occasionally crack a joke between one another. you get drinks after work. you say good morning and good bye to each other.

in a Relationship: (see "kindergarten")

with your In-Laws: (see "work place")

in a Circus Company: (see "elementary school") and add a flying trapeze and other elements of

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Signs that Would Be Helpful if Applied to Real Life (1)

Today I found out that there are a few signs that I would like to magically appear in my life.  This one is a keeper.
Ah, yes. Low fuel. It could indicate you are about to run out of steam, out of energy, at your emotional capacity. Which would clearly indicate the need for a nap. And a snack. And to re-exam where you are going. Re-fueling allows you to stop and wash the windows. Check the map. Talk to locals. Visit the welcome center. Sometimes re-fueling can be a whole new adventure of itself!

But we don't have a "low fuel" sign that lights up just above our belly buttons. So we don't know. We tend to keep putzing along until everything comes to a screeching halt, collapses, and/or catches on fire. And then our adventures take a back seat. And we feel rather down on ourselves for letting things get that far.

The moral of the story is to pay attention to your low-fuel indicator.  Sometimes it is better to NOT be the hero, and take a minute for yourself. Re-fuel, then test your limits.  And pay attention.