Monday, July 16, 2012

A Lucky Sign

Okay, it's not what you are thinking. I didn't find another four leaf clover or eat an awesome fortune cookie.  But I did encounter a sign.

It proudly read, "The more you practice, the luckier you get."

(It was referencing golf.  The sign winked at me as I drove by the driving range on my way home today.)
Makes you wonder about those people that seem to have all the luck: maybe they just get to practice more.

Maybe the point they are trying to make is that if you practice hard enough, life can look easy.  And then maybe you will believe it IS easy, only to find that this new outlook makes it so.

Of course this philosophy of practice makes luck applies to a lot of things:
                Cat grooming         making out        the perfect pancake recipe           driving       reading signs       and who could forget golfing?

This goes without saying that sometimes your luck isn't found in getting better, but in realizing you truly ought to quit.  I have been to the driving range, multiple times.  I manage to cause damage to the property with my $6 bucket of balls.  My luck is in not causing serious damage or getting thrown out of the facility.  (Pretty luck if you ask me....wedged a ball in the rafters, awfully close to the lights....)

Sometimes you have to acknowledge that you just cannot manage certain tasks.

And probably for good reason.

Consider it luck, cut your losses, and go practice elsewhere.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sign of Moving

Times have been crazy. I suppose that is what makes them "special" or "unique" or any other adjective inside of the ever satirical quotation marks.

I have helped friends move out of dorms and acquired a free meals.  Helped my second mom move out of her house and received free dinner plates and excellent furniture. Helped family move in for two weeks, and helped rearranged the house after they left.

It seems to me that everyone is moving.  In my recent 80 mile trek to work, I see more and more moving trucks.  Everyone is going somewhere.

Begs the question, Where am I going?

To work. Home. To doctors appointments. To sleep.

To be honest, it all feels rather circuitous. I am fairly certain that all I'm going is around.

I'm sure you have felt the same way.

But this was my sign, as I was travelling to work.

Yes, it is a roundabout. Just like I expected.  But I am not the only one in it.  And in fact, I am one of those people who go around the roundabout more than once.

The sign is, there isn't a sign that says you HAVE to exit after one pass.  Sometimes it takes a few times through to clearly see the exit routes, read the street signs, and make up your mind.  But they are there. And most of life is rather circuitous (many enjoyable things are: roller coasters, merry-go-rounds, the earth). Keep going.  Keep going until you find enjoyment. Til you find the street you need. Til you are tired of the traffic. Keep going because everyone is moving.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Catching the Sunset in a Bottle

Hey, where ya been?  (Know that you are not alone in asking that question.)

I asked myself that, on Friday.  Because I finally met myself this year.  Friday was the best I have felt through all of 2012, first pain free day.  (Which is only a big deal when you have chronic pain disease.) And the first time I ever learned about bottling sunsets.

Friday I took an intro course into holistic medicinal energy healing.  A good bit of it was hands on.  Perhaps that was why I felt so good. Maybe it was merely the absence of 'feeling bad' that felt so good.  Or it might have been knowing this was a course that wasn't graded and therefore I could not fail.  Maybe it was finally doing something solely for me. Who's to say?

It was pretty expensive.  But it is Sunday and overall I feel so very alive. Keenly human. Deeply wonder-full.

Here's the thing about really good days: they are like catching the sunset in a bottle.  When you have, you know it is possible. That more than one good day is inevitable.  You open the bottle and enjoy it again, not wanting the memory to stale.  And that drives you onward.

You find ways to make it happen, because you already caught it in a bottle once and deep down inside you know you can do it again.  Because you keep that bottle, even after it's empty. You keep it on your nightstand, on your desk, with a note that says, "Remember."  You plan what you are going to do with it once you have it again.  You plan on how you are going to bottle the sunset again.  Because you can still feel the warmth in your hands, see the brilliance when you close your eyes.  You look to the skies, knowing it is out there.  Maybe it is watching you too.


Monday, April 23, 2012

And other crazy definitions...

"Hold on one minute, I think we got off on the wrong foot," urges a man I am pretty sure is mildly crazy.  He strolled into the eating establishment I was entertaining with balloon animals.  Struck a conversation with me as if he knew me. Apparently he was having a bad day. Something about poor service at the first restaurant he visited.

A skeptically raised eyebrow from me was encouragement enough. "No, see, I am actually super funny. One of the coolest people in the world.  Just look at me--I showered today."

Sometimes I need a sign like this to remember what is really cool. Like dogs wearing sunglasses.
Or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the moment I crave them most. 

Watching penguins hang out. 

Or getting dressed for work in record time and still looking effortlessly awesome. And of course, showering.

"This old thing? I only wear it when I don't care how I look."

And of course, if you like those things too (or perhaps accomplished some of them today), just take it as a sign that you, too, are cool.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time For A Crazy Change

I am very familiar with crazy--both the people and the situational variety.  Just last week I had a mom scream at me, "You shouldn't be working with children!" because her child didn't get face painted. I got bitten on the arm at a restaurant on a first date and had to pay for both meals.  My brother listens to deathcore and sings--I mean  screams-- along. Oh, and my dog thinks she is a person.

All that being said, my definition of crazy tends to be pretty intense. Exhausting.  Frustrating. Daily.  It mostly comes from my circus job.  Something about the loudness of small children, being at least 20 people deep in line, the unpredictability of parents, and battling the elements just hits my bloodstream like a shot of adrenaline.
So when the receptionist I was shadowing for my new job at a spa exclaimed, "Today is just going to be CRAZY!"  I braced myself the impact....that never came.

Sure there were a decent number of appointments.  Sure there are a lot of duties and endless laundry to fold. But there wasn't a rush. We weren't 5 people deep with all the phone lines ringing while the rest of the staff ran towels and the tea light candles singed the silk plants.  It was a steady, non-stressful pace.

It was a great sign for change.  This time, it was a definition change. A time to reset the limits.

Maybe my definition of crazy was, in fact, crazy. Accepting something so insanely out of balance could only send the rest of my life a little off kilter. (Sometimes it is hard to recognize that, though.  We like to think that if we fight long and hard enough, things will always get easier. Unfortunately, this isn't always true.) If this is my new definition of crazy, my quality of life is about to go way up. Crazy I didn't recognize this before...

At the end of the day, the receptionist turned to me and sincerely asked, "Wasn't that just crazy?" Something about the New Age music and the fact that I could still feel my feet made me smile. "Sure was."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Who doesn't love blueberries? They are the ultimate snack, poptart flavor, cheesecake accessory, and antioxidant.

So naturally I grabbed them to go with my lunch as I left this morning.  There was about half of the carton left.

I went about my day, with my lunch, folders, sweater, and blueberries in my purse. Until lunch time.

See, lunch time rolled around and I reached for my super fruit, but they were no where to be found. Somehow a half a carton of blueberries escaped my purse.

It made me realize that sometimes you only have things for a limited period of time. Sometimes they weren't yours to hold or enjoy in the long run.  And sometimes they leave a mess behind (imagine 100+ blueberries rolling on the floor somewhere!!).

It doesn't mean it is the last time you will ever enjoy blueberries again.  It just means it wasn't the right time for you to have them right now.

This leaves you will two choices.

1.  Retrace your steps to find the mess of blueberries in your past.


2. Take steps towards the fruit in your future.

Because it seems pretty apparent to me that opportunities--and blueberries--aren't lengthy visitors.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Sign of Social Graces

aka It Never Would Have Worked Out Anyway.

Oz is going through some health issues.  And rather than start dating the girl who knows a thing or two about health issues and how to lighten the mood, he decided to recover solo.  (Either option is respectable, I just happen to prefer option number one.)

In the mean time, I pursued an unexcitable yet enjoyable fellow from one of my classes (mistake #1).  Until his phone broke. Or was stolen. Or probably something not exciting nor enjoyable.  For those wondering, he wasn't merely avoiding me and missing my calls.  The phone was off; it never rang.  Straight to voicemail.  For over a week long.

But being rather bold and brassy, and not wanting to let the start of something good just fall away due to technological difficulties, I sent him a quick email (mistake #2).  The email itself was rather neutral.  And without a second thought I hit send.  But I sent it through my university's web-interface.  Which in turn and despite several checks to make sure everything was in order, sent it to the entire class.

Yep. Horrified. I felt a lot like that little guy on the sign. 

Until I realized that it could have been worse.  And that I have done worse.

I have run into a stop sign on my bicycle. That landed me in crutches and a leg brace for a few weeks.  During that time everyone came up and asked, "How did that happen?!" And I had to admit that I hit a stop sign. On my bike.

That was a nightmare and a grounds for mild social mocking.

So my email mishap is mild compared to bicycling.  At least the email will blow over in less than a week due to college students' short attention spans in conjunction with the start of a new quarter on Monday.

So if I don't hear from him, it is a sign that it never would have worked out anyway.  And I definitely need someone brave enough to handle my [lack of] social graces.  Maybe someone who hit a barn while riding a horse?

Oh, and maybe it is a sign I should try harder for Oz....

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Non-linear Sign

"You need to figure out what it is you want to do. You just have to."
My friend insisted, and told me that I need to focus on one thing.
"You don't have a path El.  You just aren't linear."

And believe it or not, that really hurt. And then I got frustrated.
So here is my response, for all to see.

I don't want to be linear. I don't want to be defined by data points coexisting in a line-like pattern.  I don't want someone to be able to look at me and think they have the full story. I don't ever want to discredit the signs and the events that are the "statistical outliers"of my life.  They happened for a reason. And who I am to discredit the improbable and the signs?

Further more, the most powerful forces of our universe aren't linear.  Sound WAVES...Light WAVES...Heat WAVES. Even water comes in waves (although I don't think that last one counts).

Are cosmic forces not enough proof for you that linear lifestyles aren't necessarily superior?

Fine. Then look at your heart.  Ever watch a heart monitor? The beat comes in waves.  If your heart decides to go linear, you flat-line. You quite literally cease to exist. And why on earth would you want to cease to exist?

So I will take my circus work.  My change in degrees, three times and counting.  My new experiences. My wavy mind and beating heart.  I do have a strong focus on my end goals.  But I will never avoid the journey it takes to get there.

And I will never be linear.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sign of Can

I was recently reminded how much we say no.
No you can't have that cookie.
No you can't be a ballerina.
No you can't set off that firework.

And then there are the hidden no's, in the form of shouldn't.
No you shouldn't get a puppy.
No you shouldn't wear your hair like that.
No you shouldn't believe that.

And they are always followed by the worst and weakest of reasons, like: it's too fattening, too hard, too dangerous, too expensive, too silly.


And for far TOO LONG we have quietly agreed.  Put back the cookie. Put down the firecracker. Cut our losses and walk away.

But today is different. Because guess what? YOU CAN. If you want to. YOU CAN. So go do it.

They don't know how strong or capable you really are.
(Do you even know?)

It is time to test your limits.  Time to know you can. You should.  And once you get going, more people understand than not.

So here is a whole slew of gold stars for you, because you CAN!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Your Own Sign

Driving home from a particularly irritating circus gig, I saw a sign.

No, literally. I saw a woman holding a sign. It was bright pink.  I was intrigued.  Hand-written in sharpie marker, I struggled to read the words.  Then I saw them. Three awe-inspiring words:
Girl Scout Cookies.
I whipped in that parking lot. I searched my car for $3.50.  I ate half a sleeve before I even got home (I know, and yes, I am). Thin Mints, in case you were wondering.  Has anyone else noted that they are not actually "thin" nor do they keep you thin, and that they are more chocolate than mint?  But I suppose the name "Chubby Chocolates" would really put a dent in cookie sales.

But I digress. 

The point is, sometimes we have to make our own signs.  We have to grab brightly colored paper, thick sharpie markers and write our message for the world to see.  Whether this is a service we can offer or a need to be fulfilled.  Whether is just a statement to be heard or noticed by anybody.  Write your own sign. Kind of like living your own truth, but better. 
my sign! 
Because by writing your own sign, you are stacking the deck.  And every now and then, why shouldn't you?  Our magicians with the circus get paid to do it.  And for them, it works out just fine.  Even magically for you spectators. 

So gather your supplies. Write your own sign.You never know who will be attracted to you because of it. Dare to say the magic words.  And stack the deck. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sign of Hope--To Be

As you may, or may not, recall one of my many talents- courtesy of one of my jobs- happens to be palm reading.While I dare not guess about your future, I can tell you all sorts of things about who you are, how you think, what is new in your life, etc.

Having done a lot of palming reading lately, I have discovered a sign. And I am sure it is rather obvious, once stated, but please stick with me here.

Everyone wants to have a sign of Hope.  Whether you are poor, rich, young, old, or extraterrestrial.   And everyone wants a sign of Hope.  Some people hope to be remembered.  Others hope for a chance.

I hope to be the change I wish to see in the world.

So I end each reading with Hope.  I save the best, most positive uplifting thing I read in the hand for the very last words that I say.  The words may flow from my mouth, but they fall into the open hand that I am holding. Hope, in your hands.  The next step is yours.

But honestly, I do it for myself.  I leave the hope in your hands as a sign for me, of Hope-to Be.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Because A Wish Can Be A Sign Too

Everybody has had at least one storybook kiss.

So in honor of Valentine’s Day, here is a sign and my kiss.

It was an evening wedding in October. It was the first time I ever saw my then-boyfriend in a tux. He thought he looked hot. I rolled my eyes at him every time he looked at me. But I thought he looked good too.

The night wind rolled up the vineyard and through the open doors of the reception. We held hands and wandered onto the patio. Just to talk. Just to hold hands. Just to be so enamored with love and each other and the night and the air and the wine…

Then came that moment when all went suddenly still. He leaned in and kissed me, and I swear he kissed me straight to my heart.

Are you ready for the magical moment?

When I opened my eyes, I saw a shooting star.
Right there across the velvet sky.
I gasped and he pulled me closer.
“Did you see it?”
“Can you believe it?”
And two more stars shot across the October sky.
“It is a sign,” I whispered.
“Make a wish,” he insisted as he kissed me.  It was poetry.
As W. H. Auden wrote:

How would we like it were the stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If unequal affections must be,
Let the more loving one be me.

While my wish from that night hasn’t come true yet, I did learn a few things. I learned I have the capacity to be the more loving one and to love a more loving one. I learned I am worthy of storybook kisses. I learned to look to the stars for signs. Because they are always there.

And one day I will make them fall again.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Sign I Could Have Passed Chemistry

Oz was online last night. (Remember him, from The Yellow Brick Road, part I.) In case you were absolutely dying to know, I have not progressed any further with him. But I have ruby slippers, flying monkeys, and time on my side, right?

Anyway he was updating a status, claiming (and this may be a direct quote) that "I'm a little stopped up at the moment--no, not what you're thinking--but in the sense of work, school, projects. With chaos eventually comes order."

And being witty and enamored, I couldn't help but correct him. Because in fact, with order comes chaos.

I know this because I failed the third installment of what evil scientists call chemistry. This segment of chemistry contained entropy, which does in fact prove that the more orderly something is, the faster it succumbs to chaos. Which is really fascinating and a great argument for children to not clean their rooms, or for me to not organize my clothes drawers--it is out of self preservation, people!

That installment of chemistry dealt with a lot of math and other abstract ideas relating to thermodynamics (dark matter, enthalpy, fractions) that were fun to talk about but awful to test on.

Which might I add, makes perfect sense. The harder my professor tried to organize and simplify these concepts for me, the faster they disintegrated in my brain. Entropy in action, my friends.

So here we have scientific proof that nothing in life is neat and orderly and simple. So why on earth should I expect love to be??

A sign I could have passed chemistry.

It is also a sign from the Universe saying, "You'll be okay kid. Just follow the Yellow Brick Road and who knows who you'll have chemistry with along the way."

A Sign From Einstein

Today I went back to my high school for the first time since I graduated.  I had some paperwork to drop off for my brother.  I remembered how much of a giant I felt like by the time I graduated- I felt like I had grown too big for the school, the city, too big for everything.  Today I didn't feel very big at all.

If you are anything like me, you tend to believe in the theories left behind by Einstein.  He had this famous theory of general relativity. If you wikipedia it, you will read something about mass-energy, differential equations, and other strange combinations of letters. If you are like me again, you believe that Einstein's main goal in life was to inspire others to think on their own.

I am inspired to interpret his theory along the lines of the title. 


Everything is relative.

I felt so small today, because when I graduated I was certain that by the age I am now I would have ______ (more? a west coast home? a degree in biology? To be honest, I am not really sure).  Compared to my best friend, who is living in Arizona, on his way to a high paying degree, is in the Honors Program, will graduate on time...compared to him I haven't done too much. But everything is relative.  And in theory, this relative concept of time puts us where we need to be when we need to be there.

In a fantasy inspired by Albert Einstein, I imagined myself sitting on the marble steps of my high school, talking with my high-school-self.  I wouldn't bother to ask her how she was doing, because we both know I would already know that answer. But if I got the chance to tell my high-school-self anything, I think I would tell her to not discredit the opportunities and challenges she will rise to meet in pursuit of her plans. 

And when she got done processing that, she would look at me and ask, "How are we doing?"

And I could honestly answer, "Relatively okay."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sign of Love

After a couple of long nights up with my mom, who is newly recovering from her knee replacement surgery, my dog Mayzie and I are tired. Pooped.  But both of us know that staying up with her late at night is exactly where we need to be and we are happy to do it. 

Mayzie's unfailing call to duty and unconditional love is more than that of a dog. 

She displays the simplest and purest of loves. And that love forces me to realize something.

When we first got her as a little puppy, I was an excited grade schooler, ready to have the perfect golden retriever puppy. Because then she would turn into the perfect dog.  She would never get sick or misbehave or make me mad. She would be perfect.

But here she is, nine years later.

And she is far from perfect.  She has calluses on her rear.  She has bad breath.  She is very lumpy.  She sometimes smells funny. She likes to chew apart stuffed toys.  She has a very short attention span.

And because of all of that, because of the countless late nights and imperfect moments, she has become the perfect dog.  And she has inspired the best of loves within me.

I love her, lumps bumps burps and all.

So while my mom is recovering from her knee surgery, Mayzie and I are going to be patient.  We are going to be helpful. And we are going to remind her that we love her, swollen lumps late nights and many ice packs later.

It is more than a sign of family. It is a sign of love.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Be careful walking on coals the wise man said. People have been known to occasionally get their toes burnt.
courtesy of

Oh you mysterious wise men. I probably should have listened to you sooner. 

See, there is an incorrect implied meaning here.  People normally take this quote to mean that sooner or later you will slip up and get hurt when you are doing something dangerous.

But let me introduce a new perspective. This isn't about the people who are doing the "dangerous" act.  It is about those watching.  See, the by-standers don't like it when the status quo interrupted. Things must be as they always are, they insist. 

Then they see those brave enough to walk on coals or swallow fire (literally or metaphorically) and something must be done to dissuade others.  What if everyone walked around with that kind of bravery or confidence?!

Be careful walking on coals, because occasionally people have been known to get pushed, assaulted, criticized, or worse.

Be careful.

But the funny thing is, the longer you stay down on those coals, the more your toes get burnt.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The One

So there I was, again. Pretending to not be in a miserable relationship with fibromyalgia.  I set out on a mission for bad news, bad signs, anything that could justify how I felt.

But that is the funny thing about signs. If we really pay attention, we would notice they can defy us more often than not.

I found that sign, The One.  Don't be fooled by the name, that sign isn't the end-all be-all of signs.  But it is of the breed of sign known as The One.

This sign sneaks up on us. We are on a mission for something else, or like me, for ominous signs. We are moments away from what we think we supposed to be achieving. The sign itself tends to be neutral in news and stature.

But the effects. Hang on to your hats! My sign was regarding graduation.  I thought the advisor would look down at me from horn rimmed glasses, sigh slightly, and declare, "You won't be able to graduate for three more years at least, courtesy of your change of major."

But that wasn't the news. I would be finished with my I am required to take relatively soon.  And I would have enough credits left to fill a major. And become a research assistant. Maybe even do an independent study and research. Possibly get hired by my school. Be able to join the Equestrian Club-because I can. Learn Italian--because I have to take a language anyway. Did I mention mastering the GRE, and getting into my dream grad school? But that is further down the line. Who knows what can happen in two years, if I take every possible opportunity infront of me and pursue some that aren't readily at my feet?

It was The One. The one which hope and possibility fill you to the brim.  You see the chances you have and you don't know exactly where you will go, but you are going. The One.

May your One sign find always find you. Just be open to it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sign of Choices

I have played the flute for over a decade.  It is the fastest way for me to completely lose myself in something. 

This past year I joined the Symphony Orchestra with my college.  It has been such an enlightening experience. I find myself surrounded by strangers, connected through sound and energy that cannot be seen.

And my favorite part of rehearsal is tuning.  It is the start of the music, the first movement of sound.  The hairs literally stand up on my arms. The sound surrounds the orchestra like a wave, leaving no one untouched, no one unaffected. It fills each of us, spilling over to our own sound, adding to the wave, to the anticipation of what could be.

Our conductor was giving pointers to the violins.

"Play it beautifully."

It is our choice to listen to the music, to drink it in, the share in the invisible movement of sound. Tune yourself in to the waves around you. 

Play it beautifully.

Sometimes the music isn't airy or light.  Sometimes it is sad, but it is meant to be sad. Still.

Play it beautifully.

It is our choice to partake. Our sound to add. Beautifully.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Things I don't Believe in (II)

Don't let some idea about yourself keep you from happiness,  read my horoscope.  It sounds like a no-brainer.  But it means so much more. 

And it ties in perfectly with two more things I don't believe in. 

First, there is the overused word 'awkward.'  I don't believe there are too many things that qualify for awkward outside of a grammatical sense (or it's own spelling awkward- ironic). As soon as you succomb to 'awkward,' suddenly you and everything around feels that way, and awkward gets on everything. So I don't believe in awkward. It is only awkward if you are awkward, and then everything is awkward.

The second thing I don't believe in, (same church different pew) is boring. People will exclaim, "I am so BORED!" When in reality if you are bored, you are boring.  I am never bored. I don't believe in it. Why bother being bored, and for that matter, boring?!

When I told a good friend of mine, she laughed and called me precious.  And then she thought about it for a minute, and decided that she doesn't believe in 'sucking.'

Be careful with the words you use, they can easily be applied to you.  Once applied, they might keep you from being happy.  Don't let some idea about yourself keep you from happiness...wise words from the universe.