Friday, February 19, 2010

Trip Crazy

I recently came across a funny, interesting and creative traveling website called Nowhere Magazine where just a few people write about their travel experiences.  Many of them seem very food-focused, so my interests couldn’t be more cleanly met.  Food & Travel.  If I didn’t have such a need to be creative (“too creative” some might say), that’s exactly what I would call any travel blog/magazine that I created.  Too apt.  

Anyway, perusing this site made me crave more travel (and food, but that’s a different entry) and highlighted how little traveling I’ve done over the past few years.  I used to travel abroad and domestically every few months it seemed.  Now, hardly at all.  Granted, most of my time over the past six years has been wholly consumed with being a mom, wife, lawyer, good doobie, poor, etc. but that’s really no excuse.  Well, except the being “poor” part.  That tends to put a wrinkle in any well-laid travel plans.  Nevertheless, I really want to do more traveling in the coming years.  Good friends that MMoon and I adore are actually willing (well, at least until they get to know us better) to travel with us – hopefully to Italy where we will share a villa, food, wine, art and history.  So, my plan for 2010 and beyond is to find a way to get around more (in a travel-sense of course, as I’ve already done my “getting around” in other senses. [badumpbump]).  

Leave a comment and tell me your travel hopes, dreams, stories.  I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Whole Lot of Shouting and Murmuring

If you don't read Shouts and Murmurs in The New Yorker, you should.  The articles are simply brilliant.

Here are The Best of Shouts and Murmurs (via The Rumpus) from the past year.  Enjoy!

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chock Full O' Fail

In typical fashion, I dashed off a quick piece for entry into the Flash Fiction Chronicles String-of-10 Contest but then totally blew it. 

The String-of-10 Contest is when the editors provide a string of ten words (the Prompts in this case were: SURVIVAL-SKIMMILK*-LOLLYGAG-CRYPTIC-ONLOOKER-LEAK-RAW-FORBIDDEN-RADIO-VERDIGRIS) and an aphorism (Quotation A person usually has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason. –Thomas Carlyle) and the author is to provide seamless integration of any four of the prompt words and utilization of the aphorism as an additional source of inspiration (if desired) in no more than 250 words.  

Well, I put a quick piece together, shopped it by my Dedicated Reader and then promptly failed to submit it timely.    *Sigh*   Alas, at least I put something on paper.   So, my Dear Blog Reader, I give you my forgotten piece.   
Johanne, aware enough to know that in a different world, one that existed a week ago, she was doing the unforgivable.  In that other world where food was at least available if not necessarily bountiful, just having these thoughts was forbidden.  But now, all bets were off, as Renaud used to say.  He’s gone now.  Dead under the rubble of their collapsed home.  The constant struggle against poverty and repression Johanne’s alone to fight.  Her motivations weren’t cryptic or apologetic.  She was in survival mode. 
Peering into the rubble, water leaking through the corrugated verdigris-colored roof and collecting in pools at her feet, she saw a hand clutching a filthy bag containing two small cans of skim-milk.  Not much but to Johanne – a veritable feast.  She hadn't eaten for four days and that was a dirty half-sandwich taken from someone long dead. 
Johanne, careful to keep a watchful eye out for onlookers, tugged the bag and felt a corresponding pull.  Nerves frayed RAW, she screamed and fell back. 
"THANKGODTHANKGODTHANKGOD," a tear-filled whisper filtered up through the dust and the dark.  Without thinking, Johanne grabbed the bag and ran.  In the pounding of her heart, her bare feet slapping a syncopated rhythm against the buckled street, she heard that merged prayer, Thank…God…Thank…God….  She slowed to a jog and then a walk. 
With a choked breath, Johanne turned and ran back to the remains of the store.  With a brief caress of that solitary hand, she began to dig. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Being There

Valentine’s Day always makes me wonder what other people's most significant "Be There Moment” is.  The moment I fell head over heels in love with my (eventual) husband was my most important one.  

I imagine everyone's had a Be There Moment. 

The Hail Mary is thrown, you run your ass off to get to the ball, close your eyes and reach out your hands with a simple prayer, “Be there.”  And it is.  

You get to the bank/store/airport and can’t find your check/wallet/tickets/passport.  You wrack your brain wondering where in the hell it could be, run back to your car/locker/apartment and just pray, “Please be there,” and it is.  They go on and on.

Mine was Super Bowl Sunday 1994, a little after midnight.  A soft tap on my dorm room door.  “Be there,” I prayed.  And he was.  Happy Valentines Day Moon. I’d do it all over again.   

Wishing everyone a lovely V-Day Weekend with someone they love.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Choked with Wordlessness

I realize that I need to blog everyday.  That is going to be a very good thing for me.  Flexing those perpetually atrophying writing muscles.  It will, however, not be a good thing for you, Dear Reader.  For instance, today's post is going to be crap.  Crap because my new-found resolve for writing that came upon me like a midnight clear after the big yoga/writing retreat, has been stabbed in it's heart with a sharp shard of ennui.

I haven't found anything of late worth remarking upon.  I have lost my that burning need I once had to write down all my thoughts for ... reasons I now can't even remember.  Nevertheless, my need to write something - anything - must outweigh your need to be even remotely entertained.

So, with that, I say thank you for clicking in today and wading through the dregs of the rusty and dented hazardous waste drum of my mind.

Please come back again though as my hope is that there will be more here than this asshattery when you return.

If happiness was currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

Creating. In all it's many glorious forms. Writing, building, planting, teaching (creating a love for something newly learned in children).

Ask me anything

Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?

As much as I would regret losing the memory of the birth of my son, my wedding, my husband, and all of the rotten things I've done in my life, if I truly followed the path of living completely in the now, then emptying the "vessel" to experience more life and live it to the fullest, those past memories shouldn't seem so important.

Ask me anything

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

I don't know that it's as much a fear of making the mistake as it is of having to pay for the mistake. in whatever form that takes (e.g., humiliation, aggravation, harm to yourself or others).

Ask me anything

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

If, like on a computer, you could go back to a "restore point" to redo some things...would you? If so, where would you go?

I often think that if I had a "way back machine" I would absolutely go back in time to "fix" things that went wrong in my life. But then, I realize where do you stop? And would I know then what I know now? I always come to the same conclusion in the end: who I am has everything to do with what I've done and been through. Who's to say if I changed ONE thing that EVERYTHING thereafter wouldn't be changed? No, just too risky.

Ask me anything

What mistake or error in judgment in your life do you think, when the dust settled, provided the best opportunity to learn and grow?

Ah, so many. The first very memorable mistake from which I've learned a great deal was when I was 13. I gave, in a very public forum, to an ex-friend who betrayed my trust and caused me no small amount of grief, a beautifully wrapped can of dog food. The look on her face both before (gratitude for what she thought was forgiveness) and after (horror and humiliation) she opened the package is something I'll never forget. I have searched for her lo these many years in the hopes of absolution. It showed me what I truly am capable of when pushed but also has kept me from holding any gruges and seeking vengeance knowing how destructive it is to both victim and vigilante.

Ask me anything

Monday, February 01, 2010

Ask me anything

How do you "choose" life without a "choice"?

I don't know Tim Tebow or his mother Pam.  I've only recently learned that Tim is a Heisman Trophy winner and, like other members of his family, a Christian Fundamentalist.  And now I've learned that during a CBS Super Bowl commercial, Tim and his mom will sit side-by-side and discuss the ordeal she went through during her pregnancy with Tim and why she is "pro-life."  The prescribed moral of the story: Choose life.

I am pro-choice. 

I don't have an opinion one way or the other on Pam Tebow's religious choices to continue with a risky pregnancy after doctors told her the fetus was damaged.  Apparently, as a missionary in the Phillippines having contracted amoebic dysentery, she was diagnosed with placental abruption, a premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. The doctors predicted a stillbirth and recommended abortion.  But Pam was against abortion, she had faith in God and she refused.  That sounds like a terrible ordeal and a very courageous decision.  Although I am happy that because of her faith-based choice (and some medical science thrown in there), Pam gave birth to a healthy boy and all was well; I am happier that she had the choice to make. 

What makes me unhappy about the story, and many similar stories shared by "pro-lifers," is the omission of the very salient fact that these women like Pam Tebow, HAD A CHOICE.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

I have really bad knees.  Weak, damaged knees that aren't particularly adept at quick lateral zigzags. I hurt my left knee as an early teen surfing in So. Cal. and then proceeded to do continued damage to both knees over the years in various athletic (and some not so athletic) endeavors. So, 41 years in I walk more like an 81 year old. A friend told me about a joint gel called Jointritis (or something like that) to ease pain and swelling of … joints of course. Anyhoo, I go to CVS for this product only to find a plethora of joint-healing potions and elixirs, but nothing called Jointritis. However, what they did have was a balm called Zostrix® a high potency analgesic cream for arthritic pain. Perfect.

Once at home, I put the stuff on and all appears well. I go to work, come home feeling pretty good. Before bed and according to instruction, I apply the cream again taking extra pains to “spread a thin layer and rub it in well.” The instructions are very clear: DO NOT apply heat after application of ointment. DO NOT wrap affected area after application. Okay, no wrapping. No heating. No worries. All is good and I go to bed.  At 2:00 a.m., I awake in a haze trying to decide whether to grab my shoes before getting my son and running out into the snow before my home is engulfed in flames. Why, in my hallucinatory state, did I think my house was on fire? Because my legs were AFLAME! Flaming legs equals flaming house, right?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Don't Know Much About . . .

When I truly started to think about becoming a Writer, note the capital letter, I was in high school.  I had gained the insight that a Writer was actually paid to write things.  Nevertheless, it still hadn't dawned on me then that I could be paid to write.  Not like a REAL Writer.  But still, I wanted to be part of the exalted ranks of those who wrote things that other people read.  Willingly.  To me, however, a real writer wrote prose.  Not poetry.  There was no reasonable basis for this conclusion; I had not read enough poetry to have a valid conclusion of any kind.  But in my mind, prose and poetry were such different modes of creating a vision, of sharing a voice; one that I understood and one that I didn't.  When I read poetry, any poetry, I often thought, this is some inaccessibly esoteric rambling that just doesn't speak to me.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  I just hadn't read enough poetry.

Below are two pieces of writing.  One prose.  One poetry.   

Prose version:

A woman stands on a mountain top with the cold seeping into her body. She looks on the valley below as the wind whips around her. She cannot leave to go to the peaceful beauty below. In the valley, the sun shines from behind the clouds causing flowers to bloom. A breeze sends quivers through the leaves of trees. The water gurgles in a brook. All the woman can do is cry.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I and Love and You

The bane of blatant honesty with your very inquisitive young child is that you will then have to have these kinds of conversations for so much longer.  Maybe I should have opted for the "You were found in a cabbage patch" responses until he was 10 or so.

"Mommy, how much love do I have to make for a baby brother?"

"Say again?"

"You said you have to make the love to have a baby. I’ve been making lots of love and don’t have one yet."

"And how have you been doing that?"

"I made a bunch of hearts and flowers and stars, and even one of me, you and Daddy holding hands. It’s not working. Is it not enough love?"

"Honey you have all the love you’ll ever need.  But to have a baby brother, it’s mommy and daddy who have to make THE love."

"Oh. Well, I’ve got LOTS of crayons. Can YOU try?"

Monday, January 04, 2010

Meatless Monday

Well, I've done it.  I've decided my love of the red and white meat has been outweighed by my love of a gastric-pain free existence.  Since I had my son I have suffered from debillitating heartburn unless I take a pill each morning.  Wouldn't seem like a big deal but boy, when I forget that pill, even if I'm not suffering at all, it affects my entire day.  I worry constantly, "is the acid about to burn through my chest now?  How about . . .  now?"  It's awful.  Many friends (not doctors) and several doctors (presumed to be doctors since they wear those shiny stetho-thingies) have said I might be able to manage my stomach ailments just through diet.  Granted, this change is fairly drastic given my love of meat.  I love meat. As in love. As in, sometimes I have daydreams about it.  But I think this will be a good thing for me in the long run. 

Most importantly though, I can't go off half-cocked about this.  I need to make pains to ensure I've supplemented for all the valuable nutrients I will lose by not eating meat.  Being a self-(but I think fairly accurately) diagnosed hypoglycemic, I know I can't just omit meat and then not plug something in as a significant substitute.  So, I'm going to seek some help.  Otherwise I'm likely to be back here next week talking about my gluttonous consumption of an entire standing rib roast.   Mmmmm, delicious medium rare prime rib roast.  Yeah, this is going to be more difficult than possibly anything I've ever done.

At least I'm not giving up cheese.  That would kill me.
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