Tuesday, December 31, 2013

above myself

Before a holiday even begins I am already compiling a list of things to do.  The list begins in my head and then gradually sneaks into my floral notebook, turning into a smattering of words in various colors of ink.  Soon that page is ripped from the notebook and copied carefully onto a new page.  As soon as I jolt awake and my eyes open on the day of the holiday I scramble for the notebook, flip to the current list and set out to cross off the items.  I feel as if I am taking the ropes that constrain my inner harmony, piece by piece, and lassoing my list, until it is firmly reigned in.  I then proceed to ferociously crumple it and toss it into the wastebasket.  I should probably admit that I do this on any day that I have off from the library and holidays are no exception. 

But yet holidays are an exception.  I still create the list and wake with the normal zest to tackle it.  But as the day creeps along the list is eventually abandoned. 

My family has always celebrated Christmas even though I was raised to believe in many Gods, the greatest being a healthy reverence for life.  I guess I view Jesus as just one of many sacred threads that comprise a hacky sack full of the abundant plastic beads of wonder.  Or something like this.  I change my views a little every day.

While we have always celebrated Christmas, my family hasn’t always put any particular God first on this day.  Christmas has always been about family.  And while I still firmly believe this I abandon it every year because of my to-do list.  Only at the very end of the day do I realize something is amiss.  Fortunately what I lose during the holiday is never far away and always ready when I get over my ding-dong foolishness. 

This year I woke up with my list, but before I could even get started on it Robert’s mom, Audrey called with an emergency.  Her roof was leaking.  We had just received about 3 inches of snow, and because it was warmish (a whopping 30 degrees) the snow was melting.  Audrey hadn’t cleaned her gutters in awhile and they had turned into solid blocks of ice and leaves.  It was decided that her gutters needed to be cleaned out immediately.  So Robert and I crawled onto the roof and got to work.  We hosed down the gutters with warm water and knocked the ice and leaves loose.  This took time, effort and humor.  Because we were up so high I could see most of our neighborhood.  There was something grand and singular about being on top of the world, watching loved ones arrive at the houses below – their excited yet careful walk to the back of the car as they threw open the doors and piled themselves high with glittering boxes.  One gentleman wearing a Santa hat opened the back door of his car and with a few bobbles of his Santa pompom, reached in and flung a sleepy toddler over his shoulder like she was nothing but a wisp of air dressed in jammys.  Another gentleman pulled a crock-pot and a tinfoil wrapped mystery from his trunk.  It was simply magical.  As Robert and I slid around on the icy roof and tried not to giggle ourselves to an early death it occurred to me that this year I wouldn’t have any regrets.  I had climbed above my to-do list, and more importantly, above myself. 

After the eerily peaceful gutter-cleaning excursion I was ready for a relaxing bath before spending the rest of the day playing cards with Robert and Audrey.  As I was slipping into the tub my mother facetimed me.  Robert threw me a shirt and my phone and left to secure some grub and tidy up before Audrey arrived.  Before I could tell my mom that I needed to get out of the tub she proceeded to pass around the phone to everyone at her Christmas party.  It was pointed out immediately that there were some underthings hanging behind me.  Of course there were because there is a rule that states that if you get facetimed in the tub it will be after you hang your brassieres up to dry.  No worries though, once everyone got to see me in the tub I was able to hang up, put some clothes on and call them back.  And what a delightful facetiming experience!  I watched them open packages and goof around, and for a moment I was there, completely consumed in their celebration.  As I said my goodbyes and shuffled back into Kansas in my fruity tooty socks and freshly- washed brassiere, I couldn’t help but hear the laughter trailing behind me, laughter that continued late into the evening. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Laughter Yoga

I must share my latest review with you.

When I stumbled upon Laughter Bank Volume 1 at the library I was deeply intrigued.  I had never heard of laughter yoga before watching this video, and had never tried any laughter exercises.

I should tell you that when I sat down to watch the DVD I was eating soup.  Like most others I tend to multi-task and because I have simultaneously eaten and laughed before I thought I would have no problem eating soup and practicing laughter exercises. 

I was wrong.

As soon as Dr. Kataria demonstrated the first laughter exercise - Namaste Heeheehee, I nearly lost all of my soup via my nose.  Lesson learned – I abandoned my soup.  

Before the DVD begins there is a Precaution that warns people to see a doctor before attempting any of the laughter exercises.  I had a good little chuckle while reading the Precaution.  But as the movie progressed I understood the importance of the Precaution.  One of the exercises, Swinging Laughter, proves to be quite strenuous.  Somewhere between a cuddling party and square dancing, it involves a lot of arm movement that can be quite aerobic.  Even the instructor flirted with peril as he flung himself into some camera equipment while attempting this exercise.  Contrary to its name the One Centimeter exercise also proves to be somewhat taxing as it entails movement that could be better measured in yards.  So please make sure that you read the Precaution before attempting any laughter exercises.

You will also need to be completely alone while you attempt the laughter exercises for the first time.  You will need the can-do attitude of Richard Simmons and comfortable clothes and nothing fragile nearby.  With the Funny Laughter exercise you will need to forget everything that your grandmother taught you about ignoring bodily noises.  If you cannot master the Spring Doll exercise you should pretend that you are on a pogo stick with a full bladder.  And if you feel angry for a moment when you see that Dr. Kataria has stolen your best dance moves in the Ice Cube Down Your Back exercise (A.K.A. the Shriek and Leap dance) remember that this is yoga and anger is only going to clog up all the cleared passages you have worked so hard to laugh clean.

You may think I am making light of a very serious and advantageous type of therapy, and you are absolutely right.  The first time I watched the DVD I giggled and howled my way through every exercise without really taking them seriously.

But then I watched the exercises again, and I can honestly say that there may be something special about laughter yoga.  I could see myself in the faces of the people who opened up and let the laughter out.  Like the folks in laughter yoga, I share the same open yet hesitant enthusiasm for alternative healing.  Alternative medicine has always appealed to me so long as it is noninvasive and rooted in positivity.  I am also a huge supporter of anything that brings people together.  Laughter yoga has the potential to heal and encourage healthy relationships.  So yes, I may poke a little fun at laughter yoga, but it’s a funny way to exercise and it encourages laughter in multiple ways.    

If everyone around you is in a slump and their lips are starting to drift into frowns you can try out one of your laughter exercises.  You can also ask them to join you.  They may surprise you by lifting their arms and laughing manically as they dance towards you, ready for anything, even the bizarrely comforting Double Handshake exercise. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

just a dab of you don't say

It has been a peaceful weekend.  Robert made an interesting porridge with flaxseed and peanut butter.

I started several books (a little bit of haha mixed with ah ha and just a dab of you don't say)

We did a little bit of hiking at Wyandotte Lake Park

And today I did a bit of embroidery, which is still a secret.  I also took a short walk with the girls.  The temperatures have plummeted from the low sixties this morning to the current 30s.  The wind has picked up and the leaves are damp from the rain that is hesitantly falling.  Looks like it's time to pull my rocking chair close to the fire with one of the books I am reading or my embroidery and let the memories of the weekend flutter and pop in the illuminated stillness.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

every once in awhile. . .

messengers from the vast beyond bring me conflicting revelations.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

do you remember

While looking through pictures today I stumbled across this:

Oh darling mother, do you remember all the times we have spent at Powell Gardens?  I can remember clearly your mad darting from flower to bug to statue as you frantically tried to see everything.  I recall all the giggling too as we talked about all the things that were only important to us.  But I also remember how quiet and calm those days were, with only the sound of the wind jostling our conversation.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


A few flower pictures for you:

I took this one while hiking a nearby neighborhood with my mother.

The Balloon Plant:

And did I mention that Robert and I went to Salt Lake City a few weeks ago?  While we were there we hiked to an abandoned mine in a tiny storm.  It was magical.  These next two flowers were from that hike.


What I believe is a bit of coneflower:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


recent gifts I received while riding my bike:

* (a Saturday): the heron was hanging out in a different spot this morning - in the creek beneath the bridge.  He was so close I could see him swallowing, or perhaps I saw the fish moving inside his throat.

* (a Thursday): I saw the heron in the new spot again this morning.  Also, I spotted a perfectly wrapped and untouched burger from McDonalds lying on the sidewalk.  Even the sticker hadn't been touched.  Three McDonalds were close by, sure, but all were at least a mile away.  What a bizarre little piece of art!

* (a Friday): I spotted a leaf that looked exactly like a smug toad.

* And finally, yesterday as I took off it occurred to me for the first time since last winter that I desperately needed my fleece headband.  The air had a chill to it that was pushy and sharp.  Turns out that the day before yesterday was the first day of fall.  Simply magical!

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Found in a library book:

A picture of a quote that turned out to be more than just a quote.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

just mere inches

It was only 7 AM, but I was having an off day.  I jumped on my bike and my legs immediately started cramping and balking.

After changing in the tight bathroom of a fast food restaurant my clothes refused to do anything but cling to me in all the wrong ways.  My poor quadriceps felt like they were being attacked by my jeans.  Somehow in the process of trying to stretch the pants to accommodate my aching muscles I managed to knock my pack on the floor.  And of course it was open.  Mascara and perfume and journals and books went flying everywhere.  I spent the next several minutes wiping everything off with my expensive face wipes because I had nothing else.

I was in a very grumpy whiny mood.  I ate a little breakfast before hopping on my bike for the last little jaunt to work, and as I growled with clenched teeth and hands and heart a falcon came from behind and flew just mere inches above my head.  And as he flew away he took the bad morning with him, leaving only the rasping thuwp thuwp sound of his wings.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

doggie day at the pool

Fall is almost here.  Time for cool air, soft rains and windows open wide.

Just recently we went to doggie day at the pool.  There are a few pools around here that let dogs have a little fun before they are drained and covered.  Rose spent most of the time meditating in the kiddie pool.  

Meanwhile, Ella and Robert played ball in the serious pool.  The local paper took this lovely shot of my thug muffin, aka Ella.   

Sunday, August 11, 2013


A sunrise from a few days ago

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

a gregarious pandemonium of parrots

This morning, while taking a stroll with Ella and Rose, I saw two kiddos, probably 4 and 2 years old.  I said good morning.  The older girl replied with a good morning, and the younger girl, who was standing behind her sister, pulled the pacifier out of her mouth and said HI while waving enthusiastically.

It took every bit of my small reserve of stoicism (which closely compares to that of a gregarious pandemonium of parrots) to very calmly say hi followed by a slightly exuberant wave.

I am completely aware that my eagerness and enthusiasm has the tendency to scare the peewaddins out of cats and children, but today I overcame that enthusiasm.  Well, at least until I turned the corner.  Then I did a little dance because they were just so STINKIN' CUTE, and they said good morning to me.

Towards the end of our walk I noticed several kids in funny hats setting up a table in front of a house.  LEMONADE!  Then the strangest thing happened.  The parents brought out a giant stack of white boxes and placed them on the table.  Huh?  That's when I noticed what the hats said.

Krispy Kremes.

The kids were setting up a Krispy Kreme stand.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

but I don't blame them

A little James Blake for you

I Never  Learnt To Share

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Modern Book of Stretching

Do you feel like your stretches are antiquated?

Does the struggle to touch your toes bore you?

Do you spend most of your time preening your pretend ostrich feathers as you bumble around on stilts?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then I have the book for you!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

aliens and poltergeists part II

So you know those aliens that tried to communicate with me via edamame?

Today they attempted further communication.  This time they came through the sticky label printer at work.  How do I know that aliens are behind this?  Easy, I don’t understand what happened.  The printer delivered a perfect label both before and after the message.

Their message, while not entirely clear, is this:

I think this is code for we have captured all your letters and numbers and in no time will be learning how to put them together so that we can give you a better message.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

experience without reflection is only half of what it can be

In the same week I read both an interview with John O’Donohue in The Sun and one of his poems in an anthology.  I was incredibly inspired and set out to find everything he ever wrote.  It turns out that he wrote a lot.  In my quest to read and absorb every little word that he ever wrote down, I happened upon what I feel is my greatest find since stumbling upon Sand and Foam by Kahlil Gibran in a flea market back in 2002. 

My find is an audiobook, but I plan on acquiring the book as well.  

The audiobook is a compilation of blessings for all facets of life and death including home, freedom, water and addiction.  The first blessing came to me in the middle of a workday shuffle.  It was a blessing “For the family and friends of suicide.”

I had to stop working and find solace in the restroom:

And you know there are no strong people in the world.  There are only people who have not been tested.

Since then I can expect one or two blessings to pop up when I shuffle my music.  Each one inevitably sends me to the restroom where I try to push all my molecules back into a human shape so I can pull the door open and pretend like flowers are not blooming from my earbuds as their soft leaves test the strength of my lips.

Did I ever tell you about Hans Zimmer’s True Romance?  If I have, then I am certain you will want to hear it again.  If not, you must know that this is one of my most prized little nuggets of serendipity.  

One night, long before Robert and I were officially dating, I had Hans Zimmer’s The Wings Of A Film playing in my CD player.  It was set to repeat True Romance continuously.  Robert called and I answered the phone - a land line that happened to be attached to a wall on the other side of my studio apartment.  What started out as a hello turned into hours of stories, and in the background of this conversation, playing uproariously but quietly, was True Romance.  Because I did not want to leave Robert’s voice for even a second the song continued to play the entire conversation.  It has become a very special song because of this conversation.  Whenever I hear it I am instantly consumed by the stories we shared that evening over 8 years ago, stories that we repeat endlessly without questioning their repetitiousness.  Rather than growing thinner with use, the threads of our stories are growing stronger, gathering strength and vibrancy with each retelling.  Our memories have formed a hammock.  We are carried by the motion of our words.

While listening to my music today another blessing slipped in, this time a blessing for an occasion of celebration.  As I paused to listen wholeheartedly I heard: experience without reflection is only half of what it can be.  Two songs later True Romance demonstrated this beautifully.

Perhaps our devices will never stretch beyond their inanimate barriers.  The earbuds in my ears will never find a burgeoning heart beneath the beats.  My phone may hold the face of my father, but it will never draw a breath.  We can talk to our gadgets with the same sincerity we reserve for our families, but they will only respond if we give ourselves to them. 

However, I can’t help but wonder how a blessing can shout into the black hole of data and pull from it, a response.

I leave you with True Romance.