Less timeless

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I haven*t been here long. 

Just a little over a fifth of a century really. It*s timeless to me because it*s all I*ve ever known. I don*t have a specific beginning point to my memories; merely snippets of my past that shimmer in my conscious. It*s surprising that I remember as much as I do. So much happens in one day. More often than not; there isn*t enough time for it all.

In retrospect; time goes by like a pinprick. At the moment; it certainly doesn*t feel like it is. This is where regret falls. Maybe time isn*t as timeless as it used to be before. The closer I come to the literal meaning of mortality; the more I appreciate the time that has been allotted me. 

No matter how much I appreciate it though; it still has a way of slipping away.

So many silly aspirations flit about in my dreams. I hardly ever act on them. Fear. Doubt. Pain. I know I forget to live my life for fear of losing or for fear of change. Whatever the case may be; I feel like in all the 21 years I*ve been on this planet; I still haven*t lived the fullest life that I am able. I*m not a fearful person by nature. Any fear I may have; comes at another*s bequest. I*m really quite optimistic and laid back about everything. Which has proven quite worrisome to my parents many a time.

Time. What a small word for such an altering constituent of life. The best moments in mine; are the moments that I*ve spent doing what I love.

I love being with my family. But you and I both know that there is never enough time spent doing that. Every time I*m with them; I can be myself. No pretending; no facade; no tough face. But this is where life throws its curve. I never feel like I measure up. In a family where the genius and talented gene runs rampant; I never feel like I have anything to offer to the family name. I*m not dumb nor talentless; but my progress in life has been halted many times because of my fear of failure when compared to any of them. I wish that I hadn*t let all that time go to waste worrying about it because then I would have so much more confidence in myself whether or not failure was the end result.

Having so little confidence in myself; I can*t stand the thought of people thinking badly of me and that is my worst fear. Fear. It holds me back every time; even when I know it is ridiculously futile. 

If I spent more time doing things just for the heck of it; doing what I want to do; and less time fretting about others* opinions of me; I wouldn*t have so many retrospect regrets.

Fact; time isn*t long enough. But...

would I take the best advantage of it if it were?


Sounds of the Summer

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I stand there in the open space. My eyes are already closed and I take in a breath of warm summer air. I smell the spicy heat and the nearby alfalfa. The knee-length grass brushes my legs and the sun*s rays warm my skin. Lost in the laziness of the warm season my mind loses the need for focus and busyness. The warmth soaks into my body and my entire being is at peace.

The sounds of summer bombard my ears. The whine of traveling cars is a distant overtone to the ensemble. Tractors in the fields discing and swarthing; rumbling through their life*s work. Lawn mowers humming in nearby yards. The drone of an airplane flying low over the alfalfa fields echoes off the face of the mountain.

But beneath man*s sounds rings nature*s call. Crickets; hiding in their secret places; give evidence to their location; chirping a summer melody. Meadowlarks warble and sing their songs. The wind tumbles and plays through orchards; rustling the leaves. The cawing of magpies adds the brass to the animal symphony.

My puppy*s barking jolts me from my warm musings. The biting cold of the winter reality tingles on my exposed cheeks. A sigh escapes my lips. Winter is a time for nostalgia.


Maher shalal hash baz

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Everywhere we travel as a pair; me and my bumble bee. We*ve raced races and run reds because we two are unstoppable. My little black hummer has purred alongside rumbling diesels and roaring low-riders and won the noise contest every time.

Nissan Sentra 1993 Coupe. 1.6 Liter engine 4 cylinders. Manual transmission. Black exterior with a gray interior.

That*s all a car dealer would tell you about my girl.

But there*s so much more you need to know. There*s a rusty front fender that was the replacement after an accident that happened before she came to me. Her muffler is rotting at the joint which gives her the voice of a racer. The clutch is touchy and each day it*s a different ratio to get her going. Third gear tends to require more clutch than the rest.

Inside on the steering wheel is a furry cover with the pattern of a giraffe*s coat. That appeared on the steering wheel one day after I came out of my internship and I still don't know who put it there. Hanging from the rearview mirror is a Makini Helmet which is a symbol of protection and is believed to deflect death and bad spirits. I got him from my friend Jacqi; who got it straight from Hawai*i. My stethoscope is also hanging around the mirror for emergencies which got me through my Vet Assistant certification. Down below the vent controls sits a branch from the forests of Salmon; Idaho with a very light green lichen growing in random tendrils away from its anchor.

Inside the glove box is of course the instruction manual; the registration; and the insurance card. Then there is a pressure checker for those times when my tires get low and I get ambitious enough to actually check them. A CPR mask takes up most of the room in the small area which was from my CPR certification. Some Wet Ones in a pink package are squished underneath that. On the side a bandage wrap and my old cell phone for emergencies.

Below the passenger seat resides a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE); spaghetti and meatballs from a Search and Rescue Dog demonstration in Salt Lake next to the broken passenger visor. Behind both seats is my bent-out-of-shape sun shade and hanging from the ceiling handle are multiple Black Ice car fresheners; my personal favorite. An orange frisbee sits on the floor and I use this for clearing off great amounts of snow from my car during the winter.

In my trunk I keep a spare pair of winter boots and my mummy bag. My car is definitely my bunker of choice. I would be able to survive a nuclear war just chillin inside. Being an older year she has the stamina of an Olympic runner and the strength of an ox. But the problem with older cars is they don*t have the perfectly running engine or the nice new looking metal.

My little putt-putt has troubles sometimes. Her battery gets iffy in cold weather and happens to be scared silly of my Dad. The tires are always bought used and they go quickly because her alignment isn*t spot on. The speakers are selective on who they play for (Melissa). The defrost works at an alarmingly slow rate. During the summer the air conditioning is 60 mph windows down. The thermostat is stuck now so heat in the engine can*t be regulated and she overheats. Every once in awhile the security switch gets bumped so she doesn*t even bother turning on. The driver door doesn*t shut the whole way so getting up to 60 mph the music; if the speakers are working; can*t be heard for the wind whistling his way in.

But for all her flaws; for all her little quirks; she is my baby. I love my black Shaley. She is my little bumble bee. She and I have been so many places together. She captures all my tears and sings with me to all my favorite songs when the speakers are working. Every time my road rage flares; she grumbles along with me.

She is my Partner in Crime.


Araruana x Macao

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I*m watching the students file in and sit in their seats. The buzz of teenage voices fills the room but one voice rises above the others with ease.

His attention is arrested on me. His white whiskery face pools with an excited blush. This jail-bait male practically dances and prances in his seat. The students in the room laugh and give their full attention to his useless antics.

I can feel his eyes intent on my face; watching my every move. Anytime I happen to glance his way; he puffs up and shows off his colors. I chuckle and shake my head at his naivete. Even if he were in date-able age range for me; he definitely isn*t my type. Positioning himself on the table in front of me; he bobs his head up and down repeatedly.

*Hello!* His voice grates on my eardrums.

*Hello. How are you?* I ask with exaggerated enthusiasm. Instead of replying; he looks at me from the side; *making eyes* at me. I can*t help but laugh out loud. He joins me and drags it out past the point of humor. He holds his leg out towards me invitingly. Oh no. I*m not so easily fooled! I*ve been in this situation before and I got hurt.

That beak was NOT something to be trifled with. But for some odd reason this 6 year old male has chosen me out of all the females in the room to flirt with. He flaps his wings and sharpens his beak; pulling out all of his best moves apparently. I relent and allow him to sit on my arm next to my body. Peikia dances and sings to me. He rubs his face on my shoulder; a sign of true affection coming from a macaw. The worst flirtatious gesture he pulls out is his regurgitating-loogie-to-show-you-that-I-am-a-good-provider trick. Not yummy.

Of course my kind act led to pain. His beak; with 350 pounds of pressure; was angrily taking his woes of unrequited love out on my unprotected body. This had happened before. Biting isn*t a very nice thing to do to someone; but a 6 year-old Catalina macaw doesn*t care about a common courtesy such as that.



Thursday, December 9, 2010

There isn*t much to be said about walking past people; except that it can be extremely awkward. I*ve noticed with all of my experience in passing people in the street or on campus; that most are no good at the whole passing thing. There isn*t any literature or written code on the passersby etiquette but it would seem that there are many rules; do nots; and many amendments to top it all off. The amount of thought that each person has to put into merely walking past someone else is enough to make one*s head spin.

My most favorite is the not-supposed-to-walk-on-the-same-side-of-the-road unspoken rule. When walking down the street if there is a person on the same side coming towards you; inevitably they have to get to the other side of the road; immediately or as quickly as possible. The thoughts that roll through my mind include: 

  • *Do I reek so badly that it has wafted all the way down to them already?*
  • *Would fatal collision have been certain had we both continued on the same side of the road?*
  • *Do they know something about me that they shouldn't?*
  • *Probably just couldn't handle walking past the awesomeness and attractiveness that is me.*
  • *Does my bed hair look atrocious and they don't want to have to hide their sniggering?*
The next unspoken rule on my favorites list is the don*t-smile-because-it-might-not-be-reciprocated -and-then-things-could-get-really-awkward rule. Come on peeps. Show them pearls off. Every time we pass someone; it is our mini audition as a smile model.
Absolutely-positively-NO-communication-whatsoever-or-you-will-DIE rule is steadily making its way up on my favorite unspoken rules list. I believe that this is proof of digression in our species. The grunts from pre-homo erectus are even non-existent in the passersby*s world. Communication was a big thing back in the day. Since we can't seem to stay away from the 60s hippy-isms; the 70s dancing; the 80s clothes; and the 90s hair; why not yesterdays communication? Saying hello to someone hasn't killed anyone yet and if it has; it is a very tiny number; not likely to happen to anyone we know.

My cousin touched on this next unspoken rule in her blog. The must-walk-on-the-right-side-of-the-sidewalk rule. It*s good to know that all of us are good enough drivers to apply the traffic idea to the sidewalk. It does make the flow of passing people so much flowier. However; in many cases people will go out of their way to make sure that you do not pass them on the wrong (left) side. 

Another unspoken rule on my list is the you-can-move-out-of-my-way-because-I-obviously-have-the-right-of-way-in-this-situation rule. This one is especially fun in the winter time when the sidewalks haven*t been shoveled yet so there is only the path where many shoes have walked. Because of the limited space for your feet; besides the perfectly good snow banks on either side that will instantly soak anyone to the bone. But there's always the person who walks like a Viking; tall and strong and true and completely unyielding; even if they have a small pullover space close by. 

I face these dilemmas every day as I pass many people walking to and from classes and work and home. There are so many little subtleties to the passersby etiquette. I haven*t even covered all the the little unspoken rules of passing people such as the hurry-and-pass-someone-from-behind-while-looking-at-*something*-very-interesting-on-the-other-side rule or the they-just-slipped-but-I*m-going-to-pretend-that-I-didn*t-see rule. 

I'm sure that we all know the feeling of passing someone and putting WAY too much thought into what we should do.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Grumbling with bitterness and resentment, I flip my hood up and step out of the warm building into the falling snow. It's not the huge light fluffy snowflakes that fall in enchanting patterns but rather little wisps of ice streaming down to the already frozen earth.

Faceless strangers pass me, hoods pulled low over their foreheads. I struggle over the unevenly trodden snow as I make my way home.  Although my hood is pulled up and over my head, it doesn't seem to cover quite enough. Iceflakes still pelt me in the face. I bend my head forward against the attack. My forward progression requires more vision than is provided thus. So I lift my face and take the snowflakes in the face once more.

There's a lot to be said about the people I see walking undeterred by the cold, wet flecks smacking them in the face. My eyes blink rapidly of their own accord every few seconds and twitch uncontrollably between blinks. Whatever makeup I managed to get on my face and eyes in the sleepy getting ready hours of the morning, was fast melting off. My brow becomes furrowed and my nose crinkles with the strain of trying to see past the blasted snowflakes. The entire surface area of my face was intent on closing in around my eyes to protect them from the mini ice bullets.

All of these people with the finesse to blink naturally in normal intervals must be laughing quite recklessly on the inside. I probably would if I could see my face contorting as each seemingly harmless snowman baby flies into my eyes. No one else seems to be struggling with this as I have been.

The solution...for the snowing to cease, but since I have no control over that I will just have get a hat with a brim.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

I fall down from the sky and creep down the mountains through canyons and ravines. My fingers seep into every crack, every orifice as I spread my being across the valley. Darkness is my friend and best companion and we give protection to those who seek it.

My thickness blocks out the sun and the sky. I surround and cover everything beneath me. I take chill and ice with me wherever I go. In the winter time I leave marks of the fabled 'Jack Frost' along railings and windows. My breath slips through leaks in buildings and touches every living thing. I am relentless. I cling to every surface that I can, drawing the warmth out of everything I touch. I have no substance but I am a wall.

No one can see what I hide. I hide the lovers' trysts. I hide the thief's scheming. I hide the world from every eye. No one knows what can hold me. The sky can only hold me for so long. I am wild and free. No one can control me. No one can stop me. No physical hand has power over my spirit.

I am what makes lake's mysteries stay mysterious. I am what shrouds the countryside with charm. I am cause for a poet's passion in a poem. I am the listless feeling of the clouds. I am the cap of a mountain. I am the warning of an ocean storm. I am the yore of the Scottish glens. I am in the morning. I am in the winter. I am in the cool spring.


I've a thought

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I stare blankly at the room around me. I look to the objects occupying this room. None of them trigger the thought again. Blast! It had truly been an epiphany. Now I can't even remember what had spurred that line of thinking. Lame timing for a brain fart.

I walk around the room examining knickknacks and furniture letting my mind relax because we all know the harder you try to remember something the more elusive it becomes. But I can't help but thumb through my previous thoughts with a certain amount of purpose, hoping that the eureka moment will come up in the 'Recently Viewed' files. Nothin. I back track to the other room where I had been when the thought struck me.

Sitting in the same chair from before, I look at the things before me. Surely one of them was the object that gave birth to my amazing idea. Hmmm... Not a thing. How could such an awesome thought come to me and then just disappear? Darker forces are at work here.

What to do? What to do...?!

Oh wait! A fleeting remembrance. The thought was on the edge of my conscious and waiting for me to grasp it again. But alas, it is again out of my reach. I sigh in frustration and stand up, intent on continuing on with my life.

Then it happens! I remember! I rush into the other room and....Bah!!! No way. This was beyond ridiculous. I'm done! This is what going crazy must be like. I refuse to be crazy. I'm forgetting that I ever even had a 'thought' and doing something productive with my time.

Awesome thought? Yes. Remembering it? Obviously not. Bah.


No place like it

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I sit in my car, taking in the seemingly painted scene before me. Except for the light illuminating the air around the two story house, the world around me is blanketed in cold darkness. The silence and solitude that keeps me company, causes my stillness. I look to the beacon of light that this place represents in my life. What a wonderful feeling to return here. There is a sense of relief, of calmness. I know that here I am loved. It is here that my character was built. Here I have made memories.

Opening the door I climb out of the black vehicle and grab my things. The closer I come to the lit building, the more happy my being becomes. My feet barely the touch the ground as my heart feels lighter and freer.

The burdens of everyday life can be left outside at this place. I step through the threshold into the light. Warm greetings and shouts of excitement welcome my entrance. My face can't help but break into a smile. This place seems to increase the light in my spirit just by being here. Though the world has dumped snow on the world and on my life of late, nothing can take away the warmth and comfort here. This lit world within is my refuge, my safe place.

I can be myself here. I can find myself again. All the despairs and stresses of life are still a part of me, still looming in my mind but I can forget them...for a little while. I am filled with peace and tranquility because I'm home now. Home.


The Worst

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grudgingly, I come to full consciousness. I readjust my position, trying to alleviate the discomfort my body is feeling. The new position offers no solace. My bare feet touch the coolness of the sheets where warmth has not been established yet. Warmth. My favorite part of being in bed during this cold season. Sigh. I must arise and go forth. Nature's call is hard to ignore when it's this insistent.

I roll out from under my covers, hoping that the warmth will be preserved in the miniscule amount of time I will allow myself to be absent. I toe my way to the bathroom and hold my arms out in front of my body, feeling the air for the existence of any object ready to jump out at me from the darkness. My fingers find the light switch and flip it up. The blinding light forces my weary eyelids to squeeze shut. I squint through one tiny slit to find my way to the porcelain chair.

My body closes the gap towards the seat and suddenly my mind screams at me "COLD SEAT!!!" My downward momentum is immediately suspended. What to do? I cannot continue to hold the gallons keeping residence in my bladder and sleep the rest of the night in peace. But how can I put my little behind on the freezing surface of the seat and not get hypothermia instantly? This was a major dilemma that I shouldn't have to mull through at this time of sleepiness.

The battle rages through my brain, seeming to take years of my life away but in all reality lasting mere micro-seconds. Discomfort was a factor in each option. One would last longer and seemed more endurable at the moment. The other was quite fleeting, as my body would warm the seat in a matter of moments but what miserable moments they were going to be. Ah!

Of all times of the year to wake in the middle of the night with this ridiculous need to make my way to the lavatory. The coldest night in all of the world's history and beyond, was the night it had to happen. Gritting my teeth and deciding that it was comparable to ripping off the bandaid, I almost fell on the seat.

What a horrible sensation. The freezing cold seat and me coming together was not something I was enjoying. I hurried my activity as much as I was able. Didn't even bother to sing the ABC's in my head as I washed my hands half-heartedly and as quickly as possible.

I shut the light off, for which my eyes are extremely grateful. The way back to my waiting bed is impossibly long but I finally crawl in between the lukewarm blankets and get comfortable once again. My mind wanders listlessly back to wondrous sleep...


Plumbum and Ferrum

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Strength. A personality trait everyone wishes to own. It lends to its bearer power, prestige, honor, and coveted status amongst peers.

But what is strength? Is it purely physical? Mental? Emotional? Grammatical? Is it attained individually? Does strength come from within? Is it to be found outside of ourselves? Do we realize our true strength? Or does it come in the instant it is tried?

Perhaps strength is lifting your body weight 10 times above your head. Strength could mean having bigger muscles than the other guy. Maybe the only thing with true strength are metals like lead and iron. Strength could be running farther and faster than ever before. Maybe strength is beating your opponent. Overcoming a particularly difficult obstacle. Beating Chesley at ninja...and everything else for that matter. ;) Maybe strength comes from knowing oneself. It could be getting over a bad habit like chewing with your mouth open or biting your nails. Strength could mean telling someone that you love them even when they might not love you back. Maybe you have to combine certain things like heat and iron to get the strength in steel. It could be righting a wrong. Sometimes it can be seen in the pride of triumph.

Strength can't in all reality hold one singular meaning and can't be contained in one dimension.

Strength isn't something easy to define. It is something within each of us that we have to discover. The Lord says that He will make weak things become strong if we come unto Him (Ether 12:27). Seems like an easy enough thing to do. But it's harder than just that. It's more than just coming to Him and following Him. It's walking through the darkness to eventually find our way to His side forever. It's following the pinpoint of light that He offers us in the surrounding bleakness and never looking away until we reach the presence of His all-encompassing light.

Strength is to take a step in the darkness, not knowing the way, but trusting that Someone Else does. Strength is in the humility to give up the mortal will for the assurance of an Eternal Will. Strength is finding hope in a world of seeming darkness and loneliness. Strength lies in admitting weakness. Strength is pushing harder when adversity strikes a heavy hand.

Strength is to overcome yourself. In each instance of strength, you overcome something in you. You become stronger each time. The Lord provides the opportunity for each of us to do this. He is the Way. In life we all go through hard things, some more than others. But the trials we go through, are the means for Him to temper us. Making us stronger. He is making steel, we just have to learn to take the heat and pounding for a little while.



Monday, November 15, 2010

The dating game is very much like the childish game of tag-you're-it. Both genders are playing and tagging one another, running around trying not to get tagged by the ones we don't want to be and hoping to get tagged by that certain person. Then if you're tagged you go for that person again. Sometimes two are lucky enough to find someone they like playing with alone and end up playing their own private game.

More often than not we all find the game gets really large. Tons of children come join the game and the entire schoolyard is our playing field. If only it were that simple.

The dating game has so many more rules and complexities. Most of the time the game starts with the male player making his move, followed by a reciprocated movement by the female player.

In my experience the game goes so much better when both key players are trying to win. If only the one is playing and the other isn't, the game goes nowhere, it is at a standstill. The one playing gets frustrated and the other doesn't understand why they are getting so emotional about a mere game.

But if the one competing is smart they will end that game and find another gamer. There's too much time wasted in trying to finish the game with them to the end knowing you'll come out finishing but leaving them behind.

The worst type of game played is when the time runs out and extenuating circumstances causes the game to end abruptly. Both players are left feeling unfulfilled and hurt.

A lot of times one of the players will decide that they need a break and leave the other sitting alone at the game. Or they will look around and see other games or other players and decide that they don't want to finish out that game they were playing and again leaving the other player alone.

Many times, there are female players aplenty, waiting and hoping for someone to notice their game set up, and come start a game with them. Sometimes, they are waiting a long time. The dating game is different than all other games played in this entire world because of one thing. The heart.

Anyone can play a game of tag and lose and still feel good about themselves.
Anyone can play a game of frisbee, lose and have hope for the next game.
Anyone can play a game of Canasta, lose by just a few points and still be happy.
Anyone can play a game of golf, hit the ball too far and have a good attitude.

But no one can play a dating game, lose, and still feel good about themselves, have hope for the next go around, be happy, or have a good attitude. Some are really good about getting over the hurt quickly. Others are really good about hiding their pain. A lot get discouraged and pack up their game, not willing to invest that part of themselves again.

There is more invested in a dating game than just time or effort, the heart is the biggest player. The heart is the end goal and the incentive. The heart is the means and everyone's biggest secret. Everything in the dating game revolves around the heart and affects the heart. That's why it isn't like any other game. We risk a lot more than we might get back. But then, when there is finally someone with whom we find our happiness, it all becomes worth it and the previous pain and hurt goes away. That is what the whole point of the dating game is. To find that happy ending. To get to the happily ever after.


Animal symphony

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My eyes open unwillingly. It is still dark. My brain is alert instantly. What is going on? My body remains in its exact position. No need to move. Since it's still dark, just go back to sleep. Shut again, my eyes try to pull the brain back to blessed sleep. No, that would be too easy. My brain runs its gears and stumbles through pointless thought. Why am I awake? The rest of my body grumbles and tells the control center not to worry about it. This is silly. It doesn't matter. 

Oh the curse of being a light sleeper. Really anything can wake me out of deep slumber, even rolling myself over in bed. So it is detrimental to try to figure out what is keeping me from going back to sleep. Because then I won't be able to forget it. That would be all that my tired brain would be able to think about. Blast. There it is again. Cock a doodle doo! So that's what's keeping me up. That tiny little fluff ball we call a rooster. It has to be like 4:30 in the a.m. What is this crazy male chicken thinking? Cock a doodle doo! The sun isn't even close to being up. We've got in the least a couple of hours. 

Maybe he'll come to his senses and stop soon. Cock a doodle doo! Nope. Of course he has to greet the blatantly missing sun every 20 seconds. Makes perfect sense. Cock a doodle doo! Ugh! I stuff my fingers in my ears and wait for sleep to help me relax. In which case I'll drop my hands and be awakened once again by the obnoxious rooster. 

An hour later I am cognizant again. Cock a doodle doo! Stupid, &*#%@# rooster!!! I'm pretty sure that murdering this hormonal birdbrain would make me very happy. I doubt that I would feel any regret in my decision... Cock a doodle doo! Dad is still in bed and he might think that he just got out and ran away from his little flock of adoring hens... Maybe not. Cock a doodle doo! Knives and a headless rooster were starting to seem like a really good idea.

Ruff! No. Way. Ruff! Ruff! If the neighbor's dog really thinks that he is going to get away with a misdemeanor like this...he is VERY wrong. Cock a doodle doo! Ruff! Ruff! I love nature. But not at 5:30 in the morning when I should be slumbering. In the day time I probably wouldn't even notice either of these sounds but because everything else is quiet and still, these sounds are amplified ten times over. Cock a doodle doo! What have I done to deserve this?! Ruff! Ruff!

It would seem that this one little feathered creature was waking all of the surrounding animals. The neighbor's horses began to nicker and paw at the ground. Minuscule sounds made huge in my overactive brain. 

Cock a doodle doo! Ruff! Nicker! Ruff! Pawwww! Ca Kaw!! That's it!!! With magpies, I draw the line! I'm getting a shotgun out of my dad's gun case. This war WILL end in  my favor. I sit upright with fury boiling my blood and fueling my weary body. 

Sudden silence. Was this a dream? Could it be they were waiting to torture me once I tried to close my eyes again? Hesitantly I lay my head on my pillow. Will this seeming silence last? Unused adrenaline still laces my veins... I close my eyes unwittingly, knowing that in just a short amount of time... I will be awakened again. But hunting is more than agreeable to me if these hooligans started their untimely singing again...


Size issues

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I am leaving campus, making my way home in the crisp fall air. Home. Home is a three story apartment building, gray siding with chipping paint, rotting boards, and rusting stairs. Despite the decrepit outward appearance, the inside has been transformed into a comfortable and cozy home. I am looking forward to making it back to the marginally warmer indoors. It is a bit nippy out and I am so very tired. A nap is more than welcome on my agenda. 

Looking down at my feet and watching all the fallen leaves as I pass them, I start to see something unbelievable. Of course there are red leaves, yellow leaves, orange leaves, greenish leaves, brown crunchy leaves, but the colors aren't the peculiarity I'm seeing. Every so often, amidst the array of color, I see an enormous, gigantic, huge, impossibly large leaf. Some of them quite possibly have more surface area than a serving plate. 

I, being the plant geek that I am, pick one up and continue my journey home, all the while staring in amazement at the huge plant appendage in my hand. I look back once or twice at the tree this abnormal thing must have fallen from. All the rest of the leaves look normal tree leaf size. 

Once I arrive home and drop all of my things on the couch I begin comparing the leaf to all sorts of things to verify it's true size...
Left: Platanus x acerifolia, Middle: Homo sapiens, Right: Acer platanoides
I compare it to my face. It is bigger. 
Maybe if I spread both of my hands across it...not even close. The leaf wins by a long shot. 
Couch cushion...maybe 2 1/2 times smaller. Maybe.
Both of my neighbor's shoes...it wins again. 
The large end of a guitar. Its lobes still hang over the edge.
My hips...it's a tie. 
I compare it to a record case. Almost the exact same size across in all directions. 
A cookie sheet...it takes up over half of its surface. 
It is larger than the butt indent on all of our dining chairs.  
                          An 8" x 11" sheet of copy paper...way bigger. 

This thing is humongous! I could use it as a hat, it's that large. Like on the Disney movie, Bambi, when all of the little chicks are huddled under the leaf that outsizes them and their mother combined. But those are little prairie birds. I'm a human and I could probably shelter myself under this thing. And it isn't even the largest that I had seen lying under its mother tree. 

I know what tree I want to stand under come drenching spring rainstorm. I say spring rainstorm because in a fall rainstorm...the huge leaves would fall and plaster themselves to your body. Unpleasant at best.


Math Class

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The bottom of my stomach has been sucked into a wormhole. I can feel that it is definitely bottomless down there now. Nothing sits right. Nothing sounds good. My world hangs on a balance. Everything weighs on this moment's decision. My entire future depends on here and now. But what do I do? To what end will this decision take me? Never before have I been faced with something so monumental. No matter my decision I cannot find peace in it. There is too much at stake for this to be an easy, quick thing. This stress is destructive to my health and well-being.

The worst part in all of this is that this decision doesn't include only myself. There is another student to this complex equation. That's what is making this so much harder. I know what my calculations to find x are, but now finding the correct solution rests on my fellow student. If this were simply my decision, I would make the best decision I could and live with it, be it wrong or right. But since the solution needs both x and y values, I must wait on the other. What if they come up with the wrong value? Then the solution will be different than it is supposed to be. How can I trust that they will make the right calculations? My help is useless since I have no credentials, so I know I can't tell them everything they need to know for their set of calculations. I raise my hand, trembling, towards the ceiling of the classroom.

The Teacher comes to my desk. He asks in his calming voice what He can do to help. Of course, I make sure that my calculations are correct first. He points out my mistakes and gives me the steps I need to fix them so that I can find my way to the correct value. He puts his reassuring hand on my shoulder, asking silently if I am okay, if I can continue on without His help for a little while. The only problem I have now is the worry I have concerning the other part of the equation. Timidly, I ask for Him to help my equational partner, that He will show them the correct calculations to the value. A small nod is the only affirmation I receive. I know that He can only do so much before it is still up to my peer to make those calculations. I hope that they listen. This is essential to a good grade. For both of us.


Mermaid Tears

Monday, November 1, 2010

"I don't know how. I don't know when. But I know something's starting right now. Watch and you'll see. Someday I'll be... part of your...world." I watch enthralled as the beautiful merprincess dramatically poses on the jagged ocean rock, waves splashing in symphony all around her, her red tresses flying in the wind. My young mind longs to be a beautiful, mysterious creature such as she.  The fantasy and the magic in this timeless show, excites my imagination. Visions of being enchanted and turning mermaid, whirl through my brain.

It's bath time tonight. Oh I can't wait. The tub has just the right angle to try what the red-headed mermaid did as she sang to her love on the beach. I wait impatiently as my mom gets my bath going, checking the temperature, and pulling out all of my favorite bath toys. Of course, tonight I will be setting those aside for a much more exciting bath pastime. The tub fills excruciatingly slowly! I have no patience for this tonight. My older sister, Camille, and I have to take baths together. She will probably think that my idea is dumb. She always does because I am the younger sister. Oh well. My imagination cannot be stopped by a mere mortal.

Finally the tub has enough water to get in and start 'bathing.' For a moment my idea is put aside as hair products are lathered into my scalp and I squeeze my eyes shut tight. I don't like getting the suds in my eyes. It hurts. Once our bodies have been scrubbed down and rinsed, we're allowed to play in the soapy water. Perfect! It was just as though it was the crashing ocean waves. I start singing the song from the movie and I slide up the side of the tub like a true mermaid. I can feel my clean hair swirling around my wet shoulders. When I've slithered back into the water, my sister has a look of amazement on her face.

"Let me try!" While I continue to sing the song she slides up and splashes water all over everywhere. It was awesome. She had looked just like Ariel. We took turns singing and splashing up the side of the almost empty tub. Laughing and having a ball, these were good times.

I'm sure that we'll get scolded, but it is too fun to think of that right now.


Cocoa + Sugar + Milk =

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chocolate pudding. The little box sits in my cupboard off to the side, untouched and unnoticeable. Until now. My eyes furtively glance at its alluring cover time and time again. I can't seem to forget it's small presence there. My brain can't seem to fathom any other food product to be edible. But at the same time my brain says, "NO! It will accumulate on your behind, your thighs, your belly, your forehead, everywhere that it is undesirable. Do NOT pull that chocolate pudding out of the cupboard!"

My stomach long since deprived of any nourishment grumbles it's thoughts, "I'm empty. Anything will do. But why not something delicious and succulent?" Once again my eyes seek the brown and blue colored box...why are these colors so vivid today?! My hands try to shut the door to my barren cupboard...or is it full? I can't tell...all I can see is that blasted box of pudding!!

Suddenly my mouth begins to water and it sends memories of the delicious taste of the cool soft chocolate pudding to my wavering brain! My resolve weakens...I had basically killed my body exercising the day before...and they say that chocolate holds the key to rebuilding muscle... So much is at stake!

"Ashley..." What the..?! I thought all my roommates were at class or work... I glance around. Nothing. "Ashley..." It was the PUDDING!!! Pudding isn't supposed to talk right? I'm hallucinating... I'm imagining that that stupid box is calling my name! I'd better eat it to shut it up... I can't have a box of chocolate pudding goin around speaking my name. Not gonna happen.

I pull the box frantically out of the cupboard and the milk out of the fridge. I mix the powdery contents of the package into the two cups of cow product in a medium-sized yellow bowl. I wait anxiously while the concoction lives in the fridge on the top shelf cooling and setting into that pudding consistency. The empty box sits in the garbage...screaming of my weakness.

The next step. Consume with pleasure. So I grab a spoon and dip it into the brown goodness... I am definitely a fan of deliciousness. Tomorrow when I am feeling sick because of the overload of sugar, I'll regret this...but right now...I'm doin just fine!


Never enough

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Have you ever noticed that there is never enough of something? Maybe I'm just picky but it seems that there just isn't enough. For example:

There is never enough jelly to the peanut butter.
There is never enough warm water to the shower.
There is never enough chocolate brownie to the ice cream.
There is never enough syrup to the pancake.
There is never enough money to the expenses.
There is never enough sprinkles to the cookie.
There is never enough frosting to the cake.
There is never enough food to the cupboards.
There is never enough pondering to the decisions of life.
There is never enough sun in the winter.
There is never enough spaghetti sauce to the noodles.
There is never enough patience to the trial.
There is never enough studying to the test.
There is never enough stillness to the moment.
There is never enough time off work to the vacation.
There is never enough conversation to the problem.
There is never enough ranch dressing to the vegetable tray.
There is never enough kneeling to the prayer.
There is never enough sleeping to the night.
There is never enough laughter to the friendship.
There is never enough pushing to the limit.
There is never enough clinging to the rod.
There is never enough fruit snack to the package.
There is never enough hope to the darkness.
There is never enough time to the relationship.
There is never enough milk to the cookies.
There is never enough gifts to the Christmas tree.
There is never enough thanks to the rescuer.
There is never enough gravy to the mashed potatoes.
There is never enough room to the apartment.
There is never enough expression to the love.
There is never enough...

Now I could go on and on. Is it a fact of life that there will never be enough? Or is it just me being picky and complainy? All kidding aside, yes it seems that we can never be satisfied with the amount of dressings to our foods but that is easily fixed by going a getting yourself more or just dealing and eating it anyways. But a lot of them are serious questions. Do we give enough thanks to our Creator? Do we show enough love to our family and friends? I don't think that that is possible. That's why we have this time on earth...to do everyday, those things that we can, to get closer to having done enough.


To the finish

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Life is full of endings. It starts with an ending and we finish it off with the ultimate ending. Some endings are happy. Some endings are sad. Some endings are triumphant. Some endings are of defeat. And perhaps there are endings, that aren't endings at all. Maybe there isn't any such thing as endings but perhaps, merely chapters.

A book more often than not, follows the storyline of one hero or heroine. There are many characters along the story. Many come and go in the story's line of sight but that does not mean that that is their ending. We simply cannot follow their story at the same time as our hero or heroine's. And the end of the chapter isn't the end of the story by any means. Even the end of the book isn't an ending. It is where the story teller simply wrote a conclusion and stopped telling the story.

An even more drastic ending...a head stone to a grave. Sometimes they tell the story of the person that lies beneath them but always is written the start and stop of their time on the earth. We don't know the continuation of their story because the Great Storyteller stopped telling us their story. Instead of endings, perhaps we should call them finishes. It was the finish of the story at the end of the book. It is the finish of mortal life on the earth when we die. There is never an ending because there is always more to the story and there always will be.

Life is full of finishes. It starts with a finish and it ends with the ultimate finish. Some finishes are happy. Some finishes are sad. Some finishes are triumphant. Some finishes are of defeat. And perhaps there are finishes, that aren't finishes at all...


Take Luck

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Luck. A force that brings good fortune. Everyone wants a piece of luck to come their way. Who wouldn't? Luck, in any situation, makes things go so much better. But is luck a coincidence? Or is luck perhaps a choice?

For most people they say they are lucky because things are going according to plan, or when something out of the ordinary occurs that is a pleasant surprise. But can't we also be lucky in love? Lucky in our choice of friends? I believe that we choose our luckiness. And sometimes we can even be so awesome as to affect the luck of those around us.

My dad, being as awesome as he is, placed a penny on the ground face up. Most people know that a penny in that position signifies good luck. Now we all of us have enough good sense to realize that this is a superstition. But at the same time, whenever I pick up a coin that is face up, I may not really believe that I'm going to have a day of luck but I do feel a bit lighter. There is almost a sense of delight in finding the small bit of smashed metal that holds little monetary value, face up. My Dad may not have really bestowed luck on the particular person who ends up picking up his well-placed coin but he did leave them a little piece of happiness.

We make our own luck. We go through life and come upon choices. Choices of great importance to our happiness or things of little worth to our general well-being. But depending on our choice, we can be a happier sort of person or not so. This is where luck becomes a player. When we choose the greater course and straighten the way, we become lucky...

...it is our choice.


Camels and Humps

Friday, October 22, 2010

There are many tales and folklore revolving around camels. Camels. Yes I said, "Camels." What an interesting animal. Flat feet with toes, furry all over, split upper lip, prettier longer eyelashes than me (???), lurpy looking neck, knobbly knees, big old floppy ears, and oh yes...a huge hump (or two) on its back, of course. It wasn't always like that...

There is a telling of how the Camel came by his hump. In the beginning of the world, there was Man and to work for him, he was given Horse, Ox, Dog, and Camel. Horse, Ox, and Dog worked hard for Man but Camel always declined helping with a disinterested 'Humph,' so the hard-working three were asked to work double-time to make up for him. This made the three angry and when the Desert Djinn came upon them, they complained about their lazy compatriot. The Djinn went and found the 'scruciating idle Camel admiring his beautiful straight back in the reflection of a pool. Because all the Camel had to say for himself was 'Humph', the Djinn became angry and slapped a huge humph on his back. This was so that Camel could work for three days straight without food or water to make up for his indolent nature. Ever since that day Camel has been working hard to catch up to his lazy beginning.

-Rudyard Kipling

Although this hump will always be a burden, it is what makes him a Camel and what helps him survive on a trek across the long lonely desert. We all have burdens and we all must press on with them. They will be there whether we just sit down and wallow in pity for ourselves or if we buckle down and push through the heat and the sand storms that come. And that is what makes us who we are...camels.


Chicken eggs

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Did the chicken come first? Or was it an egg? Pointless really. Did the chick in the egg want to come out? Now that is a question worth asking...

All of us in some way or the other like stability and structure. Individually we all like different amounts of those in our lives. Every living creature comes into this world from a place of warmth, comfort, and security. Whether it's the womb or an eggshell, there is always stability and structure. There is no threat of fear or hurt or pain. Do we want to come out, really? Of course we none of us have a choice when it comes to birth. Biological processes will be carried out whether or not we have a choice in the matter. But if we had the power to manipulate parturition...would we come out?

 The egg is well structured. The chick is provided with a strong, protective barrier between itself and the world.  But that chick doesn't have to push its way completely out of the shell that shelters it. It has to make the decision to exert itself to get out, to put forth the effort to push past that strong shell. Why does this fluffy, frail little creature come out of its eternally safe place? Why flirt with the dangers of living?  But we all make that decision. To come from a world of peace, love and light, to live in a broken, hungry world seems condemning. 

We do it because we can only gain eternal life through earth life first. Every stumbling step, every adolescent pimple, every struggling year at college somehow brings us a step closer to our Heavenly Father's side.
I can't remember making such a decision. The Lord put a veil over my mind so that I would make my earth life decisions purely based on my faith and the whisperings of the Spirit. But somehow I feel the weight of the decision every day of my life. As I struggle through small and large trials or even just keeping up with the demands on my time as a busy college student, I recall a little portion of making that decision. Thankfully I've been given a Way. The biggest decision I have to make now, is to give my trust to the One who will lead me on it.



Monday, October 18, 2010

Silence.  I've come to realize that at the worst times in my life...silence is a killer. Silence in the dark hours of night or early morning is deadly because that is when silence can do the most harm. It's emptiness is far too comforting to my self-pity and doubt. My mind doesn't function well in emptiness or silence. There is too much that can be thought about. Too much that needs thinking about. Thus, a chosen pastime to fill the space that silence provides, is found. To think. 

In my experience this kind of torturing silence is always associated with darkness. The dark and I…have an interesting relationship. When I need to hide my tears or just myself from the world, the dark is my most beloved friend. When I feel alone, lost, or afraid, the dark then makes me, my worst enemy.

At this point in my life, darkness and silence are the bane of my existence. But somehow I cannot make my thoughts leave it for the light. That inane part of human nature is to wallow in my own pity, my own depression. To seek comfort from the light and life, is healthy and I recognize that. Somehow it isn't as simple as just going to a place of light. Darkness has a nasty habit of dwelling in the corners of my soul. Like an itch, it sits at the back of my thoughts and picks away at the feeble light within me. I used to have so much light and it was so powerful. It was chipped away because I allowed it to be. 

But in all this empty silence, I find myself humming... Abide With Me, Tis Eventide. The darkness loses its enmity and the silence...the silence. It is still there. It still presses on my weary hope and faith. But now I have something to hold on to. Comfort and succor comes from my Savior. He is the eternal Light that can replenish mine. There is hope. I now have the will to look to the light on the far horizon and not lose faith. I can do this, this thing we call life. And in a blink of my little green eye...I will be with my Savior and Heavenly Father for the eternities. Silence...


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