this week's wisdom

December 29, 2009

wait on the lord,
and keep his way,
and he shall exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
i have seen the wicked in great power,
and spreading himself like a native green tree.
yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
indeed i sought him, but he could not be found.

mark the blameless man, and observe the upright;
for the future of that man is peace.

but the salvation of the righteous is from the lord;
and the lord shall help them and deliver them;
he shall deliver them from the wicked,
and save them,
because they trust him (psalm 37:34-37, 39-40).

and last week's

but no man can tame the tongue. it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

with it we bless our god and father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of god. out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. my brethren, these things ought not to be so. does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom (james 3:8-13).

this week's wisdom

December 15, 2009

i've been racking my brain's trying to figure out what to get my father for christmas. every year he tells me the same thing--books. this year he wanted me to use the money i would spend on him to buy something for the wonder twins, but i don't like that idea, because he should have things under the tree, too. he's my daddy. i want to get him something, because he's always getting me something.

a week or so ago, i asked my mother for ideas. she said to write him a poem and frame it. she also suggested putting a little book together of photos of he and i.

i don't want to do the first thing. i already did that.

the second idea, though, had merit.

so tonight, after an ugly day at work, i play with the boxes of photos mom has stored in my brothers' closet.

at first it's fun, this little scavenger hunt. at first, when i find photos of myself in which i'm obviously happy, i'm glad. in addition to any photos i might find of my daddy and me, i'm setting aside those photos of a happier me, so that when i get sad or when i think my childhood was completely miserable, i can look at those photos and be reminded that it didn't all suck.

the trouble with photos is thus: they can lie just as well as a writer can.

take the one of my younger brother, his wife, their mutual friends and i standing on the porch of the colorado cabin our family once owned. we all look like we're having a good time. everybody's grinning and seemingly happy.

i was eager to get home. i was irritated that they weren't helping me clean up the place. i was irritated with him for rushing me. but you wouldn't know this by looking.

so there's all these photos of me with the shy, but supremely bright smile on my face. i wonder in how many of those photos i actually was happy to have had the picture taken.

anyway. by the end of it, i was depressed, and crying, because i wasn't pretty and poised like mama. and i only found three pictures of only my father and i.

so, i'm a little bummed.

today's wisdom is thus:

therefore we do not lose heart. even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things for which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 corinthians 4:16-18).

ain't i a woman?

December 14, 2009

mom wanted to watch that people speak thing on the history channel. we tuned in just in time to hear this fine speech.

ain't i a woman?
by sojourner truth
delivered 1851 at the women's convention in akron, ohio

well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. i think that 'twixt the negroes of the south and the women at the north, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. but what's all this here talking about?

that man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! and ain't i a woman? look at me! look at my arm! i have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! and ain't i a woman? i could work as much and eat as much as a man - when i could get it - and bear the lash as well! and ain't i a woman?
i have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when i cried out with my mother's grief, none but jesus heard me! and ain't i a woman?

then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers intellect] that's it, honey. what's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? if my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, cause christ wasn't a woman! where did your christ come from? where did your christ come from? from god and a woman! man had nothing to do with him.
if the first woman god ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! and now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

obliged to you for hearing me, and now old sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

(i feel compelled to mention that my diatribe earlier about how a person shouldn't be elected just because she's a woman, there's a part of me that's concerned i might sound like a hypocrite, saying that and digging this, but it's because of this that i can say that.)

hiking in hay

December 13, 2009

this was a good afternoon. this was me hiking up a fairly steep hill to get to this spot on the way to hay's bluff which is near the town of hay-on-wye in wales. this was me traipsing about in a field covered in sheep shit to get to this spot. those little brown specks you see near the bottom? yeah, that. this was me in the chilly, windy, welsh afternoon underneath a fabulous sky overlooking a fabulous countryside.

the first picture gets bigger if you click on it. the second one doesn't. sorry for that.

that scene in the 2005 version of pride and prejudice during which elizabeth bennett is standing on the cliff reveling in the warmth and the wind, this was my version of that moment.

yeah, i know. i'm not on a cliff. i did mention the hill was steep, right? i was almost there, and i could've gone on, but i had to pee. i wasn't sure if i went on that i would make it back without certain events transpiring.

the help and the hindrance

December 8, 2009

the benefit of carrying around all this baggage is that sometimes i find things inside that i'd neglected to notice i'd packed for the journey.

today, i woke up at ten, shoved the ugly memories of yesterday's unpleasantness aside, texted my stylist to see what time my pedicure appointment was, texted my trainer to see if could come in today for a refresher course which i badly need (he didn't reply, and i'm thinking it's because i stood him up a couple of weeks ago), snuggled back in bed and watched an episode of law and order: special victims unit, played on the computer, got my pedicure, got lunch, filled the prescriptions for the sinus infection diagnosed last thursday.

spent an hour and a half at my younger brother's house. my nephew's walking. short journeys. you park the boy on his feet near your knees and he runs headlong into your chest with his arms outstretched. we're working on balance and control.

my niece is still perfectly content to crawl.

most of the time when i'm in my younger brother's presence, i feel small. spinsterly. here's my baby brother, gainfully employed, making twice as much money as i do, well-respected by his coworkers and management team, residing in his own home, happily married with two beautiful babies and a close, comfortable circle of friends who enjoy his company. he is thriving. he is the epitome of this. to top it all off, he's as intelligent as i am, but he's also emotionally and socially stable.

he has everything i wanted for myself. and i constantly feel as though i'm a disappointment to him. he used to be proud of me. he used to marvel at my strength.

i was driving home from his place to have dinner with my mother when i had another epiphany.

a decade or so ago, in my last year of college and the year or two that followed, my older brother was living in houston. my parents would travel a lot more because their children had become adults and they trusted us to fend for ourselves.

on top of all the baggage i carry, i'm phobic of several things. one of them, typically, is being home alone. if i'm lucky enough to sleep at night, it's with all the lights in the house burning. my older brother had some idea of this fear i had, though he couldn't understand it.

he had this uncanny knack for showing up at my parents' house almost immediately after their departure. i came to dread this because bad things happened every time he would show. he also had an uncanny knack for disappearing immediately before their arrival.

i used to think he did this because he wanted his own home, but couldn't afford it, so he borrowed my parents' in their absence.

today, as i was driving home, it occurred to me that maybe he had that uncanny knack because he didn't want me to be home alone.

when i spoke of this to my mother, when i mentioned how irritated he was with me and my reaction when bad things happened at the house, that i'd thought of his visits as more of a hindrance and made my opinion obvious to him, she thought maybe his irritation was because he'd failed to help, to support me.

and i see now how he might've felt as though he was a disappointment to me.

i used to be proud of him. i used to marvel at his strength.

i can't fix that. but it's nice to think that maybe he'd meant well.

this week's wisdom

we are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed--always carrying about in the body the dying of the lord jesus, that the life of jesus also may be manifested in our body (2 corinthians 4:8-10).

last night i dreamt that stupid boy from earlier this year and i were still talking, still friends. i didn't remember it right away when i woke. i've had dreams like this before. not about stupid boy, but about other people i'd like to call friends who weren't actually friends. some of them are people i've known since i was ten. some of them have looked me in the eyes and said they loved me. yeah, i can see that you do. one of the dreams upset me so much upon remembering it that i curled up in my bed, on my side and cried. i'd been up for five minutes, max.

dreams like this leave me feeling hungover.

my inability to be punctual is supremely close to getting me unemployed, as if i can afford that. okay. fine. i am supremely close to getting me unemployed.

my fat ass is supremely close to weighing a hundred-fifty pounds, which i know doesn't sound so bad, except my scrawny, tissue-filled bones and screwed-up ligaments can't handle that weight very well.

i am alone and lonely.

and angry. i'm angry today. and most of this anger is directed toward myself.

i think of all the others out there whose lives are far more challenging than mine. i've friends who are in severe physical pain. i've friends who are dying. i've friends who have family members who are dying. there are children out there who don't believe in the goodness of christmas. there are children out there who don't believe they'll get a warm meal. there are children out there who are being beaten or worse. babies. there are...

this doesn't make me feel any better. it only makes me angrier, actually. angry because then i tell myself i've no right to feel the way i do.

here is where i close my eyes and take a deep breath.

let me love...

random acts

December 2, 2009

so there's this woman who comes into our store fairly frequently. i didn't like her that much when i first met her. my impression of her was similar to that of the one i had for most of our regular customers--i thought she was demanding and difficult.

but over the past three years, i've learned that impression is really, really wrong.

she's this really sweet lady. she's got these mannerisms, this tone of voice and facial expressions that calm in seconds. she genuinely cares about people. she's the epitome of good. she's also a really interesting lady. i spent my lunch break one evening discussing costa rica and her travels there.

she's had a rough few months, though, lately. earlier she had her knee replaced. recently, she'd had cortizone injections in her hip. today, she went in for another cortizone injection, but this one was in her back.

last night, she came through my line and bought a few books. one of them was god's wisdom for your every need. i'd commented on it, asked if we had anymore. we didn't, so i took a second to jot down the isbn, then finished ringing her purchase and sent her off to meet her daughter for dinner.

a few minutes later, she came back, smiled at me, said merry christmas and that she'd been wondering what to get me. i told her she didn't have to get me anything. the pleasure of her company was enough, and i meant it. but she insisted that she had to get me something, so she set one of our small plastic bags on the counter. it's folded in half, and i can tell there's a book in there, and she pushed it a little my way and said that it was for me. i told her again that she really didn't have to get me anything. she told me again that she did. that she'd gone an ordered a copy of the book for herself, and she wanted me to have this one.

this one being the book of wisdom.

so touched by her generosity was i that i had to remind myself i was on the sales floor and my other customers could give a rat's ass about me. they just wanted to pay for their books.

so i suck it up and go back to my spiel.

this week's wisdom is thus:

my son, if your heart is wise,
my heart will rejoice--indeed, i myself;
yes, my inmost being will rejoice
when your lips speak the right things

do not let your heart envy sinners,
but be zealous for the fear of the lord all the day;
for surely there is a hereafter,
and your hope will not be cut off. (proverbs 23:15-18)

do not love the world or the things in the world. if anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. for all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the father but is of the world. and the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he woh does the will of god abides forever. (john 2:15-17)


November 20, 2009

these are a few of my favorite calvin comics. my heart giggles every time i see them. i hope they make yours giggle, too.

hate hates hating

nine times out of ten, when i'm tanking, at least once i will think let me die. since i was eight i've done this.

yesterday, i was trying to find a happy memory of my childhood. that's a difficult thing for me to do.

this morning, i was watching sunday's episode of brothers and sisters. kevin and scotty were on a quest for the perfect surrogate. kevin was quick to dismiss one because she was a genius but socially inept. how easy it is to brush people like me aside. how hurtful.

all my life this happened. because i'm not capable of being easy, breezy, beautiful cover girl.

i don't remember much of my childhood, except that i was miserable. i can't give you many specifics of the frequent, merciless cruelty i faced everyday. but i can tell you that somewhere in my subconscious there's a catolog...a thick book filled with glossy, colored photos and quick, well-coined descriptions of every slight.

it's impossible to let go of something you can't get your hands on. but when i tank, and i'm asking for death, it's because my subconscious has reminded my conscious of the existence of that book.

not too long ago i began a practice that when i think let me die instead i say let me live. because i haven't, really. i've been lots of places. i've seen lots of things. i've withstood a lot of mental and emotional onslaughts. but there's never really been a spring in my step. i've never felt light or free. the kind of passion i've known has generally been associated with anger and rage. that's not the kind of passion i want to know.

this morning, i made myself think that over and over. let me live. and suddenly, i thought let me love.

let me.

grief happens

October 2, 2009

i saw love happens tonight. i like this movie. i like it a lot.

it's a story about a man who seems to have overcome his own grief and now preaches to others about the tools he used to do so. but he hasn't overcome it. his grief has made him bitter; he masks that as well, in front of strangers, especially when he's standing in front of those who've traveled from far and wide to get help from him.

he's forced to go to seattle to give one of his seminars. he's really unhappy about being there, and all he wants to do is get the show over with and make the deal that would rocket him into mad crazy success...the type that means national television shows and dvd releases and products that tie-in to the bullshit he preaches.

he's miserable. and then he meets eloise (aniston), a florist who's got really bad luck with men.

the only bad things i've to say about it are that there's one scene out of a whole bunch that's a tad bit cheesy and that i wish they'd used music that's not been used in movies before. i realize that sometimes there's a song that really fits a scene and not using it because someone else already did would be wrong, but with the exception of john hiatt's have a little faith in me, the songs they picked aren't that great. and even then, they used that song in the wrong place.

it's heavy. the writers found the biggest dump truck they could and loaded it up with burke's bullshit and his baggage and that of the people who've sought his assistance. it's a pretty good story, though. those writers gave it humor, too. and despite that heaviness, it's a cute movie.

love happens is rated pg-13 for some language including sexual references. its running time is one hundred-nine minutes.

having said all that...

i miss my brother. grief's a sneaky bastard.

. . .

and if missing him last night wasn't enough, i dreamt i was at a&m, back when he was in the corp, only in this dream he would've been a senior (he got kicked out before that happened, but ... it's my dream, and in it, my brother was good). he was going to be giving some class for his unit on some corp thing, and i, longing to see my brother being good, snuck into his building, to the classroom and started chatting up his fellow cadets (this never would've happened ... back then i was too shy to talk to anyone outside of my family, but hey, it's my dream, and in it, i'm being good, so ...). he hasn't gotten there yet. i chat with a lot of guys. they all say good things about him. i chat with one of his best buddies, one with whom he'd gone to high school (one who now has three children). it's sunny outside. pleasantly warm. a perfect day. and i'm gonna get to see my brother in action. i'm gonna get to see him be the badass i know he can be. but he didn't show, and i woke up before i could figure out why.

of course. why would he be there? he's not here.

. . .

(you gotta love how i go back and forth from one tense to the other. and i never have any idea i'm doing it until i read it weeks later. my mother would not be pleased.)

cardiff bay

September 11, 2009

the boat in the bay made me think of the boats in van gogh's painting.

i liked the way my vacation started with happy boats and finished with them.


September 2, 2009

i spent a day in amsterdam. i hadn't slept on the plane. i got there at eight a.m. and my room wasn't ready. wouldn't be until three. so i went sightseeing on vapors, basically. i walked around a while, had lunch at the hard rock cafe, then went to the van gogh museum and anne frank's house.

i should've done these last two things first. partly because they're both really, really crowded. but more because i was beyond exhausted by the time i got to them.

i took the audio tour at the van gogh museum. part of me was really glad to have done so.

and part of me wasn't.

they say he had epilepsy. my younger brother said he'd thought there'd been talk about him having syphilis.

i say he had an extreme case of bipolar disorder. but i don't know.

more often than not, people will say their favorite works of his are starry, starry night, or ones of the sunflowers or the irises. and they're great paintings.

but they don't move me.

these three, though...

i love their colors. i love their emotions.

the first two make me cry.

the almond blossoms...he painted those for his brother and his wife when he learned they were expecting a child. there's such care in it. such love. but he was in an asylum while he painted it, in more serious throes of agony than he'd experienced. this was done in the last year or two of his life. that he could pull such beauty from him when his mind was being so ravaged...

and then the wheatfields...if memory serves (and i was really, really tired, so it's entirely possible that i've got it wrong, for this and the other), he painted this two days before he died. how bleak. how hopeless.

the narrators of the audio tour said he'd felt he was a burden to everyone.

and here's me, struck by similarity, standing in a too-crowded room, trying to keep the others from seeing me crying.

the boats, though, they're a little better. they make me think of my older brother. let me believe he's in heaven, in a beatifully crafted, brightly colored fishing boat on some grand lake somewhere, with his dog, enjoying the day. this one makes me smile.

a truth universally acknowledged

August 31, 2009

my favorite sweatshirt is one i purchased last year at aggie outfitters at the mall in college station. it's too big for me, but that's one of the reasons i love it. it falls to the middle of my thigh, and the sleeves are long enough that my hands are hidden by the fabric. and it's hooded.

i can get lost in this sweatshirt.

i ain't that scarred when i'm covered up (beth hart -- leave the light on).

and it's thick, good, strong, warm cotton. wearing it is like being wrapped up in a thick, flannel blanket.

but the best thing is the giant 12 imprinted on the front in worn white numbers, trimmed in gold. big, bold blocks of twelfth man.

i wear it when my soul is at its weakest.

i was walking the streets of cardiff at three in the morning, back to the hotel after a quest to find a debit machine so i could get the cash i needed to pay the cab fare for transit from the hotel to the airport.

like any other city, the streets of cardiff at three a.m. look nothing like the streets at three p.m. i marveled at the city's ability to clean up the excessive debris from a drunken night of debauchery in such a short time. if one were to be on those streets at ten a.m., all evidence of the previous night's party would have been swept up and tossed in the garbage. but on this night, as i was walking, i think there might have been two hundred plastic cups broken and crushed on the concrete in front of one bar. i passed a lot of bars.

at three a.m., just like at three p.m., a lot of people are milling about, but the early morning's crowd is dressed dramatically different than the afternoon's, and, instead of anticipating the fine time to come as the afternoon's crowd does, the early morning's bunch are coming down from the high of having that fine time.

and here's me, who's been up for maybe ninety minutes, who's exhausted from a mediocre vacation and a mild depressive episode. i'm shoving my way back to the surface. at least, i'm trying to do so. i've had a good day's rest, and i'm bound for the airport, for family, for home, so i'm a little better.

but better is a fragile thing.

here's me, in my comfort clothes, making my way through the crowds as quickly, as unobtrusively as possible. i'm a little scared, so i don't look at anyone directly. i try not to call too much attention to myself.

but there's that giant, white twelve, and quite a few notice it.

no one says anything. not until i'm a couple of blocks away from the hotel, just around the corner. and i'm thinking almost there, almost there. i'm reveling in the knowledge that i've made it unharmed.

three men walk by me. after they've passed, one of them calls out, hey, twelve! you're not a number! you're a female!

i'm considering saying something when i hear another say, and ugly!

mentally, everything stops. in my head, i just stand there, frozen, shocked, humiliated, hurt, and horrified that my day has begun this way. in my head, i cry. i can almost feel the breath freeze in my lungs and my heart stop, just for a second.

but outside, i appear as though i am unfazed. there's not a hitch in my step that betrays me. there's not a shift in my posture so that my shoulders seem slumped. i keep walking.

it's not normally a shocking sentiment. i've heard this more times, so many more times than i care to recall. it's not new. it's not something i've not told myself more times than i've heard it, in hopes that hearing it would hurt less.

it's that i've not heard it in a while. that i liked my face well enough when i got dressed that morning. that it's been said by someone on the other side of the world.

it's that the sentiment is now universal.

and the sweatshirt, the thing that once provided some small bit of solace, i'll have to get a different one, a new one, for that because this one is now tainted by the taunts of three men i met on the streets of cardiff at three in the morning, and every time i look at it, i'll think of them, of that day, of that ugliness.


August 10, 2009

i hate that tingle
the one that comes just before tears fall
hate how it moves like lightning
up, through the body
down the arms to the tips of fingers
back up again, coming to rest in the skull
pounding, like thunder’s rumble
i hate its chill
the one that seems to freeze everything
everything but my heart and the ocean my eyes become
no one can hold me
or whisper words of comfort
the chill strengthening with each strike of that tingle
like the current of a rapid river
then the tears come
an angry rush of waves
falling endlessly to some unseen shore
no one’s here to hold me
to soothe my soul
my arms bring no warmth
no words i could whisper would comfort
for it’s my voice, my soul that aches
no one would hold me
i’m alone
i hate that, too

the structure outside in the park reminds me of a whirlpool, of that night with you, lying on your sofa with your arms around me, your legs entwined with mine, your words beating on, then breaking my happy, idyllic bubble, sinking me, of drowning, my tears leaking onto your shirt, mopped up with your tissue.
a boy whizzes past on his skateboard. the wheels over the concrete sound like water down the drain. there i go. there we go. but everything goes on around me, just as it had
seconds before, reminding me that this was years ago and not yesterday, that i have resurfaced. memories of you pull me
back under, but not as deeply as before, and not nearly as long
there’s laughter, squeals, joy in almost everything. a
girl hangs upside down and
grins. i watch
from inside

night terrors
half past midnight
his body fails him, falls, breaks
his spirit flees
miles away, my parents sleep
more miles, my pain begins
stomach cramps and surliness

a stranger finds him
fifty feet from the entrance
broken, face-down, dead on concrete
they sleep
the pain is fierce
i leave my friends for my apartment
the streets are slick with mist
i worry i won’t make it
it won’t rain, but it can’t be dry

another stranger, an officer
bound to protect and serve
wakes my parents
they lie in bed holding each other, crying together
i weed my musical garden
stop for a second to admire one of its blooms
a song of loss, of grief, of forced solitude
not even the trees

i step outside
smoke a cigarette
white smoke rises and fades into white sky
it won’t rain, but it can’t be dry
i sleep on the sofa

the phone
my father wakes me
my brother’s gone

have another cookie

August 8, 2009

a friend gave me this one. it tastes much better.

we should always remember that we are special and have been called to be a voice of encouragement and affirmation to this generation. many times we hear a word of discouragement, and it keeps us stagnant because we believe the lie that we are not able. what we must remember is that god says all things are possible to those who believe. we must put aside every word that comes our way trying to keep us down and believe what god says about us. the bible says we are victors and not victims, the head and not the tail, we are above only and not beneath. (matthew 17:20) (deuteronomy 28:13)

the lord sees us as a can-do people, but many times we believe what others say about us rather than believing the truth of what god says. be encouraged to take part in the mission that god has for you. let your light shine, your voice be heard, your talents be displayed, and simply follow the path that god has prepared for you. believe in yourself as god believes in you and all things will be possible. (matthew 5:16)

fortune cookies

August 7, 2009

god wants me to know that i can only give away what i already have inside myself. true giving happens when i am overflowing from the inside and cannot help but share, when there is so much love within me that it has to flow to others or i would burst open. there is no thinking involved, no willpower in such sharing. it just flows out. if i have to force myself to be kind, to love, to feel compassion, i've missed the first step of filling in myself with these emotions.


once upon a time there was a verizon kiosk at the top of the escalator at the talbot's entrance of the mall. this is where i would go to pay my bills and fix the glitches of my cellular. i'd kind of become decent acquaintances with two of the men who worked there.

one of those men and i would discuss, quite frequently, the different ways in which men and women handle relationship complications. more often than not, the things he would share with me about how men think wouldn't be that much of a shock. for example, guys think that having sex fixes everything. no. really?

we'd been talking about a woman's fix. i've mentioned it before, i think. if i've had a bad day or i'm not feeling well, the best remedy is to be held. women like that sort of thing.

which he knew, and he shrugged it off.

so i explained it a little better.

sometimes, my emotions become so intense, so overpowering, that i'm more aware of them than i am my physical presence. it's as though they numb every physical sensation i might have, so i can't feel anything but that emotion. and being held reminds me that however big that emotion might be, it's not bigger than me.

he got this awed look on his face. and then he said, wow. that's deep.

i hadn't planned on writing anything today. well, i never plan on writing anything, to be honest. but i'd told myself i'm not blogging today. i've done a lot of blogging lately, and it kind of wears me out, this thinking, so i try not to do it so often. plus, i was feeling like i'd been a little too serious lately.

but today, i logged onto facebook, and i saw that one of my friends had done this thing -- i'm not really sure what to call's not a quiz, because it doesn't ask any's more like opening a fortune cookie. i was interested, so i clicked a link and then another, and i got my fortune.

but, i'm pretty sure god knew i knew this already.

generosity and compassion, even kindness sometimes, these are not aspects of my character that require improvement.

but then, maybe that's the point. maybe i'm supposed to make the level of kindness i offer as strong as generosity and compassion.

. . .

this was where it was going to stop, and in so doing, this particular blog, i think, would've been a little lighter, but...then came this:

oh. i forgot. i took some quizzie a while back that said i came across as restrained. i remember thinking it a laughable result at the time. but i've thought about it fairly frequently since then...

my management team thinks i need to work harder on masking my personal thoughts and feelings and focusing on the work at hand. like the moment i walk in the door, all the personal shit should be left outside.

what they don't understand is i do a pretty impressive job of masking it already. i do.

i remember being twenty minutes late to work once because i'd had a really nasty bout with wrath an hour before i was supposed to be there. i scared the crap out of myself. that's how ugly it was. me and wrath, we go round pretty regularly, and it's never, never pleasant. but this time...this time, i laid in bed, raging, and there was this part of me that felt like i was floating above and looking down on my rabid self, and that part of me cried. quiet, slow, slippery tears. it took some time to recover.

so...i can only give away what i have within myself...

generosity, compassion, a decent amount of kindness, sadness, anxiety, fear...wrath.


today had been a pretty okay day.


August 2, 2009

i was told i would never amount to much.

i heard this so often as a girl that by the time i became an adult, i was more confident of my insignificance than anything else. i am not that important. i am not leaving my mark on this world with the work i perform. i do not have a tight circle of friends. i am not always pleasant company. i am not the one on whom others generally rely for amusement.

when we were getting ready for my older brother's memorial service, my mom gave me the task of getting the word out to his friends that such a service would be taking place. i was baffled by this. why, why would she pick me, and not my younger brother, or better yet, one of my older brother's friends?

this was his gift: he could befriend anyone in a matter of seconds. i, on the other hand, am clumsy and shy...and insignificant.

i did the best thing i could think of doing. i drove to one of his oldest, closest friend's place of employment and passed the task to him.

this was on a wednesday. the service was on a friday.

i hadn't expected that many people to show up.

i underestimated the force of my brother's friendship...or overestimated the amount of damage his demons had done to diminish that force.

there must've been a hundred people there. maybe, to you, that's a small number. but, given the fact that these people had two days' notice and some of them were coming in from as far as new york...i was astounded and impressed and incredibly touched.

today's mass was about nourishment again.

apparently, i hadn't quite gotten the message.

maybe god should make a bigger sign.

i worked at cashwrap today. next to the cafe (where i have had the good fortune not to work), cashwrap is my least favorite place. almost. children's on a weekend night would beat it, but during the week, it may be a tie.

anyway. the customers tend to treat our string of registers like they would one register in a grocery store. they meander to the check-out line, and then they bunch up behind the customer standing at the closest register. as if crowding the cashier is going to get her to work more quickly.

(chances are really good, folks, that crowding her will have the opposite effect, and she's most likely to make a mistake with the customer before her, so back off...but she can't say that.)

there's a giant sign that stands at chest level that reads: please WAIT HERE.

they're oblivious to this.

or they don't care that it's there.

one of my friends and i were talking about obstacles the other day. i'm of the mind that there are two kind: ones that god puts before you to discourage you from going down that path any further; and ones that god puts in your path that you must overcome.

one of the songs we sang at mass was strength for the journey. not a good song, by the way, but that's besides the point. one of the verses was comprised of this:
how many times have you doubted my word?
how many times must i call your name?

how many times has he been telling me to do this thing or that thing, and i've ignored him? how many times has he told me, and i've not heard? how many times have i turned away from obstacles i was meant to overcome? how many times have i wasted effort on attempting to hurdle one instead of walking away from it, as he'd intended? how many times has he shown me the answers, and i've not seen?

we also sang there will be bread. i say we. i didn't sing much this time. i didn't know the songs. and i didn't like them very much. but anyway...
we feel so very helpless
though our gifts appear too little, we must have faith that he will increase them

like the five loaves and two fishes...

we read a continuation of that parable.

so the song, the parable and the homily, all of these things covered the notion that god will make them (food, talent...whatever) greater.

that instead of thinking of our own nourishment, we should focus on how we can nourish others.

all these years, i've focused on that one path i'm supposed to find and follow, the talent god wants me to share more than any others, that one thing i'm supposed to do with my life.

i've been trying to see the big picture.

my mom said, though, that providing nourishment could be so simple, so seemingly insignificant as complimenting a woman on her hairstyle or attire. that one compliment could be the thing that brightens what could be an incredibly bleak day.

why do i always have to make things so much more complicated than they need to be? how can someone as intelligent as i am be so obtuse?

see? there i go again. reinforcing the notion that i am insignificant. that, that is simple. i wish that it weren't.

i wish i could get it out of my head that significance isn't measured by the work you've done or will do, or the number of friends you have or the number of times you inspire laughter.

four-letter words

July 31, 2009

so, i've been trying for years to write a book. a love story. the cheesy shit most chicks write because, well, that's what most chicks read. and underneath all the sarcasm and crassness and occasional tomboyishness, i happen to be a sucker for that cheesy shit.

i am soft. i blame this on my father. my mother says i'm just like him. when i was younger and having trouble making friends, my father would often suggest to me that i emulate my mother. oh, how easy my world would be if that were possible. every time he said that, my heart would break a little because i could never be like her. always, always, i was told of how i should be ... by my parents, my peers, my educators and employers. i am a four-letter word.

anyway, so the past few days, i've been tanking ... badly. today i woke up, and all i wanted to do was stay in bed and sleep all day. it's a good day for it, after all. rainy and gloomy. but i've bills to pay and whatnot ...

and five hundred days of summer came out in wide release today. yay! i've been waiting for this movie for months. i might see it a dozen times. it's just that good. probably the best movie to come out this year.

so i went to work to collect my check and get a cup of hot cocoa (because that always makes me feel better), and then i went to the banks to transfer money so that i could pay those bills, and then i went back to work to get a jug of water (because while hot chocolate makes me feel better mentally, physically it makes me hot -- yes, i know -- and jittery). and then i went to the movie.

there's a scene in which joseph gordon-levitt's character's sister is telling him that maybe when he looks back on his relationship, he should look not only on what was good about it but also on what was bad about it.

do people really think this doesn't happen?

one of the guys i'd dated suggested, basically, that i'd colored my memories with emotion and that made those memories different for me than for him.

okay. fine. i can see how one might think that. it makes sense.

i can remember that he emailed me on st. patrick's day. that i hadn't been looking. i'd gotten up at ten or so, played spades on the computer for a while and gone to work. that it was a glorious day, the first glorious day we'd had in some time. that work went well for a change, that a group of coworkers and i went to friday's afterward and chatted and drank for an hour or so. that i took the long way home. that i'd checked my email accounts (all three of them, the last of which was one i'd not checked in several weeks), and there in the last, sent that day, was his letter.

and it was a damned fine letter. i've a thing for guys who can communicate well.

i remember telling him, later, of this coincidence. he told me that he'd considered writing me the week before but had decided against it. i'd asked him if he had written me on the tenth and i'd replied on the seventeenth, if he would've replied to my email. he'd said no.

after a fight with the clothes in my closet because i could no longer fit in most of them, i showed up at his apartment and he'd had a lone, long-stem rose waiting for me. because i'd been late, he'd said. that was the first time i'd ever gotten flowers from a guy who was not a relative, and it couldn't have been a better occasion.

that the first time he kissed me was horrible, so much so that i worried over it for hours afterward. that the second time was awesome, so much so that i was wound up for hours afterward.

i remember him taking me to first friday at the blue star art complex in the king william's district of san antonio. i'd never been. he lead me up a narrow flight of stairs, my hand in his. i asked where we were going. an elderly woman on her way down looked at me, smiled, pointed and said, up. indeed. i was going up. it was marvelous. i don't think i've been that happy since.

bolting from his apartment because i didn't want to, couldn't let him see me cry. i made it to the phillips sixty-six gas station across the street, to the attendant, who sold me a carton of marlboro lights in a box and a bic lighter, to halfway between the door of the station and the door of my truck before i broke. right there, on the concrete, hunched next to the rocks that were the station's shell, for all the world to see. i ended up cruising loop 1604 -- twice -- chain smoking and crying until i couldn't anymore. i don't think i've been that miserable since.

i remember the way he'd smile at me. the way he said my name when he was happy with me. the way he said it when he wasn't. the way he smelled.

i remember everything. everything. and that is how it should be.

a friend of mine asked me the other day why i'd not finished my book. i'd told her that i can't pretend everybody gets to have happy. that it makes me sad to try to write it. and then i saw this movie, and was reminded of how much i love fate and coincidence and how much i should believe in them. i remembered how much i used to do so and that i missed doing that.

i'd made myself focus more on the bad things about love. i'd let it become a four-letter word.

my friend recommends...

July 27, 2009

...and i shall post it here so i do not forget the wisdom:

psalm forty
1 i waited patiently for the lord
he turned to me and heard my cry

2 he lifted me out of the slimy pit
out of the mud and mire
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand

3 he put a new song in my mouth
a hymn of praise to our god
many will see and fear
and put their trust in the lord

4 blessed is the man
who makes the lord his trust
who does not look to the proud
to those who turn aside to false gods

5 many, o lord, my god
are the wonders you have done
the things you planned for us

no one can recount to you
were i to speak and tell of them
they would be too many to declare

6 sacrifice and offering you did not desire
but my ears you have pierced
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require

7 then i said, "here i am, i have come
it is written about me in the scroll

8 i desire to do your will, o my god
your law is within my heart

9 i proclaim righteousness in the great assembly
i do not seal my lips,
as you know, o lord.

10 i do not hide your righteousness in my heart
i speak of your faithfulness and salvation
i do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly

11 do not withhold your mercy from me, o lord
may your love and your truth always protect me

12 for troubles without number surround me
my sins have overtaken me, and i cannot see
they are more than the hairs of my head
and my heart fails within me

13 be pleased, o lord, to save me
o lord, come quickly to help me.

14 may all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace

15 may those who say to me, "aha! aha!"
be appalled at their own shame

16 but may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you
may those who love your salvation always say
"the lord be exalted!"

17 yet i am poor and needy
may the lord think of me
you are my help and my deliverer
o my god, do not delay

sunday's mass

since the mass the sunday before last had affected me so, i guess i kind of hoped that this past sunday's would do so as well. this one was about nourishment -- that the good lord would provide all that the body, heart and soul required. the mass included, of course, the parable of the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes.

it's a great parable.

it's one i've heard so often that i hold little fascination for it now.

and as i headed home, my heart was full of cynicism.

so that mass, i'd thought, had been like most of the others which i'd attended -- an hour of monotonous drivel paired with the required, expected and meaningless responses to that drivel. we are like robots. i've a hard time believing god would want us to worship him in that way.

but today, i was watching miss pettigrew lives for a day, and i was reminded of the nourishment my body, heart and soul lack.

i am not an expert on love. i am an expert on the lack of love ... and that is a fate from which i wish more fervently to save you (guinevere pettigrew)."

to quote miss pettigrew, i've not eaten in a very long time.

not literally. i had oven-baked chicken, salad, corn freshly cut from the cob and a cheesy roll about twenty minutes ago.

metaphorically...metaphorically, i'm starving.

let me believe. let me forget.

July 20, 2009

so yesterday, while i was on that miserable date at the zoo, it started sprinkling. i yelled at the heavens to do more than that. i bargained with god, and yeah i know that i shouldn't do that, but i did it anyway. i said that if he would let it rain, really rain, i'd go to church for the next four sundays.

it really rained. not as long as i would've liked, but a deal's a deal.

i'm not so fond of my church, so i went to a different one. today, it was a better one. (i'm kind of the mind that all church is the same...boring.)

but today's mass seemed to be tailored for me.

it was about the sheep who stray from the shepherd.

when i was a little girl and my family would take vacations to the other parts of the country, the moment we'd checked in and unloaded our baggage into our hotel rooms, i'd take off. i'm not sure i'd tell my folks where i was going, just that i was. it would never be too far, but i was young enough that it must've worried them a little bit. i've a habit of wandering off. still do.


they left me in a gallery in santa fe once. i'd found a print i liked. it wasn't a great print, but something about it appealed to me. it was of a girl standing in a field, holding a candle, with one hand cupped around the flame to keep the wind from extinguishing it. the colors were sort of muted -- not pastel, just softer, like everything had been cast in shadow. there were mountains and a house and a sunset in the distance. not an exemplary print, by any means. but for some reason, my interest had been so captured that i'd knelt on the floor in front of it and gawked. my parents and my brothers called to me a number of times that they were leaving. i'd call back, like i was getting ready to get going, but i wouldn't move. could only sit there. and sit i did, for a very long time.

finally i got up, and they were gone.

so used to wandering on my own was i, though, that i thought nothing of it. i was quite confident that they'd realize they'd left me and would come back for me.

i'm not sure how long it took them to come to that realization. i vaguely remember chatting with the gallery owner while scoping out the rest of the pictures she'd had on display.

my mom came in and got me. she thanked the owner for the trouble. we went on about our vacation.

a week or so later, my parents got a package in the mail. i stood with my mother at the kitchen table in the breakfast room, looking over her shoulder as she unfurled the roll of prints that they'd purchased at that gallery. and there, amidst the pictures my parents had chosen, was the print i'd admired. the woman had included it at no charge because she'd enjoyed watching me study it. i'd been eleven or so at the time. i remember being in awe of the woman's generosity. people didn't normally do nice things for me then.

i'm still in awe of that generosity, actually. i still have the print.

the point of that diatribe is this: if a sheep's got a habit of wandering, isn't the shepherd somewhat responsible for keeping an eye on the sheep and making sure she doesn't get lost?

i feel so lost right now. i've felt that way for twenty-eight years, and the older i get, the more lost i become.

one of my friends has a song, come on get higher, by matt nathanson on her blog. it's kind of country. i'm not so much a fan of country music, but every now and then some song will strike a chord. this one's got something in it about make you believe; make you forget.

oh, how i wish i could.

i almost cried during mass twice today. i couldn't sing because the lyrics kept choking me up. and the singing's my favorite part of mass.

i make it a point not to cry in public. i used to do it all the time as a child when i was in school. and then i learned to hide.

we sang the prayer of st. francis:

where there's despair in life, let me bring hope
where there is darkness only light
and where there's sadness ever joy

and, later, the gift of finest wheat:
you satisfy the hungry heart

and as i write this...

the fray's vienna:
there's really no way to reach me

depeche mode's blasphemous rumors:
but i think that god's got a sick sense of humor
and when i die, i expect to find him laughing

train's when i look to the sky:
when i feel like there's no one
that will ever know me
there you are to show me

keane's somewhere only we know:
simple thing, where have you gone
i'm getting old, and i need something to rely on
so tell me when, you're gonna let me in
i'm getting tired, and i need somewhere to begin

indigo girls' closer to fine:
darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
and lightness has a call that's hard to hear
i wrapped my fear around me like a blanket

and rachel yamagata's elephants:
all i want is to just forget you

i am destined to remember, and the memories make me wary. how'm i supposed to find my way back when i've wandered off so far? how could he have let me wander off that much? and why does it feel like there's no one there?

because my world could use some color

July 10, 2009

these were taken at the abbey of our lady of the holy trinity monastery in huntsville, utah, where my great-uncle resides. the green-gold photos were taken three years ago, i think, and the violet ones were taken one month ago.

you wanna see more of it? go here.

it's featured in a book! read it.

the mirror has two faces

my second summer vacation has started. this week, i'm staying within texas' state lines. tomorrow, i will do all those responsible things i've been neglecting, like getting the rear license plate's light fixed (which will most likely mean some circuitry or something in phineas' rear will have to be repaired because he's got water in one of the taillights, which is probably shorting the license plate light. assuming of course that it's necessary to fix all this, i can't see the repairs coming cheaply. i had to buy an acura, after all.) then there's the matter of getting him inspected (which is why i'll be fixing the light and any other problem phin may have that pertains to said light) and registered.

i've been neglecting the inspection for eleven months and the registration for seventeen.

i also have to find a current copy of phin's insurance.

all this so that i can drive him to austin on saturday and beaumont on tuesday and wherever else i may care to go.

and then i have to buy a new swimsuit for sunday, because one of my friends and i are going to schlitterbahn galveston, and i can't very well go there wearing my tyr workout suit. not sexy. not that i'm trying to be...but i'd rather not go looking like i was on my way to a swim meet.

as if the flabbiness of my thighs wouldn't make any attempt to appear that way pathetic.

that was a clumsy construct. i'm tired. hopefully you know what i meant.

there's good news for today.

my store manager complimented me today. he said he enjoyed working with me this week and that i'd done well. that was really nice to hear. probably one of the better compliments i'd received from management in some time.

then there's bad news.

one of my favorite films is the family stone. i love how perfectly it depicts the myriad of emotions that swirls within a family's dynamic and the war between that family's joy for the holiday and the stress of everyone being in one house together and dealing with each others' idiosyncrasies.

i really shouldn't write when i'm this tired.


i feel like a bad combination of meredith and amy. take meredith's anxiety and awkwardness and pair them with amy's irritableness and judgmentalness and there's me.

and that scene when meredith's crying, isn't there anybody that loves me?

i cry every time i watch that.

i know. it's just a movie. i shouldn't be so affected by it. and plenty of people do love me.

but most of those people have someone on whom to lean when they're weary.

and i know. this appears to be a recurring motif. contrary to what it might seem, i'm not looking for pity. i've said that before, too.

she may be weary. women do get weary...

when my older brother passed away, at the memorial service we held for his friends, and for the next few weeks following his death, i was so concerned with making sure everyone else was okay that i didn't take much time for myself. so i put on this brave front, like i'm fine. and then, when i'd gotten back to san antonio and settled in, i fell apart. and there was no one there to help me get back up.

self-reliancy's a bitch.

why do i watch these movies when they do this?

it's like that stupid carrot dangling before my face, but always just out of reach.

just before meredith's moment of despair, she confronts this family. she knows how they see her. she nails it. to them, she is a spoiled, crazy, racist, bigot bitch from bedford.

i wonder how the world sees me. i can never tell. sometimes i don't care because, inevitably, it doesn't matter. but sometimes, i forget whom i've become and have to rely on who i was to define my current sense of self. and because whom i used to be was so unlikable, i'd rather look to others to remind me of who i am now.

i've days, like today while i was on my way to work, during which i feel pretty. and because i want to be able to see that reflected in the mirror as opposed to the hideous sight i presented as a child (or because i think somehow that feeling pretty will be enough of a transformation to make my plain features presentable), i'll pause as i pass a surface that provides a glimpse of my reflection or i'll flip the visor down and look. and on days like today, i'll be greeted with that plainness, and i'll grimace and quickly flip the visor up or hurry past the glass because who i think i am and who i am are two totally different things.

oh, how i'd love it if they were the same.

and, though there's the occasional moment while watching the film that my heart is satisfied with seeing others get their happy endings -- and i'm not naive enough to think those happy endings are actual endings and everybody's hunky dory from then on...i've spent my life observing others, so i'm well aware of how things really are. anyway, while my heart is temporarily satisfied and my spirits are lifted a bit, the satisfaction and the soaring are always so shortlived.

as soon as the movie stops, i'm reminded of my reality.

why do i do this to myself?

on a slightly brighter note, i suppose if my life and my emotions were as placid as the waters of my parents' often unoccupied swimming pool, i would be as unhappy as i am with their tempestuousness. i imagine this is rather like prefering the grass of others' pastures. someone's is always greener.


February 11, 2009

one of the guys i knew in high school suffered a brain aneuryism today. doctors could operate, but the chances of his surviving the surgery are slim, so they won't.

he and i weren't friends. i've seen him once since graduation. he'd been married. i found out today he and his wife were divorced. i was sorry to hear that.

sorrier to hear of this.

he was one of those few who never picked on me. at least, i don't remember him doing so. if he did, and i really doubt that he did, it was so slight that i could overlook it.

i remember him being a good person...the comic relief.

i prayed today. i don't do that too often.

. . .

he died on friday, february 13th.

i suppose he would've thought that was amusing.