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Category Archives: Life

Identify yourself, blog.

In my loooong spell of not writing, one of the things I did (besides hiding and wallowing incessantly) was read blogs upon blogs upon blogs (Of course doing this led me to more wallowing and self loathing, but let’s not talk about that now, shall we?)

This sick habit brought upon me the stark realization that most blogs had some sort of identity; for example, they talked about travel, writing, houses, business, food… you know– topics. I quickly realized that mine was sort of like a lost dog (without a name), wandering aimlessly in the night, far, far away from home, without one of those creepy GPS chips that would bring it home safely.  I realized it was sort of the Seinfeld of blogs… meaning, it was really about, well, nothing in particular. Oh.

Really, this shouldn’t have surprised me in the least bit, because frankly, I’m a bit like a lost (nameless) dog wandering aimlessly in the night (and there is no way I’d ever have GPS implanted under my skin). I like to think about a lot of things (sometimes obsessively). How could I limit myself to just one topic? The horror! The—GASP– commitment!  Run, run quickly!

And run is exactly what I did for oh, about 9 months (ONE baby comment on that line and I’m hunting you down and kicking your ass, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back style). When I finally sat down to face writing again, I realized this blog is simply about life. Uh, obviously, right? Ok, fine.  I know that’s a broad statement, but that’s what life is—a broad variety of ‘topics’ flowing together. Some days, it’s about nothing. Some days it’s emotional, some days it’s funny. Some days you take trips, others you sit at home and wonder what the hell went wrong.

So there you have it—my blog’s identity is that its identity is ever changing, much like its writer. There will be bullshit, travel, nothingness, observations, and maybe sometimes an inspiration or two (of the most cynical variety, naturally). So there it is– my blog’s identity is multilayered— sometimes I travel, but mostly I just think, observe or write. What more do you need?

(That is, of course, a rhetorical question. I fully understand cheese, bread and the movie Goodfellas are essential to life)

But Elephants are SO Cute.

Sure they are.

Unless, of course, they are standing in the middle of your room, and you try to ignore them. Then, they tend to be a big ol’ problem.

Don't blame your failures on me, woman!

Yes, I suffered a serious lack of writing.

What are you, my boss? No? Then leave me be! I’m kidding. Please don’t leave, because then I’d be down to 3 readers, and I hate things that are uneven.

Let’s just say I’ve been…. Underground. No need to bore you with the details… I mean, it’s not like I’m a storyteller or anything. Wait, what? Oh, ignore this whole line.

I wish I could promise I’d never leave you again, but that involves commitment, something which I’m really not good friends with.  But seriously, this should make you like me more, what with the whole ‘she might not be around forever so read her while you can’ thing floating in the air.  It’s like being a ‘limited edition’ or having an expiration date.

Regardless, we shall resume from here and pretend like nothing ever happened, because that’s what old friends do.

The truth is, sometimes artists suffer at the hands of their own craft. The muse becomes the tormentor, the art becomes a plague, so we avoid, avoid, avoid.  I found myself avoiding, but you can’t ignore your love forever, right? (What’s that? You can? I must have missed that option. Damn. Oh well, on with the writing!)

As they say, the only way out is through.

Thanksgiving Thoughts: The Anti Thanksgiving Post.

Why turkey? Is it because it only comes in one size—gigantic—and not small and cute like those cute little roaster chickens we eat during the rest of the year?

Whose idea was it that we should all gather with family? Is it to show us how grateful we are to be able to leave them?

Have you ever noticed that on the week of Thanksgiving there is a ton of food in the house, but nothing to eat Monday through Wednesday? Once all that Thursday cooking is done, the fridge is empty, and so is your wallet because you spent your entire food budget on food for just one day.

Want to see the scariest place on earth? Visit a supermarket on Thanksgiving week. It’s as if everyone just suddenly remembered a holiday we celebrate every year at the same time was upon them.

Seriously, why do we eat the same meal every year? It’s a little creepy, almost as if we’ve been brainwashed. (Yes, I do understand what the word tradition means, but if you’re asking me that, you clearly don’t understand what the word sarcastic means)

Who are you fooling with that fancy china? No one gives a crap what their plate looks like when it’s slathered in gravy.

Why does Thanksgiving have to “kick off” the holiday season? Do we really need a whole “season” for holidays?

Who decided that standing on line at four am (not for a club) all drunk on turkey was a fun idea? How in the hell did they get that many people to buy into it??

Does anyone really watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade?  Have you seen those creepy floats?  I mean really, people.

 

It’s official—Thanksgiving is an obligatory pain in the ass, and I’m grateful that every year I get to say it.

 

I hope you all survive the endless eating and encounters with family 🙂

Just Before Sunset.

The air is soft and comforting; a soft  blanket of breeze flutters the hair, caresses the face. The earth is covered in peaceful silence. An occasional bird sings, perhaps a love song to its mate; inspired by the moment.  The dropping sun emits a soft glow like candlelight, soothing and romantic, like golden liquid dripping from azure sky.  The color of the grass is meandering… retiring summer green, paving the way for a cascade of colorful leaves. The wildflowers are shrinking, but no less radiant—fading purple flowers on fading green grass, a perfect compliment from the paintbrush of Mother Nature, a final goodbye to the season.  I feel compelled to linger, to feel the fresh air delight my skin; make my lungs feel pure and refreshed.  I stare at the trees, which in days will sport the decadent colors of fall before giving way to the stoic skeleton arms of winter.

What Aisle is the Inspiration On, Please?

Writers are usually keen observers of life. You will often times find us just sitting and staring, semi-detached and apart from life; an outsider looking in.  We usually prefer it that way… just stick us in a comer and let us be—don’t talk to us, but make sure to talk around us. We are typically great listeners with 24/7 thoughts. Sadly, though, those 24/7 thoughts sometimes keep us locked in our own heads (there is so much there to entertain us!), desperately trying to catalog chaotic thoughts and harvest only those that inspire and move us. Sometimes, the harvest is rotten, and we are forced to go back and listen some more. And more, and more, and more….you get the picture. It is, honestly, exhausting at times.  At times, there are many thoughts, but nothing inspiring, leaving us desperately searching for something inspiring, which is a problem. Inspiration usually comes when you least expect it, when you are most free from the obsessive qualities that inhabit a writer in the everyday world. 

Oh, how I sometimes wish they just sold inspiration in a pretty little box at Rite Aid.  ((Sigh))

Ode to Pablo Neruda.

The words ooze sensuality on the page in a way so romantic, even the most cynical person (myself included) cannot help slowly becoming a victim of the swooning.  It’s steamy tropical heat rising off the pages. Lush lyricism enchants, the hands on the book begin to sweat. It mesmerizes. It’s the highest extension of passion on paper.  It’s at once heart melting, heart breaking, gut wrenching and emotional enough to make you want to find a lost love and pour out long held emotions at their feet. It removes all sense of logic and rationalization. The feelings are those of love, the pain that comes with love, and the all too familiar feeling of loss that inevitably follows true love. That is what is so special about Neruda; he writes of the knee weakening love that should be approached with relish and passion because he is certain that is will not stay perfectly unbroken forever. It cannot. No love ever does. And therein lays the magic of poetry, of Neruda. He loves with reckless abandon and suffers the consequences. 

Certain books, especially– 100 Love Sonnets and 20 Love Poems and A Song of Despair– should come with a warning: there is no telling what you may do once intoxicated.  

 

From 100 Love Sonnets

…I loved you without knowing I did; I searched to remember you.
I broke into houses to steal your likeness,
though I already knew what you were like. And, suddenly,
when you were there with me I touched you, and my life
stopped…

From I Like For You To Be Still in Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
And you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you.
I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it’s not true.

 From my personal favorite, Tonight I Can Write In Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

 

 Unlike what you may think, I like to read Mr. Neruda when I’m floating on a sea of despair. He shows how pain can be lyrical, and also necessary.  I also know there are many unflattering things about his personal world, but they are erased from my memory the moment I encounter his words; an effect not unlike that which happens when you find yourself knee deep in love.

 

Gracias por mostrarnos su alma, Senor Neruda.

A Love Letter to the People of Costa Rica.

Pura Vida! Pura Vida! Puuura Veeeeda! I hear this happy phrase constantly, its joyful energy suspicious to my cynical American ears. It dances around me, like perfectly planned choreography, just waiting for me to catch on, join in the dance.

Pura Vida. It flows out of the lips, curling them ever so slightly into a smile, whether you like it or not. My American style skepticism is on high alert. Who are these cheerful people, throwing around such a blissful saying with such genuine happiness? I thought happy people, real live happy people, were just the stuff that myths and movies were made of? Could it be that I have found a treasure trove of happiness in this little nature drenched country?  Suddenly; there was clarity—the true key as to why Costa Rica is able to cast such a spell on those who visit, leaving a permanent imprint on the heart. The secret, my friends, is the people.

As I meander through the crooked streets, I’m met with smiles. Friendly “holas” greet me as I saunter by. Warmth radiates, hangs in the air, mixes with the landscape, creates magic.  There is soulfulness to the people, a friendliness not usually encountered in everyday life. Am I just drunk on vacation, I wonder? I must get deeper, so I set out to observe.

There is perpetual laughter in the air, a smile painting the lips of almost everyone. They throw nicknames at each other in an affectionate way. It seems as if everyone cracks jokes, exchanges glances, and “pura vidas.” 

Are they faking it? I am now on a mission, seeking out anyone and everyone willing to give me the time of day (which, by the way, is pretty much everyone). They are funny, gracious, and curious.  I find myself smiling more, the petulant American style attitude shedding more with each day.

Through many a long hour of conversations with locals, I discovered that life is not always smooth sailing in Costa Rica—wages tend to be lower than in United States but the cost of living is similar. People work long hours in hard jobs for half of the money. And yet… they just shrug this off when asked about it. They are happy to share details with you, but not once did it exit their mouths in the form of a complaint, a difference that I notice immediately. Is that their secret? I decide I need a second; third, many even tenth visit in order to further test my theory.

I later learn that Costa Rica is in the top 5 countries listed in numerous studies as the “Happiest Places on Earth.” Last year, it ranked number one in a study on the “happiest countries.”  I am not at all shocked, but I am glad I didn’t know this before I went, so there wasn’t a chance that statistics and “supposed tos” could influence my mind.

 So, you ask, what does “Pura Vida” mean?  It means, well… everything. It’s “hello” “goodbye” “thank you” “you’re welcome” “don’t worry about it” “it’s awesome” “nice to meet you…” the list goes on and on and on. It makes no sense and yet perfect sense.

As my days in Costa Rica wind up, I find myself thinking of how I can bottle this happiness up and bring it home with me. Impossible. Then suddenly, I think of “pura vida.”  If I blurt out this little saying out at home in the states, would people just crinkle up their face at me in frustration? I didn’t know, but floating on optimism, I vowed to try.