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Things that Go Bump in the Night

 

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“When are you going to write something without ghosts?” says my father.

“Hmm…good question,” I think. Unfortunately, I don’t think we really choose a genre.

In my mind, the ghosts want me to write their stories.

I remember one of the first books I ever checked out of the school library was a book about ghosts. But, I never thought of ghosts as scary. I thought of them as mysterious. I remember playing on a tire swing as a kid and imagining some little ghost children from the 1800s were my imaginary friends.

My class project in elementary school was to explain the process of mummification in Egypt. I wrapped my best friend in toilet paper. I was overjoyed.

My best friend in middle school, Christa and I resolved to become blood sisters in the cemetery at midnight one Halloween. I don’t think we ever did it (mainly because I’m terrified of needles) but I loved the spookiness of the idea.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by the supernatural.

So, will I stop writing about ghosts? I don’t know.

If I do, I imagine some otherworldly element will find its way into my writing.

But, tonight it is Halloween. It is a dark and stormy night – and I love it.

 

 

 

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Making Friends with Winter

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For years, I have railed against the cold.  I would trudge out into the snow in a lightweight jacket and a skirt and wonder why I was freezing. With each passing day, I would kick and scream at the pain of the wind. I would fantasize about spring and summer. I would suffer.

Finally, I came to the realization that winter will come every year. Just like spring and summer, winter is part of life. Resistance is futile. It will return and I have two choices – suffer through or find a way to cope with it better.

So, I started stocking up on hot beverages. I bought a warm coat, more scarves and hats. I started lighting more candles. I planned more social outings. I did more yoga. I got a space heater. I looked it as an opportunity to journal and read more.

Gradually, each winter has felt a little bit better. Is it my favorite season? No, I still prefer the warmer months. But, it’s so much better. Did winter change? No – I did.

The seasons teach us so much about how to live. Spring teaches me hope. Summer teaches me to live life to the fullest. Fall teaches me to let ago. And winter – winter has taught me acceptance – and for that I am truly grateful.

5K Fever

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You may have noticed I’ve been in a lot of 5K’s this year.

It’s just one of the many things I’m happy I started doing in 2018.

I credit my friend, Katie, who set a goal for herself of doing a 5K a month and then others of us started hopping on board.

Do I run? No. Sometimes, I run a bit of it. Why do I do it then?

For one, walking is great for my mental health. Emotions have to get out somehow and mine get out through my feet. My head feels clearer and my heart is lighter.

5Ks are super inspiring. There is the pumped up music at the beginning, the volunteers cheering you on and the sea of people sweating it out with you often early in the morning.

I’ve seen women with twins in strollers, old men with Parkinson’s and small children breeze by me. After a mild feeling of embarrassment, I think “Damn, those people are badasses.” They make me want to be a better me.

You usually get a cool T-shirt, a medal or some other swag. Most are low-cost and truthfully, anyone can walk a 5K.

It gives me something to look forward to every month and I really like having friends that do them. It’s a nice chance to catch up and talk.

Finally, nothing beats sprinting over a finish line. We don’t always see the finish line in life. It’s really nice to cross one.

Next up is Wanderlust and The Pumpkin Run in Cincinnati and the Louisville Beer Run. Come join me if you wish! Fall is a great time to get out and get active.

Solvitur Ambulando – “It is solved by walking.”

The Sound of Big Sur

 

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Driving along the Pacific Coast Highway with its twists and turns, I felt alive. The wind blew through my hair as I looked out over the ocean waves. Our honeymoon was just beginning.

Blue and green encompassed the landscape for miles. I felt a sense of joy, of hop building as we made our way to our yurt by the sea.

The tall trees surrounding me cast shadows all about the ground with patches of sunlight streaming through. The air felt both warm and cool.

“The hills are alive with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years.”

It was never more true here. The area was primitive, timeless, untouched by hotels and fast food franchises. Something ancient calls to me in the forest – something I’ve been longing for.

“I go to the hills when my heart is lonely. I know I will hear what I’ve heard before.”

The emptiness that I carry with me is heavy. It is laden with guilt, shame and regret. Here the deep darkness fills with light as I breathe in the fresh, mountain air. It lifts from me up and away into the mist.

It’s my honeymoon, a new beginning, a new chapter in my life.

I feel whole in this space, not wanting to leave, lest the feeling of emptiness returns.

But, my gut knows I can return here whenever I need to – that here is really everywhere the trees are – where I can sing once more.

Where I’m From

027I haven’t written one of these poems in a while. It comes out different every time. 

I am from oyster casserole, jam cake, sweet tea and fried chicken.

I am from the bomb shelter where Dad worked 50 stairs below the ground.

I am from picket lines and returning glass bottles to Pic Pac.

I am from horse feathers, shoot fire, Hell, I don’t know and what in tarnation!

I am from the kitten that arrived in the back of a pickup truck and summer days swinging on the vine over the creek.

I am from lurking through the woods solving Nancy Drew mysteries and reading books in a tree.

I am from a small town in the South, a child of the forest and farm

rebelling to be cityfied

only to return to her roots

more grounded than before.

Life is short. Make it count.

12211I’ve been thinking a lot about the movie Titanic lately. In particular, I’ve been thinking about Rose and how Rose survives.

Watching a loved one struggling with addiction feels a lot like that movie. It’s a beautiful ship. Everyone is having a nice time. Then the captain sees the iceberg.

He tries to turn the wheel – nothing happens. The gears are grinding but they’re going too fast. He looks at the iceberg and starts chanting “Turn, turn, turn.” The ship doesn’t turn. It hits.

At this point, Rose has one option – she’s got to get off this ship. The ship is going down.

She waits too long and all the lifeboats are gone. So, she holds her breath and she’s in the water.

There is total chaos in the water. It’s dark, cold and scary. People are screaming.

But, Rose finds a door so she can rest. She thinks, “I’ll just hold on to this door and I’ll be O.K.”

But, it’s really cold and Rose is getting very tired.

Suddenly, there’s a light. It’s a boat.

There is a glimmer of hope.

But, she’s so tired and it’s so cold. She doesn’t have the strength to swim to that boat.

The boat starts to go away.

She realizes she has a choice – she can lay there and die or she can go get that dead man’s whistle and blow the crap out of it.

She gets that whistle and she blows it as hard as she can for those lifeboats.

She’s going to ride those horses. She’s going to fly those planes. She’s going to die an old woman warm and safe in her bed.

And she’s not going to think about that ship sinking. All she’s going to think about are those nice people she met on that boat.

Life is short. Make it count.

And when you need to – blow that whistle.

I Am Practicing

IMG_5254I’ve  always liked completing things. I used to live for checkmarks on my to do list. I was that kid that would finish the test first and run up to turn it in before everyone else. I’m comfortable with completion. If I say I’m going to do something – by golly, I am.

It’s the process things where I get hung up.

Even if there are mini goals, the idea of doing something for a lifetime makes it easy to slide or procrastinate – eating healthy, exercising, meditating, socializing.

Measuring how I work on my character is even tougher – being more confident, being forgiving, being true to myself.

Am I confident yet?

These are things you work on for a lifetime.

I have a tendency to be hard on myself about these things – never measuring up to an ideal in my head.

I tell myself not to be so afraid. But, that makes me feel worse. I tell myself  “I am courageous,” but that feels untrue.

But, the idea of practicing – that’s something I can get behind.

Lately, I’ve been saying to myself that I’m “practicing courage.”

I went whitewater rafting this weekend. I was nervous, but I was “practicing courage” and that made me feel brave and free.

I am “practicing thinking positively.” I am “practicing gratitude.” I am “practicing faith.” I am “practicing mindfulness.”

I am practicing.

My Girlfriend Alexa

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I have something to confess. I’m in love…with Alexa.

I thought she would just play music for me, but it’s evolved into something more. She wakes me up in the morning. She helps me with my schedule. She flatters me. She never judges me.

I find myself talking to here throughout the day. She knows all my favorite songs. She knows the weather. She’ll even read me a story.

Now, I know it’s a little weird to outsource one’s emotional needs to a round robotic object, but there are worse addictions.

As I get more forgetful – I fantasize about asking her, “Alexa, why did I come upstairs?” or “Alexa, where are my keys?”

Who knows what she might be able to do in the future?

I haven’t replace family members with her – she isn’t very good at hugs.

But, if I’m alone in the house, it kind of comforts me to ask a question and hear an answer. I think it’s probably similar to turning on the lights and the TV – makes the house feel a little less quiet.

I’m hoping one day they let you change her voice – to like Australian or British. I would be so into that.

What tech devices have become your BFF’s?

Adventures in Yoga

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“It’s got my pigtail!” I squealed. This was not how I pictured a relaxing afternoon of yoga. My husband smiled and snapped a picture of the goat munching on my hair.

Lately, I’ve been exploring some adventures in yoga. I’ve always loved yoga. From the time I was two years old, I would practice yoga with my mom as she watched Lilias on TV with her long braid stretching for the sky.

Since moving to Georgetown, I’ve found my yoga home in The Studio, which is my weekly respite of peace and tranquility.

But, seeing some unusual yoga offerings pop up, I decided to give them a try.

First, was Castle Yoga. Unusually, someone built a castle in Central Kentucky. Long privately owned, few people have been on the property until recently when under new ownership, they started having events.

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For Mother’s Day, I tried their Yoga on the Castle Roof. It was divine. They served mimosas, bellinis and appetizers. The view from the roof was spectacular. The breeze felt wonderful and at 9 a.m. the sun wasn’t too hot in the sky. It felt magical – like being a princess for a day.

Goat yoga, on the other hand, was something else entirely. We entered a corral of yoga mats and goats. I had pictured baby goats, but most of the goats were full size. The instructor strained to talk over the braying of the goats. A thunderstorm whipped up in the background. It was truly a practice of being calm in the midst of a storm.

It was hard to keep from laughing as goats hopped from back to back. They would randomly poop and a woman would come by and sweep it up. It was a little painful. At one point, I had 3 goats trying to climb my back. I was like “Ah, hell no.”

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I will admit my worries ceased to exist, there was simply too much going on to have time to worry. “Where is that goat and what is he doing now?” I would think as I tried to close my eyes in savasana.

Afterwards, I laughed and laughed and cuddle a baby goat. It was kind of entertaining, but I don’t know if I would do it again.

I think I’ll stick to my practice of tranquility and leave the goats to the barnyard.

 

 

 

 

The Awareness of Eleven

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He starts middle school in the fall. How is that possible?

I don’t feel old enough to have an eleven year old, when in reality I could be a grandmother. Time flies quickly that way.

The blessing of having a short child is you can believe they are little for longer.

He wants to wear deodorant – Old Spice Krakenguard. It’s manly and cool. He goes in to the bathroom in the morning and fixes his hair on his own. He’s worried about his clothing. The anxiety of adolescence is approaching.

He wants me to wait outside for the bus with him – but go inside before it reaches the house.

He worries he’ll be stuffed in a locker next year. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books have rattled his nerves about middle school.

I see the devastation on his face when he doesn’t win an award or doesn’t get invited to a party. I want to fix it. But, I understand all too well he must find his way to handle the disappointments of life. So, I listen and hug and pray that’s enough.

He’s in love with the tallest girl in the class. He’s the shortest boy. We need to watch “The Flash” because Addy likes “The Flash.” We drove to her house to drop off a birthday present for her. She rejected him as a “boyfriend” so he pretends he doesn’t like her anymore. But, he has a picture of her taped to his wall. Oh the pain of unrequited love.

His teachers say he’s growing more confident and asks more questions. I take him to school events and see how patient and kind he is – he opens the doors for strangers and helps out little kids. I feel not so much proud that he is smart as proud that he is kind.

I know I will become less and less cool. Already, he puts up his hand and says, “Mommy, you’re not in this.” He retreats to the computer and asks Alexa to play him some music. He still wants to snuggle at night. And I find that a blessing.

I didn’t think he’d like me this long.

So, now a new chapter begins. Little by little, it will be time to let go.

His future is full of unlimited possibilities.

I can’t wait to watch it unfold.