Thursday’s Reflection

I am trying to spend more time living in the moment. However, reflections still occur. Only now, I will schedule a time for them. Thursdays just seemed right.

I want to thank my followers and all the other bloggers on WordPress. Without you guys I don’t know if I would have made it. You reading my words means a lot to me and I have seriously enjoyed my first year of blogging, even with the ups and downs.

Writing has always been a big part of who I am and I am happy to have found some great creators on this platform. I have been inspired by you often.

Again, thank you. Gracias. Have a great Thursday.

Fish Lake

I recently found an old piece of writing of mine, scribbled on the inside of the front cover of a book that I carried with me everywhere during the summer of 2013. The book is The Intellectual Devotional and is a book of lessons in history, religion, visual arts, and other topics. For awhile, I was consistent in reading its pages. But then I put it away, and forgot about it. Here’s the inscription: a description of a place and day that apparently I really wanted to save.

7-17-13 Fish Lake

Tall, lush reeds created a barrier near the shore of the entire lake. A bright, lively green, they stood stiff and strong, partnered with wide, flat-open lily pads that were accompanied by white or yellow flowers. Trees of every color, in the shades of green only summer can provide, protected the cool, clean lake on almost all sides. To the Northeast the trees thinned to reveal softly rolling hills. Phone lines stretched between the crests of these and the sky was a heated, pale blue. Thick, happy clouds floated gently by, above a healthy cornfield hugging one of the far off slopes. A lone dead tree, which was sun-bleached and bare like a bone, stretched its boughs over the water. It sang the land a silent song of ancient wisdom, long forgotten by the buzzing horseflies and oblivious sunfish. Silver-backed leaves rustled loudly when a dainty, playful breeze skipped through the forest.

We had been fishing in a small boat on a still lake, the sun beating over us. I had tired of fishing and reclined to write this description of what I was seeing.

Have you ever done the same? How does it feel to look back on your own writing?

All Was Connected

Psychosis, and the recovery time after, has a strange symptom. A sense of grandeur. A feeling as if you are spiritually connected to all around you. A feeling of telekinetic powers. For me, anyway.

During this time I met a horse. A neighbor of my father’s property in Tennessee. “A mean horse,” my father had warned. Well, with all the confidence in the world I walked down the hill and to the fence where the horse was standing.

It was sunny out, the middle of September. My heart had already been ripped from my chest and I was searching for an animal familiar to me.

The grass where the horse stood was nibbled short and he was trying to reach some of the longer, sweeter grasses on my father’s property. But barbed wire was strung along the fence, in areas where the horse might poke his head through.

His nose was scratched. Foolishly, I tried to pull the barbed wire loose. Nothing happened. So, I reached down and pulled up big handfuls of grass and passed them to the horse. Greedily, he munched.

“This is me,” I said, shaking my silver chain, which at the time hung round my neck with Bella’s tag attached. It jingled and the horse pricked his ears. I fed him more grasses.

Then, I kissed his nose.

I was raised around horses but generally fear them, which in turn makes them fear me. I hope this horse doesn’t fear me the next time I see him, because he was just the connection I needed.

Dogs Say Nothing

The day before we left that hotel in Arkansas Bella broke a nail. It had gotten caught in a grate that covered a drainage slope in the sidewalk near the laundry room. We were leaving the next day.

Bella refused to walk on her foot, so S. carried her. He loaded her into the truck and we left for Florida. He carried her into the next hotel, both of them resentful over their predicment. Bella was heavy and they never liked each other.

In fact, S. had been afraid only some weeks prior that she was going to bite him during play. See, Bella wasn’t really aggressive, but sometimes she would get a glint in her eye that was hard to read. I had told him to quit, because I hadn’t been sure either.

But they were reliant on each other while we travelled from Jacksonville, Florida (where I stood in the ocean while S. and his men swam further out; a rare day out for all) to Northern Michigan, somewhere near the Canadian border. I was as crabby as Bella, riding in the passenger’s seat and being four months pregnant or so.

It was late at night when we neared our exit. Bella was laying in the backseat while I manned the GPS. Suddenly, the signs on the road were telling us to get off now. The border was ahead.

“Get off,” I said.

“What does the GPS say?” S. asked, for the GPS hadn’t spoken up yet. The USA and Canada flags were painted on the next overhead sign.

“Just follow the fuckin’ pictures,” I had said.

“But what does the GPS say?”

“Take the exit,” the GPS finally replied.

Bella, as usual, said nothing.

A Reminiscing Essay

With the spirit in mind that this blog is a record, a series of essays is to follow, written mostly for my own benefit. Maybe they’ll strike you in some way. This is the story of the first meal I ever cooked. I was 22, engaged, and living in a hotel room while my fiance worked construction during the day.

I had no tools, no pots or pans. I take that back. I had one knife, a cup, a plastic cutting board, and an electric griddle with deep sides and a glass lid. Our spice rack resided above the television on a shelf of the TV stand/dresser. Peanut butter, coffee filters, hot sauce, and the like were stored there also. I was pregnant with Sergio.

Now, I had only cooked a steak once or twice and though I know how to throw a salad together under any circumstances, that was about all I knew how to do. I had just learned to make guacamole actually, so I had about two recipes under my belt. I decided to make steaks and guacamole. Also I made Angel’s food cake, but that’s a no-brainer; I don’t count it as a recipe anymore.

I marinated the steaks in Caribbean Jerk Sauce (it’s in the dressings aisle, I think) by filling a plastic bag with the meat and the sauce. Then I stuffed the plastic bag into the mini fridge that our room also included. Bella was alive then, and was roaming free in the room (we paid extra for that). She reclined in an arm chair while I diced tomato, onion, and cilantro by the sink. I longed for more space. But there wasn’t any to be had next to the shallow sink basin and our accoutrements of the shower pushed neatly to the side.

I seared the steaks in the griddle thing and they turned out okay. We ate the steaks and the guacamole on the double bed. Only I had dessert. Bella had some scraps. S. drank a beer. I laid awake that night with insomnia and a sense of pride for having served my first meal.

There’s a few changes I would make now, but that night we ate good.

I Never Do This…

Goals. I never write any. So, with it being a new year and lots of goal writing going on around me I think I’ll make a list. Here are some tentative goals of mine for 2020.

Goal 1: Potty train Sergio. This is a big one.

Goal 2: Write one post a day, or at least twice a week.

Goal 3: Follow a skin care regimen.

Goal 4: Get involved with some kind of climate change group.

Goal 5: Create some Montessori materials for use at home.

Goal 6: Can something from the garden.

Those are some goals that I can think of and that I think are acheivable. Have you written a goals post? Let me know about it!

Likes are Great

But nothing beats being with my kids.

Nothing tops “Mama, mama, mama.”

Nothing compares to making snacks for a little voice saying “Thank you very much.”

Nothing is equal to playing on the floor with my two pups.

Nothing satisfies quite like having my hair pulled and my pants tugged on.

Likes are great but nothing beats the love of my children and the love I have for them.

Hug yours today, or better yet, get down on the floor and just play.

Feliz Navidad

This year was a great Christmas. Our tree was a bit small, but laden with shatter-proof ornaments. I made tamales and we toasted to our children with a bit of champagne.

I am following little ones around and finding it difficult to write much of anything. For this reason I say feliz navidad a few days late. I hope everyone had a great holiday season. We are looking forward to a happy New Year.

– Alexandra y la familia

A Second Storm of the Mind

Oh, how I want to write more of my story. How I want to explain. How I want to help others in need. But I am stuck among the trees of the forest, unable to see the grand scheme of things. The storm of words has gained momentum and I’m being swept up by them.

I love to write. However, I am having such difficulty in collecting my thoughts. Writing is my curse. I wish I could let it go. I wish it would let me go. Alas, I know it won’t. The winds will only pick up, whipping my mind into a frenzy of confusion.

It is like a burden. Yet, a form of release. Oh, how I hope the storms pass.

My Dream Parte Dos

A man and a woman stand in the forest. They huddle. A baby lays on the soft ground between them. The man says that something is hunting them. The woman, listening instensely, nods in agreement. It is a large black dog, he assumes. She shakes her head and holds a finger to her lips.

Looking everywhere, she says that their foe is much more dangerous than a dog. It is a panther. And they will have to fight it together. He can do it alone, he insists.

The panther attacks, killing both man and woman. The baby is eaten. The panther continues on. The trees simply watch.

My Dream

There is a heron standing in the water. In the shallows. Near the bank. It is you. No. It is me. The heron stands on one foot. On your foot. No. Mine.

There is an alligator swimming so slowly, silently, barely scraping the lake’s floor with it’s pale belly. It is you. No. It is me. I am the alligator, watching your foot, my foot, the heron’s foot.

The water is green. The water is difficult to see through. Here comes the alligator. There stands the heron. Fear builds.

And I’m awake. The heron (you) flew away. The alligator stayed underneath.

Remember Me

Hopefully, you do. If not, that’s okay, too. I have been suffering lately from a rare form of Post Partum Depression – something that I thought I had under control. But, looking back on things and the manic writing I was doing (the climate crisis has traumatized me because I am concerned for the futures of our children), I was sick. I am healing by following the advice of medical professionals and will not be sharing every step of the journey.

I did not want anyone to think that I had forgotten them, so this is just a note of “Hey, I’m still here,” for some of you. I hope you have all been taking care of your flowers, yourselves, and your babies. One day soon we will be sharing lots more stories – and all of them will be beautiful, full of hope, laughter, nature, and that bittersweet twang of truth.

First Day

So, Dick was a real prick, right? He was old. His wife, Marcela, (no, I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP) was German (pretty positive) and she usually stayed inside. Dick’s place was off a scenic highway that led from one small town to a bigger city. A curvy road. Fun to drive, but oh, so dangerous. A big river gave its steep bank to the road. Don’t over-steer! You’ll go right into the water.

People liked to drive fast on that route. Why not? Rules are made to be broken. Are all of them? Is there not another cliche that says without rules chaos will lead instead? And chaos is one grizzled, mean, chain-smoking cowboy. Or cowgirl. She (or he) rides a mean horse, one that’s gasping for water in the middle of the desert (Y’all seen Hidalgo?). Desperation can make you fearless. Or it can make you bold. It can also make you vulnerable. And it can turn you cold.

Anyway. I was thirteen, and the first class with Dick was on a Thursday (they all were). I was starting high school the next week and I was terrified of all the rumors. What was a period? (LOL) How did lunches work? Would I have any friends? Did those showers really work?

I was terrified of the training class, too. Because my mother had told me rumors. She is the one who called him, she knew where he was. My last mentor had been a woman who taught me to play the oboe. She was great, too. Just a little harsher.

I thought I looked great! Thought I looked cute! I had some flip-flops on (yellow with a plastic daisy glued to them) and shorts, I think. Dick snapped at me as soon as I strode up, pulling that stubborn Bull Terrier behind me. She was a great bitch. Beautiful, funny, strong, agile. Stocky and tough. Quiet but sensitive.

“What are you gonna do with flip-flops on?” He snapped. I had not even said my name. The memory is clear because of the embarrassment I felt. This is not the only time that Dick called me out, but this was on the first day.

I didn’t have shoes, so he said oh well! We would tour his woods, then. Everyone (older people with skittish German Shepherds, mixed breeds, all kinds of dogs) traipsed up a hill and onto the path. That path led into a confusing agility course – created almost entirely by nature. Old tires and boards had been used to create make-shift agility obstacles among the pine needles littered by all those beautiful trees.

Sucked. Cause I had fucking flip-flops on. I also had to learn to put the choker on right and to give it a good snap – so that the stubborn Isabella could hear it, as well as feel it. We made it. We all had to go through the obstacles – even me, with a brat of a dog and the wrong footwear.

“Dumb on a leash is what you’ve got there,” he liked to tell me.

“I know, but I think she’s beautiful,” I would always smile, in return.

I always came prepared after that first day. I had learned my lesson. Dick gave me leads for conformation, and we always worked on showmanship after the regular training classes. Just me and him. Bull Terriers are dumb on a leash. But not in the ways you think.

That dog still puts a smile on my face, and I can feel her breathing. Grief can be caused by anything. It’s sad. It’s tragic.

But she was hilarious! I have so many great memories! She’s still here, snuggling up next to me!

They call Bull Terriers clowns, pigs (dog world terms meant to be endearing), but I just called her Bella. And nothin’ beats sittin’ under the sun with a dog, remembering your teachers, not saying a damn word at all.

Thinking on a Maria

What a disappointing night. I have a lot of stuff to do (for a lot of people) and I’m just pacing around, forgetting what I’m doing. The life of a “writer” is such a “romantic” one. I believe that anyone alive can write. Because writing makes you feel alive.

Anyway! It’s time for some simple language. I had to talk last night. And I kept leaving the train car, to go looking for a passenger in another one. As I was talking to some of my favorite people (my nephew recently got braces. Ouch! Now, beauty is pain. And pain comes from beauty. Blah, blah, blah), los truenos (thunder) y relampagos (lightning) were threatening a storm. Ah, but what is a threat if you don’t bring it?

It didn’t rain last night. Well, I don’t think it did. Finally slept. It’s raining now. Which is a disappointment to me. I wanted to turn my compost today! I wanted to show you my muse! (She’s got too much paper in at the moment [literally] and I’ve got to mix new stuff up).

Inspiration is a bitch. She comes. She goes. She likes you. She likes you not. But as some wise writers once wrote me, inspiration must be sought (in everything/one) and an example is not always the best teacher. I’m a kinetic learner, which means I learn through practice. An italiana taught me that. And her name was Maria.

I’m referring to Montessori. Yes, she is the original muse. She taught me how to find inspiration. How to look for it. Figuratively, and yes, literally. It’s exciting to know the method of your mentor. And boy, do I love a mentor.

My favorite mentor was an old man named Dick (life writes the best puns lol). He was a dog trainer with a great story. He traveled to Germany as a boy, and learned to train the hardest dogs. The dogs that bark and bite. He taught me everything. But we’ve lost touch. I miss him. I miss him a lot. I don’t know if he’s alive, what he’s doing. But my story, I learned from him.

I learn from the Marias. And the Marys, too. And certainly, a Marisol.

I have more to share. So buckle up. Let’s go for a drive.

Stop Saying Sorry If You’re Not Going to Stop

We have all made a mistake or two (or 7).

We have all tried to learn from them.

I know I’ve said something wrong before.

I know I’ve said something worse.

I never told you sorry,

Because I don’t believe in those words.

Instead, I planted the best garden I could

Full of flowers that talk.

Yeah, I might have said, “Sorry!”

But really, no one should.

Words do affect. So, pick. When to apologize, and when to restitute (if restitution was a verb. I’m an inventor, okay?).

Explicit Warning

I cannot read the Bible. I literally can’t (I’m taking that word back for myself ‘cuz there was nothing wrong with it. Try one pumpkin spice and everyone’s throwing up the same sentences – vague warning!). The Bible is in a language I don’t want to learn and uses archaic words.

Personally, Bible quotes can represent a slur to me – not callin’ anyone out. I’ll let you know. Remember who’s got the fucking wheel. And I hate slurs. Slurs are of a class of words to be shunned. The only class to be looked down upon.

Have I used a slur before? What do you think? Does it matter? I will tell you, I try not to use them now. I have felt guilt before. Many times. But I don’t go to confession. I don’t lay my heart bare if I don’t want to. You never know who could steal it.

Remember reality? Yes, there is one here, on the blogverse, and there is one where you’re typing your posts from. Which one matters more? Which one has more of an effect?

Life, and the blog, need explicit language. Not everyone understands implicitly. We don’t even speak the same language. Which is what I hope for my children: to speak one language with all – full of many parts of each.

I know, I’m writing too much, reading too much of my own stuff. But it’s really getting hot in here, and I have to take this shit off.

A Scientist is a Sinner. Or Is It?

Can you be so full of yourself? To believe in science? Can you be so arrogant? Sure, anyone can. Who owns the trademark on a moral? A value? An idea? A word? I don’t. But my thoughts are copyrighted because they’re original. Yep – there’s that arrogance again. But I never said I was a scientist. I said I invented things.

An inventor uses the scientific process: what profession doesn’t? Do you know the process well?

But is this an experiment? Are you my test subjects? Absolutely not. I’m not even doing anything. Life wrote this shit. She can spit words better than any rapper, singer, writer. She can dance, as well. Something that she and I are still struggling to learn to do together.

And other people are doing most of the work, too. I said I listened didn’t I? A fog has rolled into my mind, and I’m freaked out by ideals. I don’t like them. I like dirt.

This is not an experiment in expressing my beliefs about atheism. But it is a huge part of me. I have to be upfront. And did you come here for blessings? Or pictures of flowers and silly, rhyming words? Don’t we all like the same things? Laughing children, a blooming garden, jokes that are (hopefully) for all?

Listen, wild out. This is all for you in the end. Contrary to popular belief, an atheist is always quieted and my vision is full of red flags. People show them to me because I belong to the most hated group. Is it? I don’t think that it is – I have a lot of privilege. That’s how these words are borne – the privilege to sit around and think, write big words, dream about philosophy. But is it a privilege? Do you want to think all this dumb shit? Probably not. I’d rather be a bank teller.

Honestly, I’m just pushing the envelope (what all atheists do) and you can toss the junk mail if you so choose. And be a troll if you wish. What do you think I am?