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Thursday, April 28, 2011

May I Have a Moment?

Sometimes, when something wonderful is happening, I become intensely aware of the moment—and that as it unfolds it’s also slipping away, becoming a faded snapshot destined to spend eternity filed away in my unreliable memory …neglected, and eventually forgotten. Time really is an illusion. There is only now. Yet, now is ever changing like the clouds and the shoreline, seemingly moving forward like a man in a blinding snowstorm whose footprints are erased by the driving winds, leaving him unable to see where he came from or where he is going.

Holding on to a moment is impossible. It’s like trying to capture the twinkling of a star. I remember holding my infant son and feeling the synchronal love flowing like milky waves between us, and then becoming startled with the smothering epiphany that this precious infant of mine was going to some day disappear… and I would no longer have a baby. I cried into his feathery hair with this suffocating awareness, trying to remember everything about him as he cooed and snuggled into me, oblivious of the moments that lay before him; resolutely waiting to escort him into manhood.

My son is nearly thirty now, and although we share an unbreakable bond, and I wouldn’t trade him in for that baby that I once held, I sometimes tear up when I stumble upon his three legged teddy bear, or his favorite childhood blanket; caught off guard by the intensity of the moment…and the memories.

There is a charged expectancy hidden within the folds of each moment as we reach for something more…and also a tender desperation as we let go…eventually leaving behind everything. The exchange is bittersweet…yet, with optimism, we bravely do it every day. This is life and how it’s done. We were made for this, wired just the right way so it makes sense to us, and doesn’t scare us into our shells like terrified turtles.

Our hearts are a great depository holding the sundry moments of our lives like the yellowed pages of an old book. These sanguine moments have changed our paths, our thinking, and even chosen who we will love. They are our heart's alibi proving that we have lived, in this moment, and this moment alone.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ask the Brit!

I’ve always been fascinated with Britain. I believe it’s because so many of our roots and traditions stem from there. America was birthed from British expatriates which sort of makes us Britain’s prodigal daughter. We’re so alike yet so different.

Since the British Invasion back in the 1960’s America has been flirting with the English… and poking fun at them. They’ve given us amazing writers, musicians, actors, princesses; not to mention arrogant talent show judges….the list is endless. So I’ve decided to invite, Kris English, a friend, and fellow blogger, who just happens to be thoroughly British, to do a weekly post answering questions on everything British.

Most of us remember the Royal Wedding between Charles and Diana…and its tragic ending. This Friday much of the world will watch as Will and Kate tie the knot, which may stir up some interesting questions about the Monarchy. No matter what your questions this should be fun. Remember…no holds barred! Ask the Brit...I'm sure he has some clever answers.

Ask the Brit 001

Ask the Brit By Kris English.

The United Kingdom has a long history and a great Alliance with the United States; however there are many differences between the two countries, especially lingual differences, so in this weekly guest blog I'll answer your questions or give you some news or a story from this side of the pond, giving you a little education on us Brits.

Lingual differences are major thing. I’ve often heard people speak of American-English and Americanism’s which are interesting. There are some things lost in translation, which make for some interesting comments. Living close to an American Base here in the UK we get a lot of Americans living in my town. Many visit the Take Away (fast food) place where I work. I had four Air Force men in a few days ago and it took them ages to find the right money because they weren’t certain if 20p was a 20p. So, for all of you Americans who have never seen British coins, this is what our money looks like:

From the left: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.

I happen to work with a young American in the restaurant/take away and I had just swept when our boss said to him, with the mop in his hand,
“Are you going to do a clean sweep through the restaurant?”
“But Kris has just swept it,” he returned with a puzzled look.
“I meant are you going to mop through the whole restaurant?” she replied, and enlightenment finally came to my American co-worker. It’s these and other comments that make me like the American visitors even more.

Question time:

If you have a question you’d like to ask, maybe some differences between the British and American peoples then I will try and do my best to answer. No question is too silly or off limits. We’ll start with Leah’s question.

Question: What are Crumpets?
Answer: Crumpets are like bread; we toast them and have them at breakfast on occasion with Jam, marmite or Nutella (chocolate spread). Yes we also have Tea with them because a lot of people have a cup of tea for breakfast.

Thanks for reading, if you want to ask me a question simply post it below or you can email me at Just add “Ask the Brit” in the subject line.

Visit Kris’s blog:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eastah in Wistah

When I was a kid, Easter marked the beginning of spring and the end of another long cold New England winter; ushering in the return of kick ball, long bike rides, and eventually summer vacation. Although most of the trees still stood naked and desperate looking, spring was officially in the air. It was as though the April sun had become a patient crock pot…slowly thawing out the neighborhood, and producing a fresh batch of happy smells that had been frozen away for months.

Ma began planning our Easter outfits right after New Year; cutting and sewing until three frilly pastel dresses, with layer upon layer of tulle puffiness, appeared on hangers in our closets. These dresses were made to open up like Gerber Daisies when you twirled around in them. I can still remember my sisters and I twirling until we were sick with dizziness and then falling down in fits of wet-your-pants laughter.

On Easter Eve, Ma would set our hair in rags and then make us wear our underpants on our heads to keep them in place (okay, we were poor). The desired result was three little heads draped in long dark bologna curls. The next morning we’d ransack our apartment searching for our Easter baskets; snarling and clawing at each other like feral cats, until our hunt was rewarded and we were gorging ourselves on marshmallow chicks, jelly beans, and speckled malt eggs. The coveted hollow chocolate bunny, which never made it through the hunt in one piece, was set aside for later. As we munched on our candy, Ma would remove our rags; transforming us into three gluttonous Shirley Temple look-a-likes.

We were poor and scrappy, but once we donned our fancy dresses we became demure and polite. Even our Worcester accents took on a hoity-toity quality, sounding more like, Oliver Twist, meets Tony, The-Ice-Pick, Garbino.

Easter service always seemed too long. What with that banged up chocolate bunny waiting at home and a big meal to look forward to. The crowded church became a sea of pastels and stank of morning after booze breath and cheap perfume. Punctually, the high mass would begin and the church would come alive with the ceremonial thurible swinging (incense bong), genuflecting, and our cantata singing priest. The best thing about Easter service was hearing that Jesus was finally off of that awful cross and alive again. The worst part was leaving, and having to walk under the life-sized wooden carving of Jesus still hanging on the cross, complete with realistic blood stains and glistening tears. Staring soulfully down at me, I always felt that Jesus somehow needed my help getting down from there.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dream On...and on...and on...

Photograph by Fran Murphy

What’s the difference between having faith and magical thinking? Faith sounds much more grounded for some reason. Like it’s anchored to something tangible. Whereas magical thinking sounds like it has no boundaries at all. It’s all over the place… like dust. With magical thinking one could wish to be Peter Pan, or perhaps Rocky Balboa.

Magical thinking often escorts me to my daydreams, helping me to see everything that I yearn for, inciting my heart rate to quicken…and my mouth to water with desire. I envision myself holding the sought after trophy, taking my grateful bows…and it somehow changes me. Wondrously, it elevates my faith and inspires me to believe that nearly anything is possible!

I heard a story once about a woman who kept telling everyone that she was going to win the lottery. After a while people got sick of hearing her rant on and on about it. Friends began avoiding her…thinking that maybe she had blown a fuse...or two. Her father finally forbade her to speak on the subject when in his company. Then one day she won eleven million dollars. She phoned her father… hysterical, and told him that she had won. Disgusted with her latest delusion…he hung up on her. So, she drove to his house and presented him with the proof. He was an instant believer.

Did she create her own destiny with the positive words that she spoke? Was she a psychic? Or did she just have a hunch…a gut feeling that she couldn’t shake? Then again maybe it was all a coincidence and she was incredibly lucky. Of course there are all types of ways to attract luck. In Japan the white Maneki Neko (Lucky Cat) is valued for inviting in happiness, and the black Maneki Keko is valued for getting RID of bad luck. Yet, in America we bite our nails when a black cat crosses our path. I don’t know much about superstitions… but I do think that belief systems are incredibly interesting.

When it comes to making our dreams come true I think that we need to take advantage of every resource available to us….both tangible and magical. Positive words, thoughts, and visuals, coupled with hard work and determination. Not to mention the very fundamental, and often overlooked, rites of prayer and meditation. There are so many wonderful ingredients at our disposal!

Life is ours to do with as we choose. Some may choose to curse the darkness and make excuses for why they have given up. While others use that very same darkness as a stepping stone to reach higher places, strategically ignoring the naysayers and dream slayers, until they finally reach their desired destination.

People achieve their dreams every day. So…if you have a fantastic dream don’t give up on it. Keep on believing, and doing what you must do, until you breathe your last exalted breath and they’re printing out copies of your legendary obituary.
Aerosmith says it well...

“Dream until your dreams come true.”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

To the Gallows...Again.

What do you do when troubles build up and realistic options don’t seem to exist? I tend to panic, hyperventilate, and worry until the waters of my mind become muddied and I can’t think clearly any longer. This tends to frighten me even more than the original problems did. I continue in this mode until I’m paranoid….certain that I can hear the mournful bells tolling, the gallows being built….and my halting footsteps climbing the scaffold to my imminent doom. It is at this point that I finally give up….let go….and say screw it, surrendering to life and all that it holds for me.

This process is similar to when you lose something really important and frantically search every where for it….only to come up empty handed. Defeated, you count the precious thing as lost and cease your searching. Then lo and behold the item turns up on its own a few days later. “Oh! It was right here all along.” You sing, holding that precious item and determining to be much more careful with it in the future.

Well, that’s what I mean by surrender. You search and search for answers…. but there are none to be found. Finally, with tears and sighing, you let go…and somehow the answers eventually find you. It’s as though life sends them, like winged messengers, to your side. “Ah” you say, “so this is how it’s done. The next time I’m going to surrender from the start instead of driving myself insane.” But, when the next time rolls around (and it will) you do the same fearful walk to the gallows. Why can’t we just let things go when we hit a dead end? Because we underestimate the importance of faith; and overestimate our own abilities to fix stuff.

Letting go is scary…it requires faith that things are as they should be, for now, and that they will eventually improve with time. It also requires us to live in our troubles, work alongside of them, and sleep with them, while fighting the urge to slay them. Acceptance, faith, and surrender…. …when will I learn?!

This Chinese proverb speaks loudly on the subject of surrender: “Muddy waters let stand will clear.”

And Paul McCartney has a bit to say about it also…….

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Flirting With Spring!

All of creation is swooning with spring fever! Twitterpated birds thread fearlessly through budding trees, flirt-wrestling mid-air, and trilling love songs from the highest branches. Flowers boldly push through the stubborn earth, reborn and beautiful; beckoning weary souls to pause and bend their bored noses toward their buttery blossoms.

Sparkling breezes transport sunshine on their wingtips; arousing the senses from their wintry tombs, and resurrecting adolescent passions; the heavy sweetness of love’s breath ….seeking soft lips, and awakening a hunger for… more… more… more!

Windows swung open, like smiling mouths, invite the outside in….and the inside out. Everything seems acutely intense; music, colors, smells, tastes, until you find yourself intoxicated with sensory overload, batting your eyelashes like a shameless flirt, and wantonly kicking off your shoes as you join in the rapturous springtime dance….and fall in love with life all over again!

Spring is the seasonal equivalent of a grand celebration of life where Mother Earth explodes with extravagance, showing off her finest attributes, inspiring us to remember the promises of our youth and our desires for new beginnings…. until everything old seems new again…. and catching falling stars is an attainable goal!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Waiting in Line for Life

I recently went to a nearby fast food joint for a quick lunch of chili and a diet soda, tenaciously avoiding the delectable, but deadly, cheeseburger and fries. While I was in line waiting to order my skinny girl feast I noticed a man in front of me who looked to be about my age but with a little more wear. His hair was salt and sunshine blond, loosely pulled back into a ponytail, allowing a crop of stray hairs to halo his tanned face. His eyes were friendly, and when he smiled the wrinkles around his eyes joined in, giving him a good natured weathered look, like he could have been the wise captain of a great ship.

We chatted as people do when they are stuck in a line together. He spoke about the headaches of cell phones. His had fallen into his swimming pool and he ended up paying a king's ransom to replace it. He showed me his new phone like an adoring father sharing photos of his first born.

Gathering my food, I found an empty booth by the window and settled in. Soon the captain was at my table asking if I minded if he joined me. Not vibing any “stranger danger” I welcomed his offer. We chatted on about a thousand little random things at once. There was anticipation in his voice when he spoke, and I could tell he enjoyed telling his story, and perhaps hadn't had the opportunity to do so in a very long time. We took turns bantering back and forth in a charged ping pongy sort of way.
After nearly an hour of verbal purging a comfortable silence replaced our electrified chatter. We had both vented and now it was time to move on.

It was nice to meet the captain (We never did exchange names) and find out about his world. I knew I would only be with him for this one hour and then he would be gone forever. This created a sense of satisfaction for me. I could enjoy this stranger’s company without any strings attached. I would never have to get to know what his issues were, or give him time to piss me off. I would be oblivious to the date of his birthday or what foods he was allergic too. I was free to explore who he was at that moment and then let him go. However, when I watched him walk away I felt a pinch of sadness too, because in that short hour we had formed a bond. It wasn’t a strong bond, like between best friends, it was more of a common bond between two sojourners on a journey; two souls making there way through a crowded world in search of a listening ear and perhaps a dash of understanding. It was just an ordinary moment that had somehow enriched my life, and I’m so glad that I took the time to enjoy it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

They Can’t Have my Lingerie!!!

It was the morning of April first. I had just returned from a long week at work and was unloading my suitcase, when my cell rang. I was in an upbeat mood, it being Friday and all, and answered with a singsongy “Hello.” It didn’t take long for my tone to change to more of a doomsday march as the voice on the other end informed that my wages were being cut 27%.... affective that day! Initially I thought it was a cruel, but clever, April’s Fool Day joke, but alas the irony of life had once again visited me. It was no joke…and not funny….on any level.

I felt outraged at the cuts and began to froth at the mouth, spit spatting all my favorite curse words, and boiling over like a cauldron on a bonfire. Trying to calm myself, and keep my murderous hands busy, I decided to give my closet a good clean out. Cleaning (with loud music blasting) calms me down. It’s my way of venting and seeking control.

Sitting Indian style on my bedroom floor I sorted through shoes with no mates, jeans that no longer fit, and books I’d already read; creating hills of castoffs until I was finally able to see the stained carpeting of my closet floor….and a little something special. There pushed beneath the shadows of long dresses and winter coats I discovered a shiny pink shopping bag sprouting with tufts of heart kissed tissue paper, and looking elegantly sexy….. and somewhat out of place in my rumpled closet

I pulled the bag to me, shifted the tissue paper aside, and audibly sighed as I lifted a small assortment of delicate lingerie out of the bag. Black and lacey panties… with sequins! Cougar prints, hearts and kisses…yummy yummy lingerie that I had purchased about a month ago and had never removed from the bag! I remember the feeling I had when I first purchased it. I felt glamorous and sexy toting my little pink bag through the mall…… like a cast member of Sex in the City. I was powerful and mysterious; an experienced woman with secrets…okay so they were Victoria’s secrets but who gives a damn. I felt special!

So what happened? There had to be some sort of disconnect that caused me to stash them away without even a try on. I thought about it for a while and realized that I was saving them for a special occasion. My body is used to the utilitarian undies bought eight to a pack in sickening pastel shades, and nondescript bras bought in bulk with sturdiness in mind. These were neither.

What the hell kind of special occasion was I waiting for? It’s not as though there was a National Lingerie Day where I could sport my fancy panties and be the envy of the office. Nobody but my husband and I were ever going to see them; unless of course I got into an accident and a dishy Doctor happened to take a peek…nah, life isn’t like that for me….I’d definitely be wearing my Wally-Mart specials.

My pay cut flashed back through my mind, simultaneously igniting a spark of guilt. “I should return them,” I thought, biting at the side of my cheek and fingering the silky fabric of my new cougar and lace push-up bra, “we need the money.”

Things got a little blurry after that but the next thing I remember was posing in front of my bathroom mirror deliciously adorned in silk and lace and mumbling “They’re mine…I’m keeping them damn it.” I bit the tags off and pulled my faded jeans and T-shirt on over my pretty and provocative new intimates then sashayed back into my bedroom and finished cleaning my closet.

When a woman is down she needs to protect herself and draw the line some where. The way I see it they may be able to cut my wages, repossess my car, and foreclose on my house… but damn it, they can’t have my lingerie!!!

This song is for all the good women out there who keep on fighting no matter what life tosses at them.