Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Little Slice of Heaven

Mom (and both Grandmas) used to cook with lard all the time. She even had a can of bacon grease that she kept in the fridge - they used to make special cans for that. It matched her canister set and had a removable sieve at the top to catch the bacon bits as the grease was poured in. No wonder everything tasted so much better in my childhood... oh, the glorious Sunday dinners. Porkchops (thick ones with a layer of fat on the edge and lots of flavor), smashers (made with butter and half-n-half), the dreaded over-cooked vegetable sidedish (pass), fresh bread (a vehicle for more butter), and finally... a slice of pie. Mom was an ace at making pies - taught me everything I know about that lost art.

I love making pies - it's total zen for me. Mine are famous on three continents (with apple clearly taking the lead), and I was reminded yesterday that I haven't made one in a very long time. It's a dessert that, done properly, can make certain grown men weep. Nah, ain't namin' names - some are family members and I don't need the backlash at the next gathering. There's something so satisfying about taking 4 very basic, plain ingredients and turning them into artwork. All it takes (sure, you can embellish, but...) is: flour, butter (or lard), sugar and fruit. It's all in the crust, baby, and in the words of the Wicked Witch of the West, "These things must be done delicately." There's no rushing as the butter gets cut into the flour, no hurriedly smash 'em up stirring as the ice water gets added, then it's gently patted and shaped into a patty, then rolled out with even strokes. It's a thing of beauty before it even gets baked.

And once it's done? Whew. My gustatory descriptions fail me here. But, you come on over, give me a good two hour warning (need some time to let it cool), and I'll prove my pie-baking prowess. Game on. Free pie, no lie.

Apropos of eating too many desserts and my boasting about the creation of said, your word for the day is:
Pronunced: ter-jid
It's an adjective from the Latin turgidus, to be swollen
1: being in a state of distension : swollen,
2: excessively embellished in style or language: bombastic, pompous

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Out on a Limn

Yes, limn. I spelled it correctly. It's my new word (*winks toward Olympia*).
Pronounced: lim. It's a transitive verb from the Latin iluminare (to illuminate):
1 : to draw or paint on a surface
2 : to outline in clear sharp detail : delineate
3 : describe [the novel limns the frontier life of the settlers]

That's right friends n' neighbors, we're gonna be learnin' us some new words. Well, the words aren't new, but our knowledge of them is. Tonto always accuses me of using $3.57 words that she's gotta google - well, brace y'self, Pal. It ain't gonna get any easier. Aw, c'mon. You can do it.

See, you guys think I know everything, but I don't. So, if/when I autodidact my way into new cranial input, you're coming along with me. It's my new policy - the new wing on the Ink Pad. Then when your friends and family say, "Why ya gotta use all them dang $3.57 words all the time?!" You can just shrug and tell 'em what I do. They're just words I read somewhere along the way.

We're not born with knowledge, we accumulate it throughout life. Stop adding to that accumulation, and you will die. I'm sure of it. My mother is 80 years old and while her body is definitely showing signs of road weariness, her mind is sharp. She does crossword puzzles, plays bridge, teaches herself little refresher courses in Spanish, and (*drum roll*) she reads!!! Mental activity is just as essential to good health as physical activity is.

I've talked before about us challenging ourselves with personal growth. Well, this is part of that challenge. And, hey... you find a new word? Email it to me! You'll earn extra credit for that, and maybe even 5 more minutes on the playground.

Eschew obfuscation - never use big words where a diminutive utterance will suffice.

Class dismissed.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

There's a sign above the dumpster at work that reads: No Unauthorized Dumping. It's been the source of much contemplation for me. Sure, the rebel in me wants to bring in all the old used propane tanks from the defunct gas grill, but it's more than that. I can't help but look at it from a metaphysical point of view, especially since I'm often out there staring at it when I'm trying to escape from the pressures of my work load. In short, my mind is overloaded and could use a little dumping (authorized or not). I find that whenever I see the sign, insurrectionist that I am, I begin singing, "Cast off all your cares and woe, here I go, here I go....bye, bye, blackbird...."

Another sign that always kills me (you'll catch the pun in a second), is the sign at the airport that reads: Terminal Parking. Wow, really? Of course, it stands to reason that airport parking is an incurable disease, but do they have to be so blatant about it? "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave..."

Warning: Soft Shoulder is another one. So is Speed Monitored.

Speaking of unauthorized dumping. Last night, in an attempt to translate a bit of Bulgarian (Bozhe moi... don't ask, it was just too much fun), I found a wonderful site. It translates the phrase, "
Oh my god! There's an axe in my head." (live link) into 112 different languages. Useful phrase to know. I plan to memorize all of them just to win friends and influence people. "She's so smart!" No, she just knows how to google and wikipedia is her best friend. Proving once again that it's not who you know; it's knowing where to go.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Any Taters in That Gallimaufry?

"Everything is on its way to somewhere."
~George Malley, Phenomenon

The evolution of the spirit and of the mind... we're all on our way to somewhere. Are you gritting your teeth and hanging on for dear life to the tattered loops of the handbasket? Or are you a driving force, temerity in one hand, and with the other, pushing the throttle for all it's worth? Or are you standing by, watching the merry-go-round spin?

Growth doesn't happen without process. We can coerce the process toward an outcome in line with our chosing (or wishing), or we can let the process take shape naturally. Neither is an incorrect ideal, but by and large, it's more beneficial to use coersion. For one thing, it makes us think. For another, it gives us control (hence, responsibility in all ways).

Remark, if you will, my raised bed garden. A few weeks ago, I raked and tilled the one bed, and planted potatoes. They're just starting to come up, the leaves have yet to unfurl, but it won't be long and I'll be enjoying some garlic and chive buttermilk smashers. In the meantime, completely unbidden, an interloper horse chestnut buried itself in the bed and is showing impressive growth.

Now, I've been out there daily, dancing to the gods and chanting, "Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe. Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe. Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe. Taters, taters, taters, hey!" I haven't said a word about the horse chestnut. Still, it manages to thrive (greedy, tenacious bugger). I don't have the heart to pull the chestnut (egads, does that ever sound like an innuendo loaded euphamism, or what?!) - not yet. Yes, partly because this has become an experiment in metaphor for me.

I know I'm kind of rambling here. Trust me, I am all too aware of my **gallimaufry-esque thought pattern, but there's a moment of brilliance, an "ah-ha!" in there somewhere. Or, maybe I just need to go dig in the dirt some more. Part of me loves the role of the affable little potatoes - that which is fostered, and nourished, and loved and sung to - the ability of the potato to just be, to let it happen. But, in the deeper heart of the gypsy, there is love and utter respect for the feisty little horse chestnut - the ineffable pursuit of life, the stubborn "like it or not, I'm here, dammit" stance.

I'm quite contrary... see how my garden grows. Vie vouloir trouver une voie.

Oh... I found my pace. Simple thing really. Hard to explain.
~George Malley, Phenomenon

**gallimaufry: [gal-uh-maw-free] a kind of sauce or stew. [Fr] A combination of galer to amuse oneself and mafrer to gorge oneself.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


It's a glorious Saturday here in the PNW! I just got back from my walk... did approximately 7 miles. Think I might just do some "Spring" cleaning. Although, with the way I clean (or the lack thereof), it's just plain cleaning.

In other news... my fish are all dead. No more Neon Mob, no more Corsican Brothers. *sigh* Some kind of nasty tank death took 'em all out. So, I'll also be taking the fish tank apart and dumping and cleaning all of that. I'm not overly distraught about it, and I'll actually be relieved to not have to deal with the whole gig anymore. Still, they were pretty and relaxing to watch. Actually, my first thought was "Gee, I hope they didn't suffer." Then I laughed at myself. I mean... they're fucking fish after all! If they'd have been bigger, I'd have gutted and eaten 'em long ago.

Maybe I'll get a lizard. Midnight would be so pleased.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Gaseous Anomaly

At the risk of sounding reduntant and repeating myself over and over again and saying the same thing more than once.... can I just say how glad it I am that it's Friday again!?

I went to the gas station yesterday and asked the clerk for $5.00 worth of gas. He farted and handed me a receipt.

But seriously folks... I filled up Birddog and... holy buckets! This gypsy isn't going anywhere any time soon! Ridiculous. If it wasn't for my deep abiding love and affection for the ol' dawg, I'd consider selling her. But no. Never! Unthinkable!

It was difficult to not drive away and just go somewhere once the tank was filled. I wanted to... I really really wanted to.... *sigh*

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Stood Beneath an Orange Sky

I think I had Laura dreams last night (or at least part of one). I was in a seedy hotel looking for a vending machine that sold beer. Then I was on an island beach, chasing iguanas away from my picnic. The sky was an intense fuschia color against teal palm trees and black sand. I had a macaw on my shoulder, combing through my hair with its beak. A group of asians wandered up and down the beach, murmuring in low tones as they looked for shells.

Then I was in an office that had the feel of an old English library to it. Bill was dictating a letter to me. It was a letter to John, telling him all about me, what I was up to, how my life is now. My eyes kept filling with tears because his words were so touching, and I could barely see the page, but I couldn't stop scribbling for fear of losing his words. At the same time, I was angry with him for making me do the job, because I knew that he knew what it was doing to me.

*sigh* I want to go back to sleep.

Alexi Murdoch, Orange Sky

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Laugh Riot

I'm ok, I'm ok! I just slept late again. My alarm didn't go off for some reason and the cat picked this one day to not harass me for food! Little booger.

It's said, "What a difference a day makes." Try an hour! That's the rate of speed mi vida loca zips along at.

Yesterday I got home after a particularly grueling day, didn't want to do anything but hibernate. Instead I fell into a few different conversations that had me laughing my sizeable ass off. What a great new weightloss program, eh? Laugh yourself silly and laugh yourself skinny. Wooo!

Maybe even a clip of Han Solo saying, "Laugh it up, Chucklebutt!"


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In Through the Out Door

Someone has stolen our Springtime and brought back Winter. We had snow all weekend, and now it's just cold.

My dreams are haunted lately by a vague parade of people passing through, most of whom I haven't seen or heard from in years. They nod and move on. It's as if I'm at a great sleeping reception for my life. In the words of Dorothy, "Oh my! People come and go so quickly here!"

I've had some beautiful people wander through my life. A few have stayed, more have just drifted through, gracing the moment. Much of that is my own doing. While I'm very open with who I am, it's more of an outflow. I don't let people in, as beautiful as they may be, without them showing the proper credentials at the door. It's a self-protective mechanism.

I don't know
how I would live with myself,
what I would
give of myself,
If you don't go
~Suzanne Vega, Caramel

I was talking with Laura last night and rediscovering my love of Suzanne Vega's music. (*winks at Laura* pass me them peas!) This is one of my favorites, Caramel. It's one of the most lovely, seductive songs ever written. It's one of those songs that I can't just listen to once... I always hit replay on it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Night vision

"I wanted to teach her life's lesson, which is not to ask why are we wounded, but can the wound be healed."
~Captain Corelli's Mandolin

I have extremely vivid dreams, in full techni-color. Always have. It's one of the reasons I love sleeping - I get to watch really cool movies in my head all night long. Something that has always struck me as odd is that, in all the time I've known him, I've rarely dreamed about John. I think I can count on both hands the times I've dreamed about him. Even then, he's usually in the background or not entirely visible to me. But last night, I think for the first time ever, he was right there. We were laughing and flirting, and the old wicked twinkle was in his eyes. He was making fun of my cat and we were having a great time.

I woke up, not feeling sad, but with a smile. It's as if he was telling me, "This is what you get, have fun with it. Don't be sad. Enjoy the beauty of laughter in every moment."

So begins another week. So The Weaver inexorably lends new threads to the tapestry - some shiny, some dull, some boucled, some fine and silky. Stand back, and it's not the individual threads we tend to notice as much as the overall picture - the warp and weft of an entire vision.

"One must create a vision and not merely something that one knows to exist."
~Alberto Giacometti

Yes, I have Italy and Italians on my mind. Chalk it up to a weekend spent conversing online with a rather charming Italian fellow. Once again my linguistic passion is stirred and the polyglot in me is screaming, "Must... learn... Italian!" Sì, devo. Ciao.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


It's a full moon again. Need I say more? And, so...

Handle every situation like a dog: if you can't eat it or hump it, piss on it and walk away.

That's all I have to say today, else I get myself in trouble.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Critical Mass

Ahh, Saturday. I actually allowed myself the luxury of sleeping in today. I needed it. We had snow here yesterday. Snow! At the end of April?! Then we had a wild lightening storm that lasted about 5 minutes. Earthquakes in the Midwest. Crazy. Ludites of the world unite... it's the End Days! *rolls eyes*

Welcome once again to the Non-Church of the Wayward Gypsy. Come inside ye free-thinkers, get warm, have a seat... grab a cup o' that fine bean over in the corner.

This week, the news has been all over the Pope's visit to the US. (Less was said about the Dalai Lama's visit to the US. How very unfortunate.) It's been said that one can take oneself out of Catholocism, but one can never take the Catholocism out of oneself. I grew up amid the mystery, pomp and ceremony of the Catholic church. As a child, it was something I was in awe of. I strayed here and there to other religions in my early adulthood, wandered back to the Catholic church for a time in my late 20's. But, I completely lost all of that awe when I worked for Catholic University in DC. I also lost all respect (hence belief) for religious dogma and those in power who propound it. Those years were the impetus for my current agnostically gnostic approach to any spiritual belief. Argue all you want, but what it comes down to is what I feel to be true, to be real.

There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in a crooked line.
The less I seek my Source for some definitive,
the closer I am to fine
~Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine

When I tell people that I'm a non-believer (and I don't spout it, but when it comes up in conversation, I don't shirk) I often get a grieving, piteous (and often oh, so smugly pious) look from them. I've even been told, "How sad for you. You must be so hollow inside." I'm far from it. I'm enriched by following my own instincts and comforted in looking at my existence with my eyes wide open. I've studied long, I've listened, I've watched, and what it's come down to - for me - is that we're all made up of spiritual energy. We're the ones piloting this life. My life is blessed because of the choices I've made, because of the color and shape I've molded in my own internal picture, not because of blind faith.

I'm not at all bothered by what others want to believe so long as it's without external conflict. Aye, there's the rub. There seems to be a necessity to force belief on others (yes, I understand that this is part of the dogma of most organized religion). The other thing that I don't quite get is why others seem to feel so threatened by my lack of belief. Why all the ruffled up feathers? It's my choice, after all. Pray for my poor damned soul if you must, but do me a favor... do it quietly, in another room, far away.

by William Earnest Henley
OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


Amen. Go forth. Be.

Friday, April 18, 2008



Need I say more? Oh yeah, thank all the gods! It's been a fast week, but it's been a grind. The faster I dance, the quicker the beat of the music. Time to step away from the bandstand and listen to the breeze.

Someone asked me if I'm still vegetarian. Not so much. I still aim for mostly vegetarian meals, but I do eat meat. I'm much more conscious of my choices, that's for sure. So, while I say I'm sort of vegetarian, in my book that's like saying I'm sort of pregnant (which I most definitely am not, the advent of which would create a whole new star in the East). One is, or one isn't.

Speaking of sex... *sigh*... oh, nevermind.

I've been longing for Hungary (darn ya and your foodie talk, Paul!). I miss Hungary. I miss the bustling city life in Budapest, the big open air market every morning and going to buy fresh crusty bread and sausages and cheese and fruit for breakfast. I miss the dusty villages and watching the cows head down the street and out of town to pasture. I miss seeing the gypsies and the vicarious connection I always felt while observing them. I miss the constant Hungarian chatter (Hungarians seem to always have something to say.) I miss the fierce, but practical passion of the Hungarians. I miss the rich, artery-clogging meals and pastries. I miss my clan. Mostly, I miss an entire country that smells like my Grandmother's kitchen - a country redolent with the scent of paprika and onions.

Volna egy jó nap... viszlát!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Call of the Wild

"In this manner he fought forgotten ancestors. They quickened the old life within him, the old tricks which they had stamped into the heredity of the breed were his tricks... And when, on the still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolflike, it was his ancestors, dead and dust, pointing nose at star and howling down through the centuries and through him."
~Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Ever read The Call of the Wild? You should. It's good for ya. It'll get you in touch with your inner dawg. When I first started getting to know John, he'd refer to his psyche as his dog, and he'd say, "Hey, love me, love my dog." (Beats the crap out of having to love someone's dogma.) That came back to me as I drifted to sleep last night, mixed with memories of London's lush writing.

I'm up early. Heavy drama at work yesterday only means that my workload is compounded. Yay me. Just when I thought things were going to ease up and things could get back to "normal." Instead, I'm living vicariously through those who are off gypsying around.

"He was older than the days he had seen and the breaths he had drawn. He linked the past with the present, and the eternity behind him throbbed through him in a mighty rhythm to which he swayed as the tides and seasons swayed."
~Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Timothy is off on a fishing trip... have a great time pal. Relax, let it all float, and catch some big'ns! Have a beer in a boat for me.

David is off on a 10-day motorcycle trip. Find your joy, Darlin', but please, oh please, keep the rubber side down. Catch some breeze for me, will ya?

Laura's off on a business trip, but from the sounds of things, is managing to work in some good times. Have uno maas and a cupcake for me, Dearie.

"But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called -- called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come."
~Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Me? I just keep pattin' Birddog and saying, "Maybe soon.... maybe soon." But I am missing the road something fierce, missing the forest for the trees, missing the sea. There's a full moon coming on and I can definitely hear the call of the wild.

"It filled him with a great unrest and strange desires. It caused him to feel a vague, sweet gladness, and he was aware of wild yearnings and stirrings for he knew not what."
~Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Now, get thee to a library, or Borders, or Amazon or wherever, and get yourself a copy of London's book!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rogue Wave

No, I didn't write yesterday. My mind was thoroughly whelmed over with so many thinks that I couldn't consolidate any of it into a single coherent thought worthy of spouting. I was hit by a massive rogue wave Monday night, largely thanks to a very nice note I got from the hospice folks. They urged me to "be gentle" with myself as John's Yarzeit approaches (Yarzeit is yiddish for the anniversary of the death of a loved one). "Be gentle?" I thought. "How is anything about this gentle?!" And I'm never ever gentle with myself. I'm forgiving of anyone else's humanity but my own.

This triggered all of the old home movies playing in my head... with a vengeance. And I found myself lost at sea. Had it not been for some very good folks lending kind ears (or eyes as the case was, since it was all done via email), and proving to be excellent flotation devices, I surely would have drown in all the salt water. (Gypsies do much better on solid ground.)

One of the most beautiful communiques I received was from Tonto. She claims she's not a writer, but I don't know many who are quite as elloquent and erudite as she. I had written a short note telling her that I was sorry I'd been AWOL from our normal rampant communication, and "I barely slept last night... too many thinks in my head.... replaying "old movies" from life last year at this time. I'm a bit of an emotional wreck, but I'll get through it."

She has given me permission to post her beautiful reply.

"Hi there,
It's okay that you are AWOL, I more than understand...actually I have been pretty much that lately as well...
I am so sorry that you are having to relive and rewind all of what happened a year ago over and over...I can't even imagine what it is doing to you...and I wish there were something that I could do or say that would help ease it for's horrible enough that it happened, but when it starts taking control of your sleep and your waking thoughts, it's got to be nerve wracking...and a "bit of an emotional wreck" is probably a very large understatement right now...

Yes buddy you will get through it, but, it's gonna be rough road to revisit, and your mind is going to take you there no matter how hard you would rather that it didn't...your love for John was profound and complete, and maybe your subconscious Barb has got to go back there to reinforce the strength and courage and wisdom that it took for you to come through the most horrible experience your soul has ever had to deal are not only reliving the horror of it, you are also reliving the deep love you shared with him, and for him, at the end of his days...maybe you are supposed to do this so that you can know how much you helped him and eased his fears and let him know that it was okay to slip from this world into the next, whatever that might held his hand and his heart until it was time to go, knowing that your love covered him and surrounded him in a soft cushion for his journey. You did everything right, maybe that is why you are having to go back and feel and see it all again. That maybe just maybe this is not some terrible punishment from the gods that you are having to step back in time and all the pain and hurt come flooding back to you, maybe it's to show you that you took this precious gift of John's love, and you did everything in your power to protect it, respect it, enhance it, cherish it, comfort it, rely on it, and that it's still and always will be foremost in your heart.
Big ol' loving hugs to you,

Wow. I've read that at least ten times now, and I'm still floored by it. Is it any wonder that she's Tonto to my 'Sabi?

To all of you who so kindly held my virtual hand yesterday. Thank you. Thank you for plugging up all of the little holes in my shabby ol' life raft and keeping me afloat. I'm ok. (I'm just a little dinghy.) Today is a better day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ad Risum

How did it get to be Monday again already?! I need another weekend. Yesterday I attacked the outdoors, as opposed to my usual communing with it. I raked a bit, relocated some eyesore lumber, and then mowed. My gimpy knee loves me, and is letting me know loud and clear, albeit it's a rather unorthodox version of love... we kind of have an S&M relationship. But, at least I feel I can leave my house again without ignominiously donning some kind of mysterious Greta Garbo garb, and sneaking out when it's dark. Next weekend I may just have to attack the garage. What am I saying?! Oy... where's that frontal lobotomy when I need it most?

"Why does anyone need to buy luggage when we've got all this extra baggage?"

I've been reading personal ads lately, mostly because they're just flat out amusing. I'm just wicked enough that I take great pleasure in "grading papers." I've actually contemplated starting a service to help people write intelligent, cogent personal ads, kind of like those companies that help write resumes. Anyway, one of the things that always makes me shake my head are the ads that have lines such as, "Be drama free. No baggage." Well, hell. Does anyone make it past five years old anymore without baggage?! And, "drama free"...?! This is life, people! I'd like to see what kind of bubble anyone lives in who is without some kind of drama in their life. Let's just ignore the cliche of those two requirements - the expectation alone is ridiculous enough.

Here's a copy of the ad that I've posted a couple of times now. It's gotten great response (along with some outlandishly stupid responses) and I've met some interesting people because of it:
When you respond to my ad...

... please, only write one line. Better yet, just send me a pic of yourself, with stats of your height and weight. Yeah, that'll really rock my world. No, no... don't trouble yourself with witty repartee or intelligent reference to anything that might be going on in your world. If you must be verbose, send me a canned response, because I'm so shallow that all I really care about is the standard cliche that you're "HWP, successful and drama-free." It would also be beneficial if you wouldn't even bother to be inquisitive about me beyond what I look like with my clothes off. Pretend I don't even have a brain, assume that communication is not the key to a relationship. Also, presume that all I'm looking for (in posting here) is sex, so it's just fine and dandy that you're married, because I'm so freekin' desperate that I'm ready to jump the nearest fence post.

Prefer that I be petite and pretty, or tall and lithe. Require that I wear dresses and look good in high heels. No truly good woman ever merely looks average or wears jeans. Demand that I be drama-free as well, because everyone knows that people who make it to 46 years old and either have, or have had, drama in their lives are flat out losers. Life is a breeze, after all.

Ridiculous standards, huh? I don't hold anyone to them. If you don't either, maybe we should communicate. It could just be that I'm the sharp-tongued, independent, life-loving, smart-ass gal you've been looking for.

I got a surprising number of responses that did, in fact, only include a picture, height and weight of interested suitors. Evidently sarcasm and context are lost on some people. Ah well... You can lead a horse to Barb, but you can't make 'em think.

People have such unrealistic "laundry lists" when it comes to what they're looking for in a mate, and then they whine, "Where are all the good men/women? Why can't I find someone?" Well, Dudes and Dudettes, it's because you're meeting the world with blinders on. You're likely shutting out the perfect person for you simply because they have the wrong hair color, or because they're 5'10" and not 5'11". Be real. What's more, be realistic. Demanding outright that someone "must have" or "must be" limits everything. In my eyes, it also makes the seeker look awfully shallow.

Anyway, it's fun and interesting to see what people will put out there. I could write a book. I should write a book. Several. Then I can post an ad reading, "Must enjoy hanging on my every word...."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fair and Tender Ladies

"For Daddy had loved the spring. He used to plow and hold the plowed earth to his face, he loved how it smelled, I recall him doing that when I was not but a little thing, and him saying to Babe, isnt this good now? and dont this smell just like spring? and Babe rolling his eyes and snorting like Daddy had lost his mind. Farming is pretty work, Daddy said.... Daddy loved the dogwood and the redbud and the sarvis and how they looked blooming all by themselves up there on Blue Star Mountain afore everthing else got green. He used to take us way up on the mountain in the wee early spring to tap a birch and get sap, he cut off a big piece of bark for us to licke the inside, it tasted so sweet, I recall he said to me one time, Now Ivy, this is how spring tastes. This is the taste of spring."
~Lee Smith, Fair and Tender Ladies

That's an excerpt from one of my all time favorite books. I've had it for about twenty years and I read it maybe once a year. Ivy has become an old and dear friend of mine by now, so I have to visit her every now and again. The story follows Ivy Rowe, an Appalacian mountain woman, from her early teens through her last breath - from the hard-scrabble mountain farmer's life to the coal mines and back again. It's written in letter style and the world is seen and changes for us through Ivy's eyes as she ages and writes her letters to the people in her life.

"The letters didn't mean anything.
Not to the dead girl Sylvaney, of course - nor to me.
Nor had they ever.
It was the writing of them that signified."
~Lee Smith, Fair and Tender Ladies

The book pulls me on several levels, not the least of which is my identification with Ivy and her love of the mountains. I love her free spirit, her "damn what anyone else thinks" way of moving through the world. But, ultimately, it's the writing style that always, always grabs me. It is so like my own (my perception - really, I can only hope) - the description, the flow, the laying down of words for the sake of the words themselves. I have no doubt that Lee Smith can taste words like I do. It is the writing that signifies.

It's another beautiful day here, and I'm off to wander it and find what treasures Mother Nature has revealed this time. The death of an entire year is heavy on my heart today, while at the same time I live in great hope and anticipation of... more.

"There's a big hawk circling in this blue, blue sky. Lord it is a pretty day, it reminds me of my daddy and how he gave us that birch bark to lick and said Slow down now, slow down now Ivy. This is the taste of spring. I never slowed down.... The hawk flys round and round, the sky is so blue. I think I can hear the old bell ringing like I range it to call them home oh I was young then, and I walked in my body like a Queen"
~Lee Smith, Fair and Tender Ladies

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Culture Shock

Ahhhh, Saturday. And what a beautiful day it is! The sun is making its appearance here in the PNW, sparkling off of the dew and spider webs. The dandelions are in full force and smiling like happy toddlers, the vinca is screaming purple, and the tulip tree is struttin' its stuff like a big ol' bridal bouquet. The air is fresh and I have the windows open. I'm working on my second cup o' bean and life is good. Just the kind of morning I needed after a couple of grueling weeks.

I have plans to go to the ballet tonight to see Midsummer Night's Dream. I used to do cultural stuff all the time when I lived in DC, but it's something that's been missing from my life since I moved West. So, I'm puttin' on my good shoes and goin' high-brow.

Tomorrow I need to fire up the mower and deal with the yard, else my neighbors will rush me in mutinous anger, I fear. They'd be justified.

I'm off to walk down to the lake and say hello to the ducks.

Listen to this a few times and tell me if it doesn't just make everything better... C'mon, get happy!
Nickel Creek, Smoothie Song (I LOVE these guys!!!)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pass It To Me Baby, Pass It To Me Slow...




Friday at last! I know, I say that every Friday, but I really mean it this time. It's been a killer couple of weeks for me at work. I'm still pulling double duty because I still haven't been able to teach my replacement what she needs to know, because her replacement has been AWOL for one reason or another. Enough already. I may be Bendable Barbie, but I needs me a freeeeeekin' break! I'm all but lame from the dingo bites on my legs.

This one goes out to everyone who needs a break... whether your 'good buzz' is literal or figurative, go have some fun and enjoy yourselves. Have a great weekend!

Jonathan Edwards, Shanty

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Measure of a Man

A huge shout out, multiple tequila shots, a fine cigar, and several tremedous hugs go to Timothy today. Happy Birthday old man, and many many more!!!

Think where man's glory
most begins and ends
and say my glory was
I had such friends
~William Butler Yeats

There are many measures of what makes a great man: honesty, integrity, compassion, honor, generosity, devotion, selflessness, perseverance, love, humility, loyalty, nobility. All those and more. My dear friend Timothy is all of those things and a bag o' chips. (Here's where he tells me to shut up and post something else. Yeah? Make me, T-man!) Throw in a cool sense of asthetic and you've got one amazing dude. The lad's got style. I've never met a finer human being. To say that I'm blessed to be his friend is an understatement.

True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils.
~Baltasar Gracian

Timothy and John met in high school, circa 1976 and were friends since. But it went beyond friendship; it truly was a brotherhood. John, in his eminent wisdom, passed the torch to me. I can only say that I would not have made it through this past year or so with the grace that I have, were it not for Timothy. He's been there for me at every turn, no matter what he had going on in his own life.

I could go on. I could turn this into a big ol' Timothy Love Fest (as if I haven't already). I've already called him this morning and harassed him almost enough, so I'll stop now. Have a great day, Brudda T... I wish you fine herbs, sushi, carrot cake and much love.

A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.
~William Shakespeare

The Free Hugs Campaign
~Sick Puppies, All the Same

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Write or Wrong

"Evil is done without effort, naturally, it is the working of fate; good is always the product of an art."
~Charles Baudelaire

Last night I was humbled and utterly touched by an email I received from someone who is virtually a stranger to me. I've never met this person; we've only communicated in words over the internet, and not for very long, at that.

He wrote a breathtaking, and quite baring piece about what's going on in his soul right now. I won't share that because it's personal to him and I'm not at liberty. However, he followed it with the following words: Barb, I really only share this because you have been the guide for me to find strength to reach in and do this. It is/has been something I have done before and I have written well... But it has been shut down or taken away and I thank you for finding it and giving it back.

Considering that this is a person whose strength and skills I admire, I was completely blown away by his words. I've used this quote before, but it's one of my favorites - Thoreau said, "To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts." In conjunction with that is a line to a song that I wrote a few months back, "Don't wanna rearrange your world, I just wanna change your day." If something I wrote, some mental image I conveyed to him, influenced him in such a way that it allowed his eyes and heart to open up, or open back up in this case, then... wow. What an honor. And what a validation of everything I've come to believe and try to be.

But, as anyone who knows me 'for reals' could tell you, I'm no paragon of virtue. I told him so, I wrote back: But... I'm not all that. I have my dark side. I'm stubborn; I'm too forceful sometimes; I cry too easily; I laugh too easily; I can be kind of intense (I'm told). But the Universe gives us balance in everything - where there's heaven, there's earth; where there's water, there's fire. Those same qualities that get me into trouble are also my greatest assets. If I'm sometimes too stubborn, then that stubbornness alse allows me to dig in and fight back when I need to; if I'm too forceful sometimes, that forcefulness also allows me to make my way in a world that would just as soon trample me (and once did); if I cry too easily, it's because I'm so friggin empathetic that I can identify with another's hurt; if I laugh too easily, I can also see beauty in the ordinary; I'm too intense? It's just creative fire. Each of us possess that same yin/yang of any given attribute. I would dare say that your (quality) has probably gotten you into trouble, but has also allowed for you to get through some very tough times. That you can recognize it shows a bit more enlightenment than the average person. I 'dig' that. I like that you refered to me as a guide. That's one of the coolest things anyone has ever said to me. Because, face it, I didn't teach you to write - clearly that was already there. All I did was maybe shine a little bit of light into a dark corner.

We have to be careful where we direct those beams. There's no telling what import we may have in another's world. It's a nearly overwhelming responsibility, and so often we go through life glibly flinging things out into the Universe. Our imprint on others is much like the pebble getting tossed into the pond - long after the pebble has sunk to the mucky floor, the ripples are still expanding and changing the texture of the pond.

"For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change."
~Ingrid Bengis

Off I go... treading ever so gently...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Journey is Worth 1000 Words

How long before I get in
Before it starts before I begin
How long before you decide
Before I know what it feels like
Where to, where do I go?
If you never try then you'll never know
How long do I have to climb
Up on the side of this mountain of mine

~Coldplay, Speed of Sound

I fell into a 111 minute phone call with Timothy last night. Thanks all the gods for unlimited long distance. We talked about everything from relationships to patio furniture. No shit. Sometimes the canvas our conversation is as surreal as a Magritte painting. But, he's one of the very few people on earth to whom I could say anything (and do) without compunction or fear of recourse.

At one point conversation circled around to this blog (I still hate that word). He said, "That blog is the best thing you could have done for yourself. I love that you just decided to do it and threw something out there. And look where it's gone, look what it's given you. And others." Amen, Bruddah T... amen. I never expected it to add such rich texture to my life. I never expected it to be so therapeutic. He went on to say, "I love that you just say whatever you need to, or feel like saying. You don't worry about how someone is going to take it. You just lay it out there and let 'em deal." And, to be certain, that's been the biggest boon out of all of this for me - the ability to let my thoughts fly, the freedom to run naked. All my life I held back on stuff that was in my head for fear of... what?! Now I can't. I couldn't if I tried. It's been an amazing gift for me.

Sure, much of that comes from having the worst that could happen to me (my perception) actually happen. I wouldn't wish that kind of trial by fire on anyone. At the same time, I'm glad I've been put through it - even, I would go so far as to say, honored that I was the one chosen to be so cruelly tested. I'm still standing. I'm not just talking about what I went through with John; it's all of the events in my life that have led me to this point. I'm talking about 46 years of this meandering path that has, by turns, led me through wasteland and lush groves. I wouldn't trade a minute.

So, read on. I keep waking up expecting to find that the well has run dry, but I don't think it's gonna...

Look up, I look up at night
Planets are moving at the speed of light,
Climb up, up in the trees
Every chance that you get is a chance you seize
How long am I gonna stand
With my head stuck under the sand
I'll start before I can stop
Before I see things the right way up.

~Coldplay, Speed of Sound

Monday, April 7, 2008

How long?

Another Monday. What happened to my weekend? Who took it? Give it back, I say! Oy gevalt.

Today is Jonathan's birthday. He's 28 years old. It's nearly impossible for me to comprehend that I've known him for just over 21 years now, much less that he could be that old, even less that I could be this old. I moved to Maryland to be Jonathan's (and his brother Ben's) nanny just before his 7th birthday.

When I met him, he was the most intensely serious kid I'd ever known... not much of a sense of humor, let alone an appreciation for sarcasm. I'm proud to say that has changed (I can only hope it was my influence), as he is now one of the smartest of all smart asses out there. He's got great wit. And, intelligent? *heavy sigh* Let's just say he blew by me on that one along about his 12th year. In fact, I recall an evening when he was 12; we debated the existence of God. His rationale and intelligence and ability to expound on his thoughts knocked me out of my provincial shoes. Most adults couldn't have held up with that kind of discourse. Most kids would have gotten bored and quickly said, "Yeah, whatever..." As it was, we carried on the conversation for well over two hours. To this day, it's one of the best talks with anyone that I've ever had.

He's still an engaging conversationalist. We talk on the phone every few months (he lives in NYC) and conversation is never stilted. He's as open with his feelings as I am, and just as non-judgmental toward anyone elses. In short, he's a blast to talk to. He came out to visit back in '02. One night he and John hauled out the chess board amid debate over every given subject under the sun. I finally crapped out and went to bed around midnight. I woke at 4 a.m. and they were still out there in the dining room, huddled over the board and staring at the pieces like they were going to come to life and spout wisdom of their own.

Am I proud? Absolutely, and so honored and humbled to have been part of the man's formative years. I'm no substitute for the mother he lost, but I'll tell you this: I'd stand between him and any dragon, any day.

Whenever I hear the Indigo Girls sing Galileo, I think of Jonathan. I can't post an embed of the video here, so you'll just have to follow the link, if you wish to:
Galileo's head was on the block
The crime was looking up the truth
And as the bombshells of my daily fears explode
I try to trace them to my youth

And then you had to bring up reincarnation
Over a couple of beers the other night
And now I'm serving time for mistakes made by another
In another lifetime

How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of Galileo
King of night vision
King of insight

I think about my fear of motion
Which I never could explain
Some other fool across the ocean years ago
Must have crashed his little airplane

How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of Galileo
King of night vision
King of insight

I'm not making a joke you know me I take everything so seriously
If we wait for the time till all souls get it right
Then at least I know there'll be no nuclear annihalation in my lifetime
I'm still not right

I offer thanks to those before me that's all I've got to say
Cause maybe you squandered big bucks in your lifetime
Now I have to pay
But then again it feels like some sort of inspiration
To let the next life off the hook
Or she'll say
Look what I had to overcome from my last life
I think I'll write a book

How long till my soul gets it right (till my soul gets it right)
Can any human being ever reach the highest light
Except for Galileo (resting soul)
Resting soul (of Galileo)
King of night vision
King of insight

How long?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Can't Quite Put a Finger on It...

Surprise, surprise. No rain today. I was up early and went walking (4.5 miles). Now I've got a big pot of chili simmering on the stove, and I'm in a crafty mood. Time to dump the boiler in my pressurized brain case. I've been living in seige mentality for too many weeks, between work and life stuff. I'm in desperate need of a road trip. However it is unlikely that will happen any time soon considering gas prices and finances. So, artwork it is.

I've been pondering something Tonto flung out at me the other day. It's just the kind of dark smart-ass humor I love her for. We were talking about (essentially) how life can turn the tables on you. She said, "Don't let the fickle finger of fate flip you off."

I instantly had two different mental pictures when she said that. One: I'm just another fly on the great big shit pile and there's a humongous finger poised and waiting to flick me off, hurtling ass over tea kettle, into a different realm. Two: The three Fates are sitting around, eating nachos, staring down and thinking, "Let's screw with her day today." Then as I stumble, trip, and fall over various obstacles they've placed in my path, a giant hand appears to give me the bird, and a nasty high-pitched female voice giggles and shouts, "Neener neener!"

I like the second scenario better. Mostly because I don't want to be a shit-eatin' fly.

But I love Tonto's words. Classic.

if sunlight
is god
if the river
is life
who am I
to be standing
in either?

~bb 1996~

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Soggy Saturday

"I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests."
~Pablo Neruda

I love the rain, I do. No one will ever convince me that we get "too much rain." We merely get a lot of rain. Sometimes we even get enough. We had great rain yesterday. I titled an email to a friend, "It's Rainin' Zen." That pretty much sums it up for me. Rain takes me to a calm place, a place where I can wander the corridors of my mind at leisure. None of this frantic, "OMG, I have to do, I want to, I gotta... oh, and there's that, and... wait, I just...time, time, time... thinking thinking thinking..." No, when it rains, the inside of my head has a much more stroll-through-an-art-museum feel to it. Granted, there's some funkalicious art danglin' from the walls. C'est moi.

The other day I was asked if I have a happy place I go to in my mind when things get tough. You bet do - several, in fact. Upon thinking about the places I 'go', I discovered that most of them are somewhere in Hungary. One such place is a tiny room at the top of my Uncle Rudi's house in Budapest, 1978. He had turned the room into a mini library of sorts. There was a small sofa in there, a chair, an end table and a lamp, and a wall lined with a book-heavy shelf. There was one small window that was just enough to add a lighter shade of gloom to the gloom. A well worn oriental rug graced the floor and was anchored by stacks and stacks of old Hungarian newspapers.

So many places in Hungary reside in my mind as being places that are deeply magical. I think that's partly because I never knew where I was going, or going to end up. Such was the case one rainy summer afternoon. It was pouring rain, torrential even. The power went out and I was sitting in Rudi and Juliska's kitchen wondering, "Well now what do I do...?" Rudi didn't give me much time to answer. He quietly said, "Gyere ide." (Come here.) I followed him up, up, up the narrow stairway.

I'd never seen the room before that day because they always kept doors shut, and I wasn't the type to go prying. So, when he opened the door and gestured me in, I was completely unprepared. I'd thought it was a closet. Instead, I found myself falling back in time, into an old Dostoyevsky novel. I rather timidly sat on the edge of the sofa while Rudi rummaged around behind a stack of newspapers. Finally, he pulled out an antique phonograph. It was the kind that needed no electricity, just a deft hand to crank it into action now and then. He also had a stack of about a dozen 78's. (Anyone else out there in TV Land old enough to remember 78's?) He cranked up the phonograph, gently set a record spinning, and lowered the needle. What I heard next took the whole experience to a new surreal level. I expected classical music, or maybe Hungarian folks tunes. But no, out came the sounds of some old bluesy American jazz from the 20's & 30's.

So, we sat there for a couple of hours, my Uncle Rudi and I, listening to the fine sound of those scratchy records, playing against the hiss of the rain. We didn't speak the entire time, I think my grin said it all for him (and probably translated much better than my shabby Hungarian). It was an afternoon that was absolutely lush in all its texture. It has it's own special box in my memory warehouse and I go there often, paw through it, sniff the old books, smile at my memory of Rudi, hang on the lumpy loveseat, listen to the slow low whine of the blues, and keep my eyes on the rain streaming past the little window.

Look who woke up, ready to get crafty today...

Friday, April 4, 2008

All At Sea

Yesterday I got hit with what I've come to call a rogue JPJ wave. Just like a rogue wave out at sea, it comes from nowhere and tries to capsize me. I was in the middle of crunching numbers and shuffling papers, not even thinking about the man, and suddenly John's face was right before me; his deep espresso brown eyes and devil-may-care-grin playing in technicolor on my internal movie screen. So, I zipped out of the office, went outside and sat at "my table" beneath the pines, and let the tears fall until I got the boat righted again and both oars back in the water.

I miss the man. I miss our silly banter, that deep baritone "Darlin'," and the smell of the back of his neck. So, when I went walking after work - it was such a gorgeous day - I marched to my own tune, and had composed the following song in my head by the time I got home. All I had to do was sit down and play it.

Gypsy Blues

Walkin’ the city tonight
I listen to the beat of the dust
As it plays on my shoes
Passed by the old neighborhood
All of the old friends, old places,
And the memories I can’t lose
I don’t want to live in the past
But all the same
I can’t seem to forget about you
It’s been a long, long while
In takin’ old wounds to heal
What else was I supposed to do?

Time goes by so fast
You can hardly tell
A day can seem like forever though
When you’re walkin’ through hell
This gypsy girl’s got too many stories to tell
About the good ol’ days
That flew away with the years
Yeah, those good ol’ days,
They flew away with the years

Somewhere inside of me
Is a small part that dies
If I start to think of the lovin’ and you
I’d like another cup of coffee
Another midnight conversation
Another rainy afternoon
Gone before we even had a chance
Disappeared in the middle of the dance
You left too soon
Walkin’ the city tonight
I listen to the beat of the memories
I just can’t lose

Time goes by so fast
You can hardly tell
A day can seem like forever though
When you’re walkin’ through hell
This gypsy girl’s got too many stories to tell
About the good ol’ days
That flew away with the years
Yeah, those good ol’ days,
They flew away with the years

© Barbara A. Black - 2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Friendly Fire

Pass the analytical knife.

Now you're about to get cut up or get cut down
It's all about the wordplay all about the sound in the tone of my voice
You gotta let me make my choice alone before my food gets cold
Better shut up or get shot down
It s all about the know how, all just a matter of taste
Stop telling me the way I gotta play. Too much food on my plate.

~Jason Mraz, Too Much Food

I've pretty much heard it all now. In the world of ridiculous accusations, I've reached the epitome. Lock it down, ship it out, done deal.

Last night I was told that I was trite and offensive. Well now, offensive, sure, I've heard that before, but never in connection with me offering someone my friendship. Yep. In telling this person that I'm their friend, I offended and became common. The word trite actually was used. Trite. I may be many things, but not that. I am never less than sincere when exposing how I feel. What would be the point?

When I say I'm somoene's friend, it is the same as when I give my love (and really, isn't friendship a version of love?). It is without condition or expectation. It is what it is; this is who I am. (I've done enough soul surgery to know.) I don't ever require that a person declare the same to me, or feel the same toward me. I give both easily. I can't not.
You can say that I'm the one curly fry in the box of the regular
Messing with the flavor, oh the flavor that you savor

~Jason Mraz, Too Much Food

I've always felt different, always felt like I'm somewhat of an outsider in this world. I'm aware that I'm too empathetic and sympathetic for my own good. Again, it's who I am. I've learned to accept that about myself, see it as a privilege even. So being, I've also learned that, in a world filled with hatred, anxiety, and sorrow, I'm a good force of energy. In an autobiographical poem from years ago, I wrote the following about my inner-workings and self-acceptance of such:
Babi rises with the sun,
and gives out love like gumdrops
Babi shines bright
Babi's alright
Babi take a bow tonight

So I give love and friendship easily. So what. So I wear my heart on my sleeve. So I don't hold back. So I'm fiercely passionate. So I (try to) recognize the good in people and zero in on it like a murder of crows at the bread factory dumpster. So what. Isn't there enough disrespect, antagonism, and apathy in the world already? I'm thinkin' maybe so.

Does that mean there's no depth in my actions or feelings? Fie. Ridiculous notion. Preposterous. Absurd. It's not about warm fuzzies; it's about being there. My heart is big enough to hold the entire Universe in a spiritual hug, and I'm just the gal to do it. Oh yeah. Try'n stop me. If I ever do stop reaching out, pass the tequila shots around and say a kind word, because I'm already gone to another plane of existence. Spread my ashes someplace pretty and know that you were loved (sincerely) by a word-flingin' gypsy girl.
I ain't the one whose gonna be missing the feast
Just like you ain't the one who seems to be calming the beast

~Jason Mraz, Too Much Food

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

I'm not always brilliant... just so's you know. For a supposed intelligent woman, I can be a total idiot. I pulled a real Dorothy and foolishly went looking for satisfaction beyond my own back yard; got dazzled and distracted by the pretty sights. Shoulda stayed on the farm, snackin' on crullers with Zeke and the boys.

Ah well. Lesson learned. There's nothing in that rattling black bag of tricks for me. Click heels thricely...

Jenny Owen Youngs said it best. "The fuck was I thinking...?" Laura, thanks for enlightening me months ago to this fine tune... wouldn't have made it through the night without this one. (*cue wise-ass gypsy smirk*) S'ok. No worries. I'm fine. Oh yeah. "Sophia home... Sophia home now... pass me them peas..." And (in another reference to The Color Purple), to that handsome stranger who played me like a happy little banjo: "Until you do right... everything you even think about gonna fail."

Let's go home, Toto.

G'lord, but I do have a fine talent for mixing story lines, movie genres and obscure lyrics.

Jenny Owen Youngs, Fuck Was I

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Syzygy Is the Way Things Have to Be

4:30 a.m.
It is foggy... still... beautiful... deep... dark... rich... enveloping.

Happy April Fool's Day.

Speaking of fools, I've been contemplating love and longing. It's so easy for me to give love, and that is always an unconditional act on my part (read any of my posts that mention John and you'll understand that with great clarity), far less easy for me to hold back on wanting to. What invites longing in us? What turns us into willing prisoners? What generates that chest tightening, my-heart-is-about-to-burst feeing? And... why the hell is it so difficult to ignore? It's more difficult than trying to not think about an orange.

then forget everything you ever heard about love
for it's a summer tan and a winter windburn
it comes like your face came to you,like your legs came
and the way you walk, talk, hold your head and hands -
and nothing can be doen about it - you wait and pray
~Carl Sandburg, Honey and Salt

Sandburg knew. Most of us know the undefinable agony of love's longing. Some are willing to take a big bite out of that bittersweet flavor, some are not. Some dive in, warning unheeded; some stand on the ledge in fear of the free fall. Me? I'm a diver. I always seem to take the risk and jump. (Alas, passion is the benchmark of my Scorpio nature.) No risk, no reward, right? No pain, no gain. I don't wait to see if it's going to be accepted - that's like opening the parachute before you leave the plane. Occasionally it leads to disaster, but I've never felt that I've been left in ruin.

"Let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love."
~Love Actually

For me, it's not about reciprocation. It's only about being allowed. There is huge freedom in another giving me the latitude to express my feelings. Yeah, sure, being who I am, I'll express regardless of the acceptance or allowance, but when those are proffered... what a gift; what a treasure.

Once more into the breach, dear friends...