Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Talk to the Plants at Work

I talk to the plants at work. Each morning I greet the short plant that I call Shorty. He's the first one I see. Sometimes I forget, and when I do, something feels off, which causes me to go back around from my desk to set my eyes upon him. There was a little while there when I would let him dry out until he looked like wilted spinach, but it wasn't to be cruel. It's that it was easier to water him that way, to be sure the water penetrated him well. And it was lovely to watch him go from a low droop to the perkiest, happiest, Shorty that he is. I stopped doing that though and thought it best to keep him looking his best in case a visitor came during one of his droopy moments. They wouldn't understand. Instead, shorty would look neglected.

Today when I was watering the rest of the plants, I was admiring and speaking to the tall palm. He doesn't have a name–just Tall Palm. His new leaves had unwrapped so beautifully. I took my hand after watering him and felt his new leaf, seeing how perfectly it had unwrapped from a tight frond, feeling the smoothness–the cool skin and veins. The light was shining through the window and I could see the silhouette of my fingers. I was seized by the moment. I set the watering can down, grabbed my phone, and snapped a photo. It was a simple wonderful moment where the palm and I connected on a different level. It was as though I was seeing the palm and myself for the first time; life beating through our veins, and it was lovely. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tonight ~ A Few Books

I've been recording my thoughts in bits and scraps, collecting a reel of moments as best I can.

My reading diet since August has mostly consisted of accounting and business. The end of classes are in sight, and I must say, it can't come soon enough. I've hardly read a work of fiction, except for blogs, since July. But, alas, yesterday marked the day I finished a novel that I started in September. It has taken me that long because I didn't want to deviate from school work. I've also dipped into a few other books, but not as many or as long as I'd like. 

The novel I finished is called The Ice Chorus by Sarah Stonich. I found this one while I was searching the library shelves one day back in September. Something about the dabs of orange and red watercolor squares on the book's spine caught my attention. After reading the inside flap, I had a good idea what the story would be about. In short: a happy marriage that leads to an affair and a woman finding herself. But there's so much more, so many details and stories. I was drawn to the story in part because it involved an artist and alternates between Mexico and Ireland. We are guided along on this woman's journey, learning how her story begins and the internal struggles she goes through along the way.  I grew to care about the characters, especially in Ireland. It's a story I will remember and will revisit in my mind, and the writing was gorgeous.

I also picked two non-fiction books from the library's shelves: 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman; and Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D. What little I've read so far of 59 Seconds has been inspirational. This seems like a gem of a book, packed with information, that can be read in small spurts. I've only read a few pages of Love 2.0. I'm thoroughly intrigued. There are quotes that head each chapter and this one is speaking to me tonight from the chapter titled "Loving Kindness": 

"Love Doesn't just sit there, like a stone;
it has to be made, like bread;
remade all the time, made new." 

–Ursula K. Le Guin

I've sufficiently deviated tonight, catching up on blogs and such. I'm tired, yet I keep staring at the page, knowing there is more, yet unable to spit it out at this time– I stare at the white space, feeling the heaviness in my eyes, and the heaviness from looking at a computer screen for too long, neck stooped over. The blank page has a way of casting a spell; and now, I must break that spell–

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Moon & Childhood Innocence

Last night as I was driving to class I was captivated by the moon. I couldn't take my eyes away. I've always been a moon gazer, and being ruled by the moon, I feel a special affinity with her. Sometimes the moon feels like a masculine being and other times, I feel her feminine presence. It's difficult for me to describe how beautiful she looked last night–a dainty slice curled into a translucent golden orb–framed, reflecting each other's light upon the space they shared–the whole and the part and the brightest star, a sweep away, held by the distant and dazzling moon.


On my way to class I started to re-listen to the audio book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I loved listening to the book the first time and felt that I was in the mood for a second go. Eventually, I will check the book out from the library because there are so many spots I'd like to re-read. Anyone that has any interest whatsoever in learning more about introverts and extroverts, will gain much from this well written and researched book. I don't like labels, but introvert is a label I am and can live with and am not at all ashamed of. 

My class was interesting partially because of the group activities we had, although, I was feeling overstimulated by the noise and didn't participate that much. When it was time for us to do one last thing, I decided I wanted to work alone, so everyone else was in groups, hurrying to copy each other's answers and trying to get done to get out of class. My partner asked me if I wanted to see his answers and I said that I would  pass and that it helped me to work through he material and search for the answers myself. 

I wasn't all alone though because one of the students brought her son with her and he was sitting in front of me. He had his lego figurines and book laid out of the table that he sat at. He had turned around earlier in the class and I smiled at him. At another occasion we were watching a video and when he turned and saw that I was writing notes, he flashed his light on my paper. I looked up at him. He said, "You shouldn't write in the dark." I told him thank you. He turned back around to his table. And and I was watching the movie, I was thinking what a sweet kid he was. I asked him later what grade he was in. He said 4th, so he must have been about 9 or 10. 

So while I sat there working through my glossary words alone, the boy turned around and started chatting with me. I gave him my attention. He said how he was looking forward to school tomorrow because he had band. I asked him what instrument he played and he said the chimes. I think it was the chimes, either the chimes or the bells. He asked I wanted him to show me the song he was working on and I said sure. It was short. He went through the motions with his hands, the first time calling out the notes, then he did it using his voice to make the sound of the bells/chimes. Anyway, I have to say I was more interested in hearing what he had to say than when I was working in the group and it was more my style: One-to-one communication. 

I can't remember the exact name of the song he was playing but it was French and it had to do with the moon. He said it in French and I tried to repeat it and he said, "That's right!" The last part of our conversation was priceless to me and brought me back to the simplicity and innocence of childhood:

"Did you see the moon?" I asked

"Yes, it was a quarter moon!"

"And did you see the sta..."

"The star! Yes! It was right across from it."

"It looked so beautiful."

My heart was so touched. Except for some children, writers, poets, nature lovers, how many students in the class would have truly seen the moon as this boy did? It was wonderful to share the moment with him and to know that he truly saw it and was just as touched.

We chatted some more and towards the end, he said to me, "You have a good attitude. I like you." I kept my eyes on his and said, "I like you too." There was a pause, then he said, "Friends?" And I affirmed his question and with the carefreeness and confidence of of childhood, I said, "Friends" and I smiled.

At some point in our conversation he told me I looked like I was about 12. I said, "Wow, really...Thanks."

I started packing up and we said our goodbyes. I wished him a fun band class and said good bye; he thanked me and said goodbye.

I walked to my car with a light step, and in some ways thinking, I've gotten to a point in my life, where children make more sense to me. I've always been in touch with my inner child, but there was just something that made me feel that I should be or belong amongst reality I don't think it's in my cards, but that doesn't mean I can't make the most of the experiences that bring me in contact with children.


Sliver of a moon
you are especially dazzling
tonight. Orb glows sending
messages across the gap to a shining
star. Crisp air. I step out of the car
and Jacaranda, your scent arrests
my senses. I inhale your spicy tangerine
aroma that fills me with the feeling that I
am at the entrance to a great hearth
in the kingdom of...I reach out,
my fingers touch the handle–
I turn, ready to enter.

Journal - Headaches - Getting it Out

This morning I sit with my cup of tea, listening to the whir of the heater warming this cozy space. The table is missing its vase of flowers. I have a headache that is medium at the moment. After a visit to the doctor, I decided to finally give in to taking a daily pill for my migraines. I really don't know if it's going to work. I think it's been about 20 years now that I've been taking Imitrex and then a generic form of it. The pill is meant to be taken right at the onset of a migraine and for the most part it works, but there have been many occasions where the headache won over and there was nothing to do except ride it out. In those moments, the nausea is unbearable; vomiting is exhausting, relieving the pain for those brief moments standing over the toilet and then the pain seems to intensify, throbbing and making me feel like creating some other type of pain, just to forget about the pain I already feel. There is also the feeling of wanting to smash your head open against a brick wall to break all the tension away. I've tried to go into the pain, become the pain, and quite honestly, it doesn't help and only intensifies. I try to sleep, holding a cool wash cloth over my forehead, but even sleeping is a chore. I can't do anything except ride it out. Sometimes, it goes away the next day, but other times, it can last days. I've had to call in sick to work, which I hate having to do. 

And so, I've only just begun taking this daily pill at a 10 mg dosage, which the doctor said that if I do get a headache, if I can bear it, don't take the Imitrex and increase my dosage of the daily pill to two pills, which will be 20 mg. I can take up to five pills per night–if it got to that point. Last night was my fifth night taking the daily and well, I've had to take an Imitrex, which I took this morning. I can't miss any more work this year. I've thought about acupuncture , but I don't think I could realistically afford the treatments. I try to stay away from my triggers, but one I can't avoid and that's my monthly cycle. Every month I'm guaranteed a bad headache that may last a few days. I used to see a Chiropractor, but that was when I had comprehensive health insurance through a different employer. I think it helped a little, but I don't know how much. I keep a headache calendar and write down every time I get one. I average about ten per month, most have been intercepted with Imitrex, but the doctor thinks that 10 to 12 pills of that pill is too much. 

I don't like getting my migraines. They make me feel unhealthy, weak, and sometimes embarrassed. It's not easy to talk to people about migraines who haven't experienced one for themselves. Even then, each migrainer feels the pain differently, but at least they know.

My mother got really bad ones. I remember seeing her in pain and in bed for days. I don't think she had medication, so she had to ride them out each time. What's interesting is that in looking back at my childhood, I remember sometimes feeling sick at home or at school and ending up in the nurse's office and then being sent home. Then I remember a span of my childhood where I wasn't sick. Then in my twenties I started getting the headaches. I remember trying to deal with one. A friend and I were going into town and I had a pounding headache and felt nauseas, but stubborn me didn't want it to get the best of me. As we got through the crosswalk, I went to the nearest bush and vomited. I decided I better turn back and go home. 

I will say this–I am grateful that I've at least found some form of medication that works. I've read stories of some people where nothing seems to help. It may not be the best solution and I still haven't given up on the daily pill. I'm trying not to get down about the fact that I may have to up my daily to 20 mgs. I have to accept the fact that this is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life and in the scheme of things it's not so bad. I've just never liked taking pills if I can avoid it and now I'm stuck with them, not to mention the potential toll they will take on my body in the long run.

I had to get that all out because it's been on my mind. Maybe I'll come back to my blog one day and read this and just maybe my future self will be off the pills or maybe the headaches will dwindle, decrease...who knows.