Which Ish is Which?

Photo Ish

These three letters are my gift to you
But, use them wisely whatever you do

Ish was born in merry England of old
The suffix is sly when its meanings unfold

It prays on naivety to get its meaning across
Ish’s gain could very well be your loss

“Insert Sarcasm Here” is its acronym when you text
And while you’re pondering that, let me tell you what’s next

So that rap songs are able to play on the air
A slang was created to edit when they swear

The words are jumbled, making the song now legit
You guessed it, ish is rap lingo for *#!%

And now, the ishs you’ve been waiting for
Keep this one your back pocket and with people you’ll score

It lessens the intensity when added to a word
It’s not really a lie, just an opinion blurred

“…It’s a bit smallish…”, “…She looks youngish…”, you respond with confidence
Knowing full well you’ll never be accused of false pretense

I’ve saved the very best for last
Of this one, I’m a real enthusiast

“I’ll be ready at sixish”, you say with a smile
Your partner’s scratching his/her head wondering all the while

Are we coming or going? Do we even have a date?
Will we be arriving early or be fashionably late?

So, gather your ishs and dole them out where you may
And remember, it’s not what you think, it’s what you say

 

Shout out: to my Sun City posse for their ish inspiration.

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When You Zag Rather Than Zig

Photo Zig Zag

It’s not the way it was supposed to happen. It always arrives at the most inopportune time. It’s never invited, it just crashes your party and refuses to leave. It overpowers your thoughts, changes your plans and affects your emotions. It leaves you feeling lost and unguided.

Disappointment can be annoying, crushing or somewhere in between, but when things don’t go our way, how do we really know which direction they were intended? Until that door closes, another one cannot open. Even though it’s frustrating, we have no choice but to patiently wait until the entire scenario plays itself out before we get to see how it ends.

The end is usually a new beginning. A love lost that steers us toward our true partner. A career change that sparks our creativity. A move that lands us where we belong. Tears that make us appreciate every smile. Maladies that help us to celebrate life.

I am always in awe of the sheer strength and determination of the human spirit. There’s something inside us that gives us an internal hug just when we need it the most. It’s like the throb you feel when a wound starts to heal. It’s your body letting you know that it’s being attended to and before long, it seems as if it had never happened.

Whether you believe that you are being guided by a higher power or by the universe, we can all agree that a little fortitude, hutzpah and moxie will go a long way in reminding us that sometimes we need to go left when things don’t go right and that zag doesn’t always follow zig.

 

Do I Need More Pippi in My Longstocking?

Photo Pippi Longstocking

Our only similarity is that we were both born with red hair. From the first time I met her, she was my idol. She is fiercely independent, unconventional, playful and unpredictable. Her pigtails fly in the wind, her grin widens and her freckled face flushes, as she races from one adventure to the next with her best friends: her horse, her monkey and the two children that live next door to her at her home, Villa Villekula.

Pippi Longstocking (full name Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Longstocking) is the figment of the imagination of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Recuperating from an illness, Astrid’s daughter asked her mom for a story and named the main character Pippi. Initially rejected by publishers, the books have since been translated into 76 languages and made into television shows and movies.

As a little girl reading the books, my eyes would widen and my heart would race; how exciting to be so free! Little did I know that my personality had already evolved, as observed by JC*. She quickly realized that, rather than inheriting her easygoing nature, my tendencies for perfection and order were thanks to my dad.

She knew she had her hands full, but guided me along with such patience. By the time she received the call that I was in the nurse’s office by second period on my first day of junior high, she was resigned to the fact that I was a bit different from other children. Apparently, I did not see the humor in being handed one of the first computerized class schedules, having only a few minutes to arrive before the bell rang and being mistakenly assigned to the boy’s bathroom for second period.

In my efforts to be a bit more spontaneous, I have actually made some major strides:

  • I visited a model home and did not rearrange anything (I’m not sure if this counts, since Mr. Wiz* was holding my hand, tightly).
  • I polished my fingernails a completely different color than my toenails.
  • On a whim, I changed my grocery shopping day from Friday to Thursday.
  • I double snoozed my alarm.
  • I impulsively ate four Triscuits with lunch, rather than my usual three and did not worry about biting cracker number four precisely on its horizontal markings.
  • I went on a trip without any pre-planning, waking up each day and deciding on my next Wait a minute that was a friend of mine that did that, not me!

Oh to be a bit eccentric! What fun it would be to make paper airplanes out of my to do lists with my avant-garde pals. Regrettably, I am only able to participate as a spectator, realizing that the only flow I am able to go with is if it has first been documented on an Excel spreadsheet.

At first, I thought that living vicariously through others was unfortunate. Then I realized that family and friends are as fascinated with my quirks as I am with theirs. They loosen me up, I keep them on track and together, we walk through life one unique step at a time.

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

 

 

 

 

Tell Your Worries to Take a Hike (Literally)

Photo Take a Hike

Mud; that’s all I remember about my first hiking experience. It was not a pleasant one (read “Coming Clean on a Dirty Little Secret: My First Hike Fiasco”). That’s the beauty of being a late bloomer; being just a tad behind the curve allows me the opportunity to watch and learn from others.

Years later, when Mr. Wiz* invited me to join him on the Camino, I had a decision to make. Do I stay behind, afraid to try something out of my comfort zone? Or, do I join him on this adventure and walk 500 miles through Spain? After some research, I decided that if pilgrims had been walking the Way of Saint James to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela (where tradition has it that his remains are buried) since medieval times, this was something not to miss.

I still remember the day the REI salesperson tied me into my first pair of hiking boots. As I stood at the top of that mountain, I felt positively giddy; no matter that it was the four-foot plastic mountain in the middle of the shoe department.

Walking for 33 days changes you; with nothing to be concerned about except your immediate surroundings, life slows down. It’s amazing what can go on while your feet are moving. Spending hours watching them maneuver rocky paths cleans out all those cobwebs in your brain. Sharing stories and feelings with someone you’ve just met exhilarates you. Walking in silence is meditation in motion.

The sounds of rustling leaves, rushing water or a bird singing, the feeling that comes from taking a big deep breath on a cool day and that wonderful ache you feel from pushing your body just a little bit more; this is Mother Nature’s way of putting her arms around you.

Too much wild life can take its toll. Let’s try to balance the party animal in us all with some tranquility. Being down to earth rewards us with the mental, spiritual and physical aspects of life that we might have missed out on, had we not stopped to smell the roses.

So, when all else fails, get out there and walk! Worries and stress are no match for flora and fauna. Uncomplicate those complications, hop over those hurdles, break down those barriers; it’s amazing how solutions can miraculously appear if you just let your feet lead the way and take one step at a time.

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

 

Classified Information: Our Family’s Secret Language

Photo Classified

It all started while watching one of those late night black and white movies. A woman had plastic surgery after an accident. After a bout with amnesia, she finally returned to her family, but they were never really sure if it was her. This led to the creation of our family’s secret handshake. These days when one of us does or says something out of character, we use it in a humorous way as if to say “…Is it really you?..”

When Big A* was a little boy, I told him to remember “…It’s what you hear…” If I was not there to pick him up after school, he was not to leave with anyone unless they said the word “oreja” (the Spanish word for “ear”). When he was a teen, he knew he could always whisper our code word “despacio” (Spanish for “slowly”) when he wanted me to take it down a notch in front of his friends.

Throughout the years, Mr. Wiz* and I have unwittingly developed an entire communication system. Through facial expressions and eye movements, we can express ourselves in a clandestine manner, even in a crowded room. We can complement each other, ask if that’s what we’re really going to wear, agree to leave early or stay late, accept or decline an invitation on the spot or suggest that we not tell that story again.

Of course, all covert operations have their glitches. Once at an auction, my sudden sneeze was misinterpreted as a signal to hold up our paddle. Luckily, we were out-bid and the Picasso never joined our art collection. Likewise, innocent tapping of fingers on a table could be misconstrued as an emergency Morse Code message.

This combined with some made up words and an alpha/numeric system that my dad taught me as a little girl (whereby numbers 1 through 10 are replaced by letters) makes for techniques that rival CIA intelligence operations.

Though we have been approached and asked that we share this complex, intricate methodology with operatives around the world, we have decided to keep it between us as just another way for our little family to huddle together in our private club and smile as we celebrate what makes us unique.

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

 

Questioning the Quirky

Photo Questioning th Quirky

Designer toast for breakfast anyone?

Once in a while, I like to take the time to let my mind wander and wonder about all those little things that most pay no attention to. As guilty pleasures go, it’s also very cathartic; the cobwebs seem to disappear from the corners of my brain. It’s the equivalent of swishing mouthwash and that refreshing minty taste you’re left with. Here are my some of my most recent ponderings:

-Why do we sing “Rock a Bye Baby” to infants when we know perfectly well our soothing voices will soon croon the last stanza that inevitably leads to a 911 call?

-A popular new business has sprung up where you create a DIY project while enjoying cocktails. If I didn’t have any artistic ability before I entered, how will libations help my creations?

-Why do airline seats recline if reclining them can lead to airplane rage (similar to road rage, but without the foot pedals and steering wheel)?

-Has anyone actually been arrested for removing the tag off their mattress? If so, are they assigned to a special area of prison, along with the anglers who purchased the fish they entered in the bass fishing competition (a real thing)?

-Did Dr. Seuss have anything to do with the naming of Pflugerville, Texas? Every time I pass the sign for the exit on the highway, I smile to myself and wonder: are the Pflugers in Pflugerville all filled with glee to realize their town is a source of Seuss imagery?

-Does toast that pops out of a $650 Dolce and Gabbana toaster taste any better? Rumor has it that the toaster’s heating coils will not accept a slice of plain, white bread. Hurry to Neiman Marcus (aka “Needless Markup”) while supplies last and do plan to name drop: “…Sorry I’m late, but I had to polish my $650 Dolce and Gabbana toaster with mink oil…”

Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to take the road less traveled, stop and smell the roses, give your mind a well-deserved rest and not be too quick to disregard the quirky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egging Yourself on: Is it All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Photo Egging Yourself On

“…How many times around is that? …” Every Saturday, Gus, the maintenance man, would stop by and say hello, fascinated at my routine of bicycle riding around the perimeter of the giant, empty parking lot at a nearby government building.

While many of my friends are cyclists and think nothing of a 50 mile day ride, I am content to be a bike rider, safely tooling around my sheltered environment. This decision comes with the confidence that I know myself well enough to understand the difference between motivation, persuasion and being sensible.

If we can egg someone on, don’t we also have the ability to egg ourselves on? When should we push ourselves and when should we be prudent?

Egging someone on means to incite, urge or provoke. The term comes from the old Norse word “eggia” which means “to edge” and has nothing to do with hen’s eggs. Or, does it? Let’s examine the types of personal decisions that can change the course of our lives:

Half-Baked
When combined with spontaneity, can produce hazardous consequences.
Examples: sky diving in a Third World country, getting a tattoo in the same Third World country, clown college

Scrambled
A jumbled combination of longing, jealousy, impulse and willpower (lack of).
Examples: plastic surgery for pouty lips, skateboarding lessons, the 10 peas a day miracle diet

Hard-boiled
An analytical approach involving pros and cons, right and wrong, practicality and objectives resulting in a meticulously executed conclusion.
Examples: college, 401Ks, wedding planners

Come out of your shell, get to know your inner self and together decide the path that’s right for you. Remember, a life without objectives is like an egg without salt.

 

 

 

 

Who Put the Multi in Tasking?   

   Photo Multi Task

At the gym the other day, I overheard two women talking about taking some classes together and hoping that their line dance and conversational Italian language classes wouldn’t conflict. “…Too bad you couldn’t take them at the same time…,” I joked, with a mental picture of them in the throes of some intricate foot work and turns while repeating out loud “…One, two three, please, thank you, where is the bathroom? …” in Italian. “…That’s a great idea! …,” they both agreed as they exited. I tried to dress quickly, catch up with them and tell them I was kidding, but they were already gone.

Picture the working mom, breastfeeding with a spoon in her teeth, as she stirs tonight’s healthy dinner simmering on the stove, listens to the news and sends one more email while her three-year-old sits at her feet, using her legs as a mountain road for his Matchbox cars.

It seems as if we no longer can do one thing at a time. We squeeze all we can into each day, never considering whether each task is getting their fair share of our attention. Just like the overstimulated baby that cries out in distress, we sometimes need to be slowly rocked back into tranquility, so those big, bad to-do lists won’t huff and puff and blow us down.

Life is chaotic. Things need to get done; responsibilities are requisite and errands are inevitable, but what if we took a moment to consider how some slight adjustments might alter our everyday life? Going about the day with a Zen attitude makes us more aware of the present moment. Here are some small changes we can try that will reap big rewards:

  • Focus! Try accomplishing one activity at a time and concentrate on the task.
  • Inhale and exhale! Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself to slow down.
  • Let go! Minimize your closet, your to-do list, your worries and keep it simple.
  • Laugh! Seek out the silly side of life.
  • Be quiet! Take a walk, turn off the car radio and enjoy the silence.
  • Move it! Strive for stillness with yoga, clear your head with a run or try anything in between.
  • Be solo! Savor some alone time, whether you are an early bird or a night owl.

Back in the day, you could find me running to catch the 156 bus after a 10-hour workday. Flamenco classes were now added to my growing list of musts. Under my seat, I would practice my footwork while humming the music, eating an apple and sending just one more email. Now I can see why the seat next to me always seemed to remain empty.

The next morning, rather than attend an important business meeting, I found myself in my doctor’s office having an emergency EKG. When my chest pain was diagnosed as a pulled muscle, I hugged my doctor and thanked her. She reminded me that she had nothing to do with the diagnosis, put her hands on my shoulders and said “… I have 2 words for you: slow down! …”

I admit there may have been times in the past when I had toyed with the idea of taking a computer class in a foreign language I was not at all familiar with, hoping to learn both in half the time. Nowadays, I can still task with the best of them, but I have realized that the only “multi” I should be focusing on is a multivitamin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Malia Rae, Heartist

Photo Malia 2

“The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” WB Yeates

Discovering hearts all-around her; it’s not the thread that Malia Rae intentionally set out to weave through her life, but it makes perfect sense in hindsight. A formally educated photographer, she was led on a different course than her original plan.

For years, Rae called Chicago, Illinois, her home. The cold weather never ruined her sunny disposition until it intermingled with a love lost. She sought refuge in Austin, Texas, when friends opened their arms to her.

Perhaps her transformation could have happened in any city, but there is that vibe in Austin that seems to make it distinctive from other places; it’s so welcoming, approachable, artsy and cool (even when the temperature spikes). This weird, wonderful city seemed like a different country altogether to her and she blossomed there.

This was the point where that one decision would impact her for years to come. Head held high, would she let her spirit soar, follow that inner voice, explore the unknown and start anew? Resilience won out over complacency and she buoyantly embarked on a mission to heal herself.

What you look for in life, you find; Rae says she remembers the concept struck a deep cord within her and she set out on a search as if her life depended on it. Drawn to nature, she would spend hours exploring. Three months later, she was still waking at sunrise, exploring beaches and walking in the woods. Then it happened; a rock, a leaf, a cloud – all in the shape of a heart. For a moment she wondered; had they always been in plain sight or were they figments of her imagination? Luckily, her ever present companion, her camera, was there to serve as her witness.

As she so poignantly explains it: “…Eventually, nature responded to my desperate calls with an abundance of love, manifesting itself in the symbolic shape of a heart. I find it fascinating that the obstacles in our path can be fuel for the gift that we give back to the world. In this work, I am learning to turn betrayal into trust, mold heartbreak into love, and transmute depression into passion and purpose. In my quest, I have also found that I am not alone. In my art, and in my life, I want to create a connection with other hearts and share the love…”

Cultivated from the depths of her soul-searching journey, it’s easy to see why her company, My SoulTribe, resonates with anyone that it touches; a tear, a smile, a sigh being the ultimate compliment. Was Mother Nature waiting for her all along? Or, did those hearts magically appear as a reminder of the power of tenderness, affection and devotion? No two are alike, yet they share the ability in making you feel as if someone is wrapping their arms around you.

You will still find Rae up at sunrise, searching nature for more signs of abounding love. Her journey continues as each message revitalizes her. During a recent trip to Michigan, she couldn’t help but smile when she happened to glance at the hearts on the Virginia license plate of her rental car plate that read “…Virginia is for Lovers…”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photo Malia 1

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a Tech Weenie

photo intervention

The intervention took place on Jan. 19, 2019. A segment of The Today Show featuring two bloggers had just ended, when JC* turned to me and said “…You’ve got what it takes. That should have been you on the show…” Mr. Wiz* chimed in and mentioned that because I am not on social media, my chances for that opportunity would be limited. Once JC was brought up to speed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, she was more determined than ever to convince me that I needed to stop over thinking and start doing. Mr. Wiz concurred, secretly happy that my phobia was finally out in the open and topic for conversation.

Memories of my high school years flashed before me, when JC would help me to circumvent my reluctance to try anything new until I was able to analyze it thoroughly. She’d stand outside each store in the mall, egging me on until I was hired for my first part time job. She never said that I shouldn’t be a flight attendant or a teacher, but mentioned that I had talents that might steer me in a different direction. That and the suggestion that I take a summer job as a waitress in preparation for some of my airline duties and consider my patience levels with a class of children made me rethink my career path.

Interventions are never comfortable. Being confronted by my two biggest fans and supporters, I could see that I was in denial. Part of me knew that I had to take that big leap to be successful, while my stubborn side was convinced that I could do it my way, not realizing that only Frank Sinatra had that luxury.

This became cause for introspection. Was it fear of failure or fear of success that was holding  me back? If I could positive think myself into so many successful situations, why not this one? Yes, I knew what had to be done. I would remind myself that if I was able to master so many assorted computer skills in times past, why would I let it intimidate me now? I reassured myself that my concern about the extra time it would take to achieve social media success could be side stepped by one touch of my alarm to an earlier wake up time. It was time to get my moxie back on.

Now that I’ve officially made myself accountable by confessing my shortcomings and stating my goals, there’s nothing to do, but get going. But, before I do, I’m going to take a moment, close my eyes and imagine myself sitting across from Savannah and Hoda, charming them with my witty banter and not looking the worse for wear due to the compulsory early morning wake-up call for all Today Show guests. And, to all you Facebook, Instagram and Twitter enthusiasts out there, I’ll see you on the other side.

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.