Monday, August 29, 2005

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

For the past two days this song has lilted through my brain waves. Dionne Warwick is pounding my head with her light tinkling voice. Why? Yesterday I took the love of my life to the airport so he could spend the week in San Jose. He is learning the ins and outs of the highly engineered equipment he uses in his job. After this week he will be able to fix the equipment. It's perfect for him...he loves to take things apart and put them together.

I have never been to San Jose. I picture green rolling hills with high-glazed buildings. Every surface is reflective or translucent. To me, this is the image of silicon valley--shiny, metallic contrast against a lush landscape that is northern California.

I just recently finished One Hundred Years of Solitude. A powerful, creative book filled with interesting characters. It follows the entire history of a town and the family that founded it. It was all at once overwhelming and underwhelming. Details on important historic happenings were crammed into a single paragraph while a single animal description could take up two pages. So many people had told me about this book and I read it with great anticipation. But, in the end, I was only satisfied slightly. The characters are described in such a way that the adjectives that relate them are removed. There are no emotional ties to these never truly feel them. There are moments when they creep into your heart, but quickly, he tears them away with a mundane, unrelated detail. The imagination behind this book is stunning, but I was not sad when the characters died.

Right now, I am reading Stop-Time by Frank Conroy. It is wonderful wonderful wonderful! It is considered the quintessial book for creative nonfiction. His voice captures the mood so thoroughly. You take a journey with a boy and you never want it to end.

I have decided to concentrate on one book at a time for the moment. No more juggling books. Next book will be the completion of Cold Mountain. I have enjoyed this book so much that I have been holding off on finishing it. I don't want it to go away. But, my best friend has insisted I finish so she can talk to me about it. Everyone should read this book! It is pure genius and beauty.

Before I go...recent bands I am in love with...Hot Hot Heat, Embrace and The Shout Out Louds. Two are from Britain (gee, that's a surprise) and the other is from Scandinavia.

" you know the way to San Jose...doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo doo-da-doo-da-doo..." Shut Up, Dionne Warwick!

Friday, July 22, 2005


Today at lunch, I pondered the beautiful fig. As I ate my Fig Newtons, I thought of the rounded fruit and its luscious center--sweet and sticky. I searched the Internet and found that this lovely fruit was brought to California by the Spanish missionaries. There are many many varieties of the fruit, some with elegant stripes of varigation. It is no wonder the fig has been the subject of paintings. I think figs are a fruit that makes one think of rich, lavish living. It belongs on a plate accompanied by the finest cheese and wine. I don't know how well they grow in Arizona, but I am thinking that perhaps I will find out. I would love to have a fig tree. It is time to stop by ponderance and get back to work.

If you would like to learn more about figs, visit online at

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Post Script

Current Readings...
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Both are excellent books. I would recommend them to anyone.

Another recommendation...
Visit Sunset Crater Volcano National Park near Flagstaff, Arizona. We went to this park over Fourth of July and I was awe at the power and force of nature, as well as its beauty. We hiked around Sunset Crater Park and Wupatki Park for the day. Wupatki contains ruins from native americans that lived in the region in 1026 A.D. Just astounding.

Music I had discovered...
Michael Buble. Velvety smooth crooner that can make anyone's heart melt.

Just Touching Base

I hadn't realized how long it has been since I wrote in my blog. Life after school has been busy and so fulfilling. The wedding plans are going along swimmingly. It has been a wonderful experience with family and friends helping out. It is so nice to have so many around you that care about you and are excited about celebrating the love you have for one another. We are two lucky people surrounded by caring people. I am having a hard time understanding why so many people consider wedding planning stressful. It has been nothing but fun and anticipation. Of course, I am most looking forward to our honeymoon...Australia and Tahiti are going to be fabulous! I have been reading books about both places in order to get the full experience. One such book is Mutiny on the Bounty--if you have never read it, you must! It is a great adventure book.

Amongst the excitement and fun, real life pokes its head in once in a while. The company I am working for is merging with another of its kind. The stress at work has been enormous, but with the love and support I have from my family and friends, it has been easy to swallow. I feel blessed everyday, especially on those days when naysayers and judgmentalists find it their place to "rain on the parade."

In the past few months, I have learned there are two kinds of people: people who fear change, and those who like to face it head on and accept what it has to offer. Those who fear change take it upon themselves to be negative even when those in front of them are overcoming the adversity with dignity and an unspoiled heart. Those who welcome change, ride the sea of change with anticipation and an open heart. I am glad to know that my love and I are surrounded by those who welcome change...we all ride in the boat together.

As I write this I think about that movie, Parenthood. In the end of the film, life is compared to a rollercoaster. Do you just buckle up and enjoy the ups and downs life throws your way? Or, do you resist and leave your head dangling over the side of the car? I would much prefer putting my hands up in the free and flowing, the other holding onto my love's...enjoying the ride together without losing who we are.

Life is wonderful. It holds so many new and inspiring things for us to discover. Finding these things on my own is an experience I enjoy, but searching and uncovering these things with my soulmate is an experience I cherish. No two people could know more what love is about and the power it has to overcome all of those unknowns. I thank God every day for the life I have and the people I can share it with.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Meeting...part 5

“Rory, that’s sweet. But, I don’t think so. Not yet.” She smiled sweetly and rubbed his hand softly.

He was embarrassed by the rejection. However, he understood where she was coming from. “I guess we should go back inside. It’s getting late.” He kicked the dirt under the rubber sole of his Converse sneaker. He had worn the same brand since he was in elementary school.

“I hope I didn’t wound your ego, Rory. I’m just not quite ready. I was with someone only a four months ago and I had a hard time getting over him.” She smiled again and shined her eyes at him. “When the time is right, okay?”

Rory took her hand and they walked back to Greg’s. It would be a week before she would let him kiss her, but when that moment happened…he knew in his heart she was the one he would follow for the rest of his life.

“Rory, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“You were staring off into space. Are you sure you want to go dancing afterward? You must be pretty tired.”

“No, I’m not tired. Just thinking about something I need to do tomorrow.”

“Seems like you have a lot of responsibilities at work.”

“Yeah, it can get kind of crazy. But, let’s not talk about me all night. Tell me what’s going on with you. What have you been up to?”

She bit her lip and her eyes looked up. Unknowingly, her finger nails tapped the edge of the table. She was thinking. God, I love that look, thought Rory.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Different View

Only two weeks ago I finally ended the three-year journey of earning my master's degree. And, in the two weeks since that time, my view has changed on my life. No longer am I a slave to a strenuous schedule of classes, papers and readings. I don't regret school and all of the discipline it brings. In fact, part of me will miss it. But, I also feel free. I feel like my life has been released and I can spread my wings to touch the sun. I can do anything!

Before the looming stress of work would cut to my inner core. Now, I peer at this stress with la vie en rose. I can't help it. Nothing seems to get me down lately. Is it the achievement? Or the release? Or is it because my life seems to be synchronized to perfection at the moment?

My fiance is back home and our lives have intertwined with much more ease than I thought would be possible after a year apart. I am planning my wedding...a once in a lifetime event that I have waited for over the past seven years (I even found my dress!). I am on the top of my game at work and in my professional organization. And, I am finally decorating and organizing my house so that it looks as if adults, rather than college students, live here. I'm happy. I'm content. I'm ecstatic.

It is my hope that I can keep up with my blog at a better pace than I have recently.

Just a few extra notes:
Current readings -
Sunburnt Country by Bill Bryson (reading up for the honeymoon in Australia)
Mutiny on the Bounty by Nordoff
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (one of the most brilliant books ever!)
The Liar's Club by Mary Karr

Since being out of school, I have tried to control myself in the reading department, but obviously I am not too successful.

Most recent musical fascinations -
Van Morrison

One last note...friends are some of the most precious people on the planet. They can make you smile at the perfect moment. I want to say thank you to my friend, Lydia. We talked on the phone today for an hour and it reminded me of why she is such an important part of my life. What a blessing!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Meeting...Part 4

“Ah, it is the lovely couple. Why has it been so long since you come here?” asked Alberto. He was the jovial owner of Rosa’s. He had, like every good Italian boy would do, named the restaurant after his mother.

“No, no, Alberto. We’re not a couple anymore,” said Beth. She waved her hand from side to side and displayed an embarrassed smile. From the corner of her eye, Beth could see that the comment didn’t strike Rory in the most positive way.

Alberto looked at Rory with a questioning expression, his dark eyebrows bowing down toward the center of his nose. “What she mean?”

“Alberto, Beth and I haven’t been together for a couple of years now.”

“Now I have no faith in love anymore. You two. Oh, bellisima! So perfect! But, I suppose you know best.” He pulled the chair out for Beth.

“Miss Beth, you look very beautiful tonight. We have your favorite…mama’s lasagna.”

“I don’t know about you, Rory, but that’s what I’m having. And, Alberto, please bring me a glass of Merlot.”

Rory sat down at the table and started to lift up the menu. “I’ll have the same as the lady, Alberto.”

Alberto took the menus from the table and walked to the kitchen, leaving the two alone.

“I forgot how great this place was,” said Beth.

“Yeah, me too. Came here once after you and I broke up. It just wasn’t the same.”

Rory took his napkin off the table and laid it on his lap. When he lifted his eyes from his lap, he locked into a stare with Beth. Those blue eyes had made him weak so many times. At one time, those fiery sapphires could deceive with innocence, anger and passion. Her eyes were what first captivated him and held his attention six years ago.
He met her at a barbeque at a friend’s…Greg’s house to be more precise…in Austin. She was out from Los Angeles, visiting her sister, who turned out to be Greg’s fiancĂ©e. Greg introduced Beth with a short anecdote about a fishing-trip-gone-wrong the day before. Greg was showing her how to cast and she hooked an elderly gentlemen parked in a lawn chair right next to them. The man wasn’t upset about the ripped shirt, but the beer he spilled when he jumped up with surprise. The problem was remedied when Greg gave the man two beers to replace his one.

The entire time Greg related the story, Beth’s face was colored with various shades of pink and her laugh floated on a cloud to his ear. Delicately, she covered her mouth as she giggled. It was endearing. It reminded him of the Japanese women he met when traveling in Tokyo. More than just her laugh and her beautiful pixie-like face was her sparkling eyes. Their color instantly brought an image of the blue belles in his Aunt Pamela’s garden. They also brought to mind the perfect azure sky on a summer’s day in Wyoming.

Greg left after his story about Beth, leaving them to talk for the rest of the day and into the evening. At 2 a.m., he found himself sitting next to her on a swing at the park across from Greg’s house. He could smell her gardenia perfume on the wind. It intoxicated him.

“I know we just met today, but, Beth, can I kiss you?”


This weekend has been busy and full of furious activity as I prepare for my thesis defense this Tuesday. To get out of the house and get a few things done ahead of time, I headed to Kinko's.

After making some copies and cropping a few pieces for mounting, I walked out into the darkness. The air was cool...I soaked it in because soon summer weather would bring warm evenings. I walked slowly to the car, clutching the color copies to my chest. I opened the car door and put the copies in the passenger seat. As I walked around the back of the car to the driver's side, I noticed a young couple standing outside of a silver pick-up truck. The man reached into the truck and turned up the radio. The faint sound of a soft fiddle drifted across the blacktop of the parking lot toward me. The perfect music for a night like this. Then the man put his arm around the woman, her head rested on his shoulder. They began to dance under the golden light of the parking lot light.

Slowly they swayed back and forth. He stretched out one of his arms with her hand clasped in his and they started to do fancier steps. His foot overlapping hers. From far away I could see they were smiling and laughing to one another. I could feel the happiness and love of the two strangers across the parking lot.

I felt honored to witness such a sweet moment. These two made me yearn for my love in New Mexico. Soon, he'll be home. Being separated from him this last year taught me so much about love and its importance. I don't want to ever take him for granted. I want to cherish and savor every moment we share together. We can share an impromptu dance. We can share a positive laugh. We can share intimate secrets, letting others only guess what makes us smile.

I will take every moment I can to dance, every moment to laugh, every moment to love and every moment to smile. Isn't that what life is about? Seizing the good moments.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Meeting...Part 3

The ride in his car was filled with silence. She watched the passing lamplights and street signs with intensity. She was afraid that if she let up her vigil toward the street, he may start a conversation. She wasn’t yet sure how she wanted to react to this reunion, this rendezvous. Nothing had happened between the two of them, but for some reason she felt guilty being in his car and within his reach. She tried to bring Cody to mind, but her thoughts were repeatedly ravaged by luscious visions of Rory while they had been together. Rory always had such a strong chest and his arms…NO, NO, NO. You must get these thoughts out of your head. Think about something else. Ben Gay.

Ben Gay. The pepperminty smell could always change her mood. It made her think of her grandmother slathering on the mentholated salve while in a flowered housecoat.


“What? Did you say something, Beth?”

“Oh, no, nothing. I just sneezed.” She began searching her purse for a Kleenex.

“Then, bless you. You always had the worst allergies.”

“Yep. Darn allergies. I started going to an allergist last month and I’m hoping it will clear up the problems I have had for years.”

“Are you getting injections?”

“No, not just yet.”

What are you doing, Beth? You were not supposed to start conversation, let alone about your allergies. You really are strange.

“Sorry. I’m speaking gibberish. You don’t want to hear about my medical problems.”

“No, it’s not a problem. I don’t mind. I was just glad the silence was gone.”

“It’s been a long day. I’m a little beat. Sorry. I promise after dinner I will be more upbeat.”

“Beth, there’s no need to apologize. I remember that about you. You apologize for everything. I like being around you. Don’t worry about it.”

“You’re right. Thanks.” A smile snuck upon her lips as if she had a secret.

Just then they pulled up to the valet for Rosa’s. The white twinkle lights were glowing from the eaves of the restaurant’s front. Inside, nothing had changed. It was still cozy and romantic. In the middle of the restaurant was a fireplace, blazing a soft orange. Twinkling lights swagged from wall to wall along the ceiling. The only other light in the room was the candle, sitting on each table. The food here was excellent, but Beth had always noticed that wine tasted better, eyes sparked vivid and caresses were softer in this place.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Final Stretch

It has been a long time since I have posted. Hopefully there aren't too many people waiting for the next installment of the "Meeting" story. It is sitting and waiting to be posted...I just haven't had the time.

I am in the final stretch. In five weeks, I will graduate from my master's program and my fiance will be home for good. I can't believe it has almost been a year since he went off to New Mexico. It has been the quickest, yet longest year of my life. Between my social life as a "single woman" and my rigorous school schedule, things have been moving at light speef. However, the waiting for my love to come home has been tremendously tedious. I don't want to have to do this again for a long time.

The completion of my thesis project has been laborious and challenging, but so rewarding. I never knew I could accomplish something that has caught the eye of so many people. I think this might possibly be the first time I am actually impressed with myself. I am really proud of the product that has resulted from this effort. I am planning on entering my project into a contest. My professor is sure I will win the cash prize. I will just be happy if it gets some attention--no need to win the grand prize. The best part of this project is that so many people who are special to me have contributed to its has become a wonderful memento of the people I love. What could be a better way of ending a degree program?

Well, since I am writing my blog from work, I should probably get back to my department budget and abandon my blog. Look for the next part of "Meeting."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Meeting...part 2

She could feel her heart beat pick up its pace. A bead of sweat formed at the hairline just above her brow. She quickly wiped it away with stealth and swift.


The first word didn’t sound as sure as she had hoped. It sounded weak and wanting. Think about being mysterious, she told herself. Remember what you learned in voice over class—lower your voice. She concentrated on the next set of consonants and vowels that come out of her mouth.

"Of course, I came.” Each syllable pronounced and emphasized.

She stepped forward and over the threshold of the hotel room door. He stepped back and out of her way, scooping his arm up and out in the direction of the room’s living room. It was a comfortable elegant room, covered in shades of blue and green. Past the furniture, TV and coffee table hunkered down with an ice bucket and bottle of champagne was a view of the city that she had to soak in. Every pore of her body yearned to move toward the big open window before her.

The hotel was situated on a hill overlooking the city. Every light sparkled in the Valley below like stars in a clear sky. She wanted to reach out and hold them in her hand.

“Great view, huh?”

"Oh, it’s amazing. The room must have cost a fortune.”

“It’s all on the company’s tab. Here, let me take your jacket.”

Electricity traveled down her arms as he placed his hands upon her shoulders, sliding her dark blue coat off and past her wrists. Having his touch so close, let off a small scream of excitement deep inside her brain. No matter how much she liked him being close, she would not anticipate anything later in the evening. This time she would remain in control. After all, she had a great guy in her life. She didn’t need Rory. This visit was just out of curiosity. Plus, they had decided they would remain friends; they were only friends. It was courtesy to see friends when they came into town. A satisfied smile stretched across her face, pleased with the explanation she gave herself.

She stared out the window, trying not to look at his reflection. She closed her eyes, then opened them with resolution, deriving her strength from within. She turned around in time to him walking toward her.

“So, how long did you say you were in town?”

“Only a few days.”

“Is it a convention or something?”

She made her way to couch. Look casual. She sat down, pulled a magazine off the coffee table, crossed her legs and began to flip through the glossy book.

“No. I am here to talk to a couple of companies, looking at their machinery.”

“Interesting.” Turning pages while they talked.

“Not really. But, I got to see you,” he took a deep breath and sat down on the arm of the couch, next to where she sat. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t think you would come.”

“Oh, of course,” she let a light giggle escape, lilted on a bubble of nervousness. “It’s nice to see you too.”

He just gazed at her, contentment on his face. The room was quiet except for the baritone whir of the air conditioner. For the first time she noticed the cool, neutral scent of the hotel room. Why do hotel rooms always smell like nothing?

“Where are we going for dinner?” she killed the silence. Her abruptness surprised her so she switched her attention to the flounce of her skirt, tracing its hem with her fingertip.

“Well, I was thinking we could go to that little Italian restaurant you took me to the first time I came out here to see you.”

“Rosa’s? That sounds nice. I haven’t been there in a long time.”

Rosa’s had the best food, but it also had the most romantic atmosphere. The small climbing-rose covered patio, candles, the sound of the ocean just on the other side of the low patio wall. She lulled into the memory of their last visit to Rosa’s. Long glances at one another as their ruby glasses of wine shimmered in the flickering light. His eyes sparkled at her that night and his lips had pleaded for hers to meet them when he enveloped her hands in his. She hadn’t even taken Cody to Rosa’s yet. In her mind, she had always saved such a place for special occasions. She and Cody hadn’t even been together for a year yet. And, she just couldn’t picture him in such a place.

“So, Beth, what do you think about going out dancing afterwards?”


His question alerted her back to reality and it took her a few moments to get back to her senses.
“I was listing off things we could do after dinner and I thought dancing might be fun. I always enjoy dancing with you. Do you want to do that?”

“That sounds fine.” She started to get up. She wanted to keep her body moving so she could remain aware of his every move. She didn’t want to let her guard down with him. It was too easy for her to give into his charms.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Meeting... part 1

So, I have decided to do something a little different in my blog. I had a fiction story come to me the other day while walking to classs, so I have been compelled to write it. I will be putting installments of the story on my blog every so often, hopefully, to your reading pleasure. Perhaps, the story will seem sappy or sentimental, but I just can't control's just there inside. So, enjoy! Let's begin part one of "Meeting"...

She looked at the piece of paper in her hand again. It was ordinary yellow lined paper. The numbers 242 had been written on a page’s corner and ripped off. The page it was on was probably part of a whole page that contained numbers and figures; part of the pad in his leather portfolio. The leather one that had worn, faded corners. She could see his hand grip the sheet and tear with a quick fluid motion—wrist moving, arm flexing, all in perfection for one moment. Swoosh. The sound cut the air.

She looked up from the paper and stared at the gold plate affixed to the center, just above eye level, of the door. 2-4-2, she read. This was it. She glanced at the paper again, then once more at the door. Her hand formed a fist and began to move it toward the door’s surface. Only a few inches from the woody plane, she looked down at the toe of her black shoe and gulped. She closed her eyes, brought her head up and set her gaze finally on the grainy knot under the gold plate. Knock, knock, knock.

The sound echoed through the carpeted hallway. Time seemed to slow to stop-action speed. She looked to either side of her in slow motion. Frame by frame her hand went to her ear. Her long slender fingers smoothed her silken wheat-colored hair behind her delicate ivory earlobe. She pulled her lips together and then apart. Breathe. Breathe. Her tongue swiped by her bottom teeth, gently. She blinked and as her lashes lifted back up, the door opened.

She took a deep breath. Words could not come to her, she could not escape from the cage of her mouth. She just stood staring at him. There he was, she thought. Isn’t he beautiful? Rory Manning in all his glory.

She took one foot and placed it, ballerina-esque, behind the other. Stay confident, she tells herself. Don’t let him see you may have a weakness for him.

She has zoomed in on his angular chin. She noticed a dimple in the corner of his mouth. He was smiling; brilliant white teeth gleamed at her.

“Hello,” he said. His voice was melodic. It wasn’t low and sultry, but also not fit for making baby goo goo sounds. His voice smoldered up and through every one of her joints and veins. She could feel the hair on the back of her neck prickle. “I’m so glad you came.”

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Rainy Morning Meditation

This morning, I woke up early in order to be downtown at 7 a.m. -- it was still dark outside when I rubbed the crusted sleep out of my eyes. My hair whipped me in the face as I stretched each arm heavenward. I showered and dressed in a hazy half-sleep. I pulled my chin up and pulled my hair back, just before I walked out the door.

As I backed out of the driveway, drops of rain danced upon the hood of the car. Just before backing into the street, I inserted Jack Johnson into my CD player, turned on the headlights and flipped on the windshield wipers. On the freeway, there were only a few cars. The road was shining from all of the water on its surface. A giant black mirror I hoped would tell my fortune or whisper that I was the fairest. The wipers going back and forth, back and forth across the window, created a rythmn that seemed to match that of the mello surf music washing over the interior. I concentrated on the road ahead, searching for my exit.

After exiting the freeway, I made my way along a road that ran parallel to South Mountain. With all of the seasonal rain, South Mountain's rolls were covered with green, wall to wall shag carpeting of grass. A sajauro, here and there along the mountainside, would glimmer in the sun's peeking light. It tried to push through the purple clouds with all its might, but the clouds would not give. The rain remained.

I arrived in a poor area of Phoenix, parked in front of a church. Pulled together buildings attempted to have the semblance of homes. Unmatched sides, tin roofs and multi-colored bricks formed squares with triangular tops. This morning, the church was going to be serving breakfast to its neighbors. My task was to interview the clients being served by the church in order to gather information for a survey on hunger. Another volunteer was to meet me there to assistant in the task. For 45 minutes, I waited in the car as rain baptized my car. I listened to the music...intently, it brought to me the sounds of the ocean and the smell of salt. I missed the ocean this morning. I missed its comfort.

In my waiting time, I read the sweet words of a novel. The languid lines on the page rolled over the palate of my mind and left a luxurious taste in my mouth and through every cell of my body. With the meditation of the falling drops and the whirling, swirling of the music's melody, I became lost in the moment. All time stopped, but at the same time the clock's hands hurried forward without allowing me to catch up. It was almost 8 a.m. when I looked at my watch. No one had yet arrived at the agency.

I was jerked from my literary nirvana. What should I do? I lifted the cell phone to my ear and called the coordinator. "Go home if they aren't there. It's okay. I will contact the agency in the morning." I walked out into the rain. Tat-tat-tat--the water pelted down on my windbreaker. The other volunteer rolled down his window and I told him we could leave. A droplet landed on my eyelash. I let it stay for a while before brushing it off. In my head, I bid the drop adieu while I walked back to my car.

Knowing my route, I made my way back home. The rain kept me in a daze, aware only of the road and the cars around me. As I pulled out onto the freeway, I could almost drive home by braille. I have driven this route so many times. I kept my eyes open wide, looking for breaks in the clouds. None appeared. Jack's voice began to sing "Taylor" to me. The rah-tah-tah-tah-tah of the tune lightly tapped at my temple. This is what morning should be like. This is the kind of glorious meditation that should be saved for Sunday. This is the kind of day, I could be certain was stirred and created by God.

Only He would know how to make a moment, a morning, as perfect as this.

How am I supposed to look forward to a day of thesis work now?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Time and Friends

Time is a funny thing. Time brings change. Time brings seasons. Time brings perspective. Today, I thought about how time brings friends.

My best friend and I have known one another for more than 14 years. Our friendship only becomes stronger as we get older. She and I are kindred spirits who can start wherever we have left off, no matter how long it has been since we have seen each other. She only becomes funnier and wiser as we know one another. I love who I am when we are together. I cannot imagine my life without her. She is more like a sister than a friend...I owe this closeness all to time. We will be friends, cackling together, when we are in our 90's.

Another friend of mine and I always have known one another since the fifth grade and all through high school. But, once we ran into one another in college, our friendship became closer. Time and life experience had given us something in common...something we could share. We lost touch, but found one another again. Now, even though he is living in another country, time has given us more to talk about, maybe not more in common, but we appreciate one another. Some friendships are just destined to remain. And, I know if he reads this he may scoff, but it seems that God knows when we need to talk to each other. He knows something the two of us don't. We are there for one another when we need it most. I like that. It's comfortable.

Other friends come and go in my life. We come together for a moment, pulling what we need from each other at that time in our lives and then we move on. There is an exhiliaration of finding these friends again. We reunite, get to know one another again, and then just as I make a space for them, they disappear into a fog. Sometimes it hurts when I lose them, but then I grow from the experience. And, I think part of me knows that although they are not there at the moment, they are still somewhere in the background. They are those friends that have given me great memories, I cherish them. If they were around all the time, I may not appreciate them and what they have given me.

Then, there are friends you only have for a short time. Sometimes, these can be the friends who are most precious. I remember my friend Shannon from fourth grade. We were inseparable. And, just as I had found a best friend, her family moved to Texas. I never saw her again, but I have never forgotten her. Another friend of mine, stole my heart. He was my first love. I thought he would be around forever. His life was ended short. I think because I was a teenager at the time, I learned more from him, and his experience, than anyone else in my life.

There are moments when I wish time would not continue its march forward and would let me keep my friends as they are. But, there are other moments when I know that time has made them even more special. Whether they are there forever or only here for a short time, each of my friends has been a blessing in my life. They are gifts sent from God, to shine in my life and help me remember who I am and who I can become.

Thank you...all of you...especially for sifting through my emotional rant. You're wonderful!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Great American Race

Today was the day of the Daytona 500, the Great American Race, the first race of the NASCAR season. My heart can once again find its natural pulse, revved by the sound of engines. My blood can course through my veins at its natural speed, pushed through by a draft of cars circling around an oval track.

I love the beginning of the season; there is much to which to look forward. Every Sunday will become a ritual in front of my television. I will become hypnotized by aerial views of the track, where cars look like small colorful boxes, swerving and jockeying for position. The adrenaline rush that puts each driver onto the track will be revealed in the words they choose to swap after a crash. My friends and family will be brought together by tales of swapped paint and botched pit stops.

Of course, the speed is what draws me to the sport, but there is also the science. The science is what made me drool over NASCAR. When I learned about all that goes into the engine to improve the statistics on the side of the driver and his crew. Or, when I discovered that physics is also intertwined into this display of horsepower and torque, I was hooked. It is a display of man harnessing a machine's power.

Thus begins a season of speedways, superspeedways, short tracks and road tracks, evening races and daytime races. In the end one victor will stand among them all. This victor will be declared master of the machine, aka Nextel Cup Champion.

I await each exciting weekend with anticipation, exhilaration.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Trying to Study

Tonight I have been trying, in earnest, to study. I look at my books, my list of tasks and the spreadsheets on my computer, but it is no use. I can't concentrate. I just can't study like I want diligent student. My preoccupation? Television.

More specifically...sappy movies.

Ever since we got cable TV, it has been the death of me. It has been the death of my good study habits. Tonight, I was enthralled and mystified by two movies on Turner Classic Movies.

First, it was an Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn movie called, Same Time, Next Year. It was a play adapted into a film script. It is about a couple who meets in the 1950's at an inn in Northern California. They instantly become attracted to one another. Both married to others, the two decide to meet at the inn at the same time every year. Their affair lasts about 30 years. They love one another while lovng their spouses. It is quite beautiful. These two people have enough love in their hearts to love two people. Never have I found a movie about an affair so intriguing and true.

The other movie I watched...well, technically, am watching The Bridges of Madison County with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. I read the book a long time ago. It captured my heart. The characters are so passionate and yet so naive. They are so innocent and lost in the love they feel for one another. I is the ultimate in sappy films, but I can't help myself. What can I say? I am a romantic.

Isn't that what love should be? A connection so strong that it spans time and distance. Love should hit you straight in the hard that your breast literally hurts from the emotion welling up inside of you. Your heart pounds deep and fast with purpose and conviction. And, most of all...your lips are numb with anticipation and your finger tips long to touch the one you love. What a wonderful feeling. What a glorious feeling.

It is great that someone can experience all of this in real life...and then when they are having withdrawals or maybe need an extra shot of this "drug" can watch a good old fashioned sappy, romantic movie. I hope this genre never goes away. I think I may be an addict.

Now, please don't tell anyone I have this weakness. It is just between you and me. Shhhh.

P.S. Here are some of my other favorite sappy movies...they always pluck at my heartstrings: An Affair to Remember, The Notebook, Green Card, and, one of the best, Cinema Paradiso. If you only have time for must see Cinema Paradiso.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Getting Along

It has been nearly nine months since my fiance went to New Mexico on assignment. And, I have learned to get along on my own. Not that I haven't always been independent and adventurous. But, this experience has shown how much I appreciate those around me. It also has shown me that I can be successful on my own...I don't need my fiance in my life...I'm not dependent on him. I WANT him in my life. He adds to my life.

Getting along on my own has shown me I am so much more than I first thought. I have discovered my spirit and my own freedom. These new-found positives have helped me to be a better writer and a better professional. I know now that I have worth. For the first time in my life, I feel empowered. I can look to a future of going after the things I want to achieve. I have the power to be successful.

I still cannot get over the fact that I was quoted in USA Today. I am still in awe at the fact that after so much hard work in learning my profession, I finally hit the big time. I never take myself for granted.

For that matter, I no longer take my relationship with my fiance for granted.
Our love had happened so quickly and easily that I think I began to assume too much about our relationship. Now, I appreciate all we have and see how wonderfully unique we are. Thank you, sweetie, for all of your love. Without you, I would have made it, but I would never feel like a whole person.

I also have come to see how truly wonderful all of my friends are. So many of them have been supportive while I have been on my own. They have all shown me how they love me--each in their own way. Without them, I wouldn't have found out how much I have to offer. I know not all of them will see this, but I want to say to each of them...Thank you. Thank you for making me smile, for checking in on me, for talking to me late at night, inviting me out, laughing with me and sharing wonderful moments with me. All of you have blessed my life in more ways than you will ever know. And, please know that even when the love of my life returns, I will still want you around. I still want to go out to dinner or out for happy hour. I still want to stay up and chat until it is near dawn. I still want the laughing and joking. You are part of me now.

Look out world, here I come!!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Discovering My Southern Side

For my memoir writing class, our professor has us reading a book called, "Confederates in the Attic" by Tony Horwitz. The author has always been enthralled with the Civil War so he decides to go on a journey to battlefields in the South. Along the way, he meets different people who are looking for the spot where their relative was killed during the war; people deep into their genealogy and the connection they have with the Civil War. He also talks to reenactors and others who find themselves still connected and even fighting the Civil War. It has completely pulled me in.

As I was reading today about a battle that involved Stonewall Jackson, everything came full circle for me. I had completely forgotten how my own ancestry was connected to the Civil War. My great-grandmother's maiden name was Jackson and her descendency was tranced back to Stonewall Jackson. I am related to one of the most highly revered Confederate leaders. The man who taught at the Virginia Military Institute was my connection to these people I was reading about in this book.

All day, I have been thinking about a part of myself that is missing now. I am more interested than I have been before to search out my genealogy. I would like to discover my Southern heritage. I have been lucky enough to find out about my family in Switzerland. But, the family that consisted of pioneers and farmers is still a mystery to me. I want to hear more about my great grandmother's life on a farm. I also want to know more about my great-great grandma who traveled in a covered wagon to Republic, Missouri.

It is amazing how one book can open up someone's eyes. Books can be more powerful than expected.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


Over the past week, I have learned how amazing and fragile my body is. I have been reminded of how every function, every organ, every vein is interconnected to make me a walking, talking, working organic machine.

The heart for instance. It is said to enable us to feel emotions and is the core of our faith, beliefs and motivations. The heart is the center of the machine. It makes everything else work in perfect motion and tune. Perhaps because it is the center of all, it has a connection to our soul? Deep down we know its importance to keeping us alive and so we have matched it with those philosophies that keep us alive as well.

The brain is another center. It is synonymous with learning and logic. This week, the brain has taken on a whole other meaning for me. It is like a second house. It houses all of the neurons needed for me to feel, think, speak and imagine. It works in conjunction with the heart so that we are complete machines.

The kidney was one center in my body I never thought I would find relevant. But, this week, I have made a connection with my kidneys. I read about all that they do and they actually keep my heart and body in tune. They are the regulators. I try to send positive energy to my kidneys every day in the hopes that they can continue doing their job.

Of everything, I have learned most to listen to my body. I need to pay attention to what it is telling me because I can make it run at its best. Too often I wear my body down with work, stress, and sleep deprivation. I think the Romans and Greeks understood how wonderful they're bodies were. They treated their bodies like they were temples. Resting, relaxing, exercising, improving, but not beyond their limits. They kept their bodies balanced.

Now I know my body is a home that needs care and respect.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Acronyms can be so sneaky. They never let on the true capacity of the thing for which they stand. ISS...this is something I looked for in the sky last night, imagining the possibilities and all of the new things that would be discovered.

ISS is the International Space Station and I had the opportunity to spot it in the sky last night with my telescope. It was amazing. It looked like a swift shooting star; a streak of light.

After viewing the ISS through my telescope, I turned my viewfinder around and looked at the sliver of a moon that hung in the sky. As I put my eye to the lens and stared up at the glowing smile, I could see craters and shadows. It was right in front me and seemed close enough to touch...not millions of light years away.

Space is an amazing vast. So many of the things that I have seen through a telescope or in photos taken by satellites, seems so unreal. One of my favorite sites to visit is I have lately been enthralled with photos taken by Cassini. The rings of Saturn are so elegant, so beautiful.

Space is definitely not the final frontier...the journey is just beginning.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Crazy Talk

Tonight I just feel like writing with nothing in particular in mind. Perhaps, I have something in mind...hmmm.

Ah, yes.

This morning I was honored enough to attend the Governor's Inter-Faith Prayer Breakfast. Ever since Governor Napolitano took office she has started the legislative session with inter-faith prayer. It is an invitation-only event and I lucky enough to be invited. It was quite beautiful!

I have never been in a room with so many inspirational people. A Hopi woman presented her prayer for the children and it was amazing. I could feel my heart swell. This woman was filled with love, hope, faith and beauty. She was wise and at-peace. I envied her.

Another religious community leader stepped forward. He was from a local Islamic mosque. His singing of the scripture was so melodic. I closed my eyes and it set me in a moment of meditation. The notes swam through my head and I could hear his pleading to God through his voice. That is what a prayer to God should be...a song.

God appears at the most unexpected times for me. The breakfast put me in a wonderful mood for the rest of the day. Perhaps I should always begin my day with a heartfelt prayer? Perhaps I need the Almighty in my life more often than I am willing to admit?

Sunday, January 09, 2005


I stayed up last night watching an Elvis movie marathon on AMC. You know he was a genius. I am pretty sure that Elvis set the standard for many celebrities on how they market themselves. He wore tight pants, shook his pelvis, always had dreamy looks on his face, kissed a lot of girls and sang as much as possible. They accentuated his good qualities. If not for this, really he wasn't a great actor...he was just himself. And, the scripting was always horribly cheesy.

Also, I am pretty sure that slutty looking women were placed as his counterparts so that straight-laced women could watch the movie and say, "He would definitely want to be with me. Why would he want to be with that slutty woman? Yes, if Elvis met me, he would want to be with me!"

Elvis was a fantasy that the record company and the movie director was selling to hormone-driven girls. What genius!

I know plenty of women today who go to see movies simply because there is a good-looking male actor in it. Regardless of whether it is crap or not, they will spend the money to live out two hours of fantasy. It is pathetic, but genius! Directors and publicists have figured out women so terrificly. We are romantics at heart and don't mind making ourselves vulnerable. They give us the men on the screen that we would never have in real life. We want the knight in shining armor. We want the man who will hold up a radio in the middle of the night to profess his love to us. We want the man who will fumble the first time, but redeem himself later with an over-the-top public display of his adoration.

Of course, it may be that the movies have made us want these things. I wouldn't want to be a man in our current society. Media has created expectations that would be hard to live up to. Plus, figuring out whether a woman wants to be pampered and taken care of...or independent and she's calling the shots! Things are complex. Men must never know where they stand with women. Well, let me tell you a little secret...women are like that with other women as well. They're your friends one moment and then they are stabbing you in the back. They are a hauty little sex that frankly puzzles me most of the time...and I'm a woman.

After writing makes me realize why I prefer having male friends. Female friends are too much work! They expect movie-level relationships from everyone...male or female.

So, back to Elvis...I watched his movies last night not just for reveling in his marketing savvy, but because he holds so many memories for me. Elvis was my first crush as a child. My mum had a plethora of his records and I fell in love at the age of 6. I would sit on the blue-flowered daybed in our den, an Elvis record playing on my Playskool Record Player, clutching the record cover in my little fingers. Once in a while I would kiss the tanned face on the cover or just talk to him about how one day I will meet him. Little did I know at that time he had already died. I even pulled my friend, Jenny, into the Elvis fan club. She would come over to the house when one of his movies was on TV. We were in love with him!

My dreamy fantasy of Elvis lasted until I was 10. That was when I discovered Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode, Robert Smith from The Cure and Adam Ant. How I went from beautifully bronzed and perfectly coifed Elvis to these three is still a mystery to me, but they began to adorn my notebooks at school. I don't think I ever discovered real boys...those right in front of me...until I was in high schoool. Up until that point, they were simply people to whom I talked or played with after school. I might have been considered a tomboy.

Well, I have once again begun to appreciate Elvis. He is a running theme for my best friend and I. We appreciate his gyrating pelvis and tight pants. We also appreciate all the images his songs bring. To complete our love affair with the King...we are making a pilgrimage this summer to Graceland. I look forward to possibly distilling some little secret about Elvis, my first crush.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Gray = Happiness?

Why is it that on gray, cloudy days, I feel the happiest and most content? Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't live somewhere a little more gloomy (weather-wise). Of course, that may be why I love places like Seattle, San Francisco...and adore London.

Today there is a steel blue sky hovering ahead. The clouds look as if they will burst with rain and thunder. I am waiting with anticipation that the evening with begin with a lovely storm. There is just something so comforting about such weather. I have this urge to sit in the middle of the yard, listen to Sarah McLachlan and stare up at the sky. I want to meditate, breathe in and out, deep cleansing breaths. I want bring to light deep thought to the overwhelming beat of my heart.

As I close my eyes, I can imagine the sound of waves on the ocean's coast. Dark blue waves the color of the sky touch the shore and come within inches of my bare toes. I can slmost feel the coolness of wet sand under my feet. I reach down and my imagination enables me to feel the soft, smooth grains of the sand between my fingers. I smell the sweet, salty smell of the ocean; my nostrils imbibe the fragrance and instantly I am more relaxed. Ahhhhhhh. My eyes feel heavy and my body the same time. I am inside myself. I am in touch with my soul. Deep inside I am a work of art, a painting with strokes and colors added every moment of my life.

The strokes added today are those of a stormy imprint of a moment of solace. A moment by the ocean. A moment of meditation. A moment in my soul.

Friday, January 07, 2005

One Year: The Countdown Begins

Exactly one year from today, my fiance and I will be getting married. In fact, at this moment, we will be preparing to take our first dance as husband and wife. I never thought I would feel so excited until this morning. I had a revelation as I drove into work.

The countdown begins. In the next year, we will plan a wedding and I will complete my final semester of school. Also, before the summer begins, my love will return to Arizona and the long weekends twice a month will end. Our life together will be be back to normal.

I suppose everyone reflects over the last year and then makes resolutions for the year to come. I have so many resolutions and so many plans...but, for me, my year doesn't truly start until May. That is when school will be over and the real planning for my wedding and the rest of my life will start.

The summer already is filled with several projects and my tall book pile awaits hours of leisure time. I look forward to a road trip with my best friend, exploring new parts of the country. So many things--looking for a wedding dress, finalizing caterers, flowers and caterers, and, then, reorganizing my home.

Working on our home...that is something I can't wait to begin. When we moved into our home three years ago, we never were able to find the time to truly organize the house we wanted to...only one week before we moved fiance's mother had passed away after two years of fighting a terminal illness. And, only two days after we moved in our things, I began my master's degree. Every bit of my attention went to school and work. The house had to be put aside for the time being. Summers became times to catch up at work and to do the best we could with the house. But, never could we get the house we wanted it in that short amount of time.

I feel as if I am standing in a long a line, waiting for a magnificent roller coaster. I am impatient as I wait to get to the front of the line and finally sit in one of the seats. The roller coaster is only a few turnstiles away. I can't wait!

I love roller coasters.