Have you ever tried to meditate with a puppy around?
have you ever successfully meditated with a puppy around?
He keeps sticking his tongue down my ear.
But I figure all that giggling is almost as good for you as meditating.
it totally is.
Wanna try it? (Don't forget to warm up and cool down.)
Downward Facing Dog, Warrior I, Plank Push-Up
Tones and shapes all major muscles and improves balance
A. From Cat position, move into Downward Dog by tucking toes, pressing palms into floor, and lifting hips. Straighten legs and press heels down. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.
B. From there, step forward with right foot (keeping palms on the floor, left leg extended) and bend right knee (knee should be directly over ankle). Come up and extend arms overhead to perform Warrior I (see image). Go back into Downward Dog by bending at hips, planting hands on floor at each side of right foot, stepping right foot back, and lifting hips.
C. Shift into a modified Plank pose by dropping knees onto floor. Body should form straight line from head to knees, and hands should be directly beneath shoulders.
D. Do a Plank Push-Up by bending elbows back, close to ribs. Slowly lower chest toward floor. Press back up to Plank position. Lift hips back into Dog. Repeat sequence, this time stepping left foot forward into Warrior I. Repeat sequence 10 times per side.
Sarah Smile - "Hey hun, it's me."
My Nick - "Oh hi. What's up?"
Sarah Smile - *deep breath* "Nick, I need you to just tell me NO."
My Nick - "NO."
Sarah Smile - "But if you could see her eyes and her ......... protruding ribs and .................. THAT FACE ........."
My Nick - "Yes."
Sarah Smile - *turns down the radio* "Now you're never going to able to make a call unless someone is singing 'her name is Rio and she dances on the sand' in the background."
One of the things Ivan brought us from Spain was one of those large coffee table books, of pictures of Spain. It captured my childish imagination. Since the book was in spanish, I understood very little of the photo captions.
One image in particular stayed in my mind, long after the book was lost or given away. It was of a hall of arches, arches that looked like brick candy canes. The light was warm and dim. And it looked endless. The floor was some sort of marble. I remember the picture, right down to the dust on the lens of the camera that took it.
And I would lose myself in daydreams of dancing there. I always knew that if I could have a castle someday, I would have a room of just arches, like that. Nothing else. And I would dance in it.
And this daydream stayed with me into adulthood. A place I could conjure at will, as I was driving or falling asleep. A "castle in spain." It was all very Blue Castle (my favorite book). By the time it occurred to me to find where this place I remembered actually was, I had no idea where the book had gone.
I always hoped that someday, I'd find it while backpacking in Spain, quite unexpectedly, on a hot afternoon.
Instead, a picture of it came up on my daily Photos of Sacred Places box on my Google homepage. Turns out my castle in Spain is actually a church in Spain.
I actually said, "That's it!" rather loudly, and looked around the lobby to see if anyone was around to share it with. (Sadly no.) And then I actually cried a bit, with joy.
So many of the things we remember from our childhood lose their magic over the years, or seem smaller than we remember. But not so with my hall of arches.
And now I know that someday, some hot afternoon, I WILL go there.
Of all the gods that have been worshiped there over the years, I'm certain none will mind. Because a part of me has always worshiped there.
But rather than discuss his fondness for baby carrots and tufu, or he complete lack of sexual interest in Dulce, his beard wife, I'll just post actual photographic evidence.
It's ok, Mau. We all know, and we all accept you.
[Infinite Love] is a weapon of matchless potency.
It is the "summum bonum" of Life.
It is an attribute of the brave, in fact it is their all.
It does not come within the reach of the coward.
It is no wooden or lifeless dogma but a living and life-giving force.
It is the special attribute of the heart.
- Mahatma Gandhi -
Something large and furry stepped on my face, danced around on my hair on the pillow, finally coming to a rest with a wiggling, full body cuddle between Nick and I.
Two facts registered through the sleep fog.
It was three AM, and this was NOT Luca.
I opened my eyes and thought fast.
My bed? Check.
My house? Check.
My dog? No.
Somehow the neighbor's dog Kylie (yeah, that Kylie) had gotten in. Perhaps we left the door open, but Kylie is one hell of a smart dog and it wouldn't surprise me if she figured out how to open our kitchen door.
As Nick escorted her out, and Luca hovered nervously, no doubt worried that his friend's bad behavior might reflect on him, I searched for the Dulce and Mau. (Kylie's a sweetheart, and I would have let her stay, but she has a hard time resisting the urge to chase the cats.)
I found Mau in his new favorite perch, sleeping on a stack of purses in the closet. He only bothered to open one eye to view all the chaos. I expected to find Dulce clinging to the ceiling, but luckily she was only mildly ruffled by the tornado of dog that had blown through.
As we all dropped back into bed, Nick said, "sorry," assuming he'd left the door ajar earlier. But as he and Luca and I all melted into a sleepy pile with Dulce on top like a cherry, all I could do was smile.
This isn't going to be like the free mammogram van at the mall, is it?
Labels: bad sign
I added this, because it slays me. It's like Crazy! In Real Time! And the UFOs all look so friendly and cheerful.
It's got art! And coloring pages! A spanish word of the day, a love quote of the day and a Buddhist thought of the day.
I want to print it out and roll around on it and sniff it.
I was in the grocery store parking lot, getting into my car, when I got a sharp blow to the back of my head, throwing my face into the doorframe of the car.
And again, just like they always say, I knew my assailant.
And that is why I'm able to draw the following sketch from memory.
Please, if you spot the culprit, please call.
Attendees included -
Edwin, the talking circus horse
Migrating Butterflies, Lee stayed sober to drive
Randy Jackson, who forgot his name
Random person walking by
Cafe mocha grande
Fakin’ It Girl Band
Green Jello in the pool
Pale Green Veil
Inflatable Duck (from ‘Rez’s blog)
Chuck F. Norris
So if you wanna have a kick ass party, there's your invite list.
And you're all invited to the reenactment party, as soon as Nick and I can find a firetruck and a pool we can fill with jello.
*cell phone rings*
"Hello? ............ Hmmm."
"I've been getting the strangest calls lately. I pick up and it's just ice cream truck music."
Sarah Smile - *splutters* "Wha ............ it ................. they ................. WHY DON'T THEY CALL MEEEEE? Next time they call, give them my number!!!!!!"
Favorite Salesguy - "It's me, Peaches."
Sarah Smile - "HI! How are you?"
Favorite Salesguy - "Stuck in an airport. Elch."
Sarah Smile - "That sucks."
Favorite Salesguy - "I wish."
Sarah Smile - "Hahahahaha."
Favorite Salesguy - "I hope they don't record these calls."
Sarah Smile - "I'm going to say what a bus driver said to me once, when I pointed out a security camera after he asked 'Do you want to drive the bus?' He said, 'If they were recording, do you think I'd still have a job?'"
When she asked, it was very easy to think of my favorite tree.
While I have had many love affairs with different trees in my life, (and one love affair in a tree, but that's another story) there is one tree I can still sketch (badly) from memory.
My favorite tree is an avocado tree. And no, it's not my favorite because avocados are my favorite food group. Although partly.
It was in the orchard in our yard, growing up, at what is now Bunny's house.
Avocado trees in general kick ass as climbing trees for a couple of reasons.
One, they grow really strong and unique main limbs.
Two, they're like a tent. All the small branches and leaves are out at the ends of the tree. It's like a natural treehouse.
Of all the trees in the orchard, this tree was my favorite.
A was like a natural little hammock. I could (and often did) lounge there for hours with a book and an apple.
B was low enough that I could coax my dogs to jump up and hang out with me for awhile.
Sometimes I could even get them to walk out to the end of C with me, and lie in wait for some to walk past.
That tree was my clubhouse, my pirate ship, my deserted island, my castle, my lair.
And sometimes when I'm at Bunny's, I climb it again, always expecting to run into a skinny, skinned-knee, apple-clutching, 11-year-old version of myself up there.
I say that if you stick to the same 50, and just repeat them, you're ok. If you limit your vocab to 50, then you're obviously not seeking the answer to life's mysteries, you're just chatty.
I counted, and I can say pretty much everything I need to say to my cats in a mere 17 words. No really. I counted. (And alphabetized.)
And he's had some of the oddest odd jobs imaginable. Like chef, or bicycle thief.
For a while, he was temping for a company that outsourced trash pickup along freeways. He told me that the two most common things he'd find were Mexican flags, and bottle of pee.
Which made me nervous every time he'd tell me he had "found me a present."
But he said he believed in me, and by golly I DID IT.
Of course, he ended up literally pushing me for the last part, and the last few feet, I actually crawled, but still.
I DID IT.
So now I'm eating french fries.
It is, hands down, the best breakup song EVER, but it slays me, cracks me up, whatever my mood might be. I'm including the lyrics here, but you really need to hear the snappy banjo to get the full effect.
I hope that our few remaining friends
give up on trying to save us.
I hope we come out with a fail-safe plot
to piss off the dumb few that forgave us.
I hope the fences we mended
fall down beneath their own weight.
And I hope we hang on past the last exit,
I hope it's already too late.
And I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
someday burns down.
And I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away,
and I never come back to this town again.
In my life, I hope I lie,
and tell everyone you were a good wife.
And I hope you die,
I hope we both die.
I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow;
I hope it bleeds all day long.
Our friends say it's darkest before the sun rises;
we're pretty sure they're all wrong.
I hope it stays dark forever,
I hope the worst isn't over.
And I hope you blink before I do,
and I hope I never get sober.
And I hope when you think of me years down the line,
you can't find one good thing to say.
And I'd hope that if I found the strength to walk out,
you'd stay the hell out of my way.
I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me,
hand in unlovable hand.
And I hope you die,
I hope we both die.
No, they didn't have a 'no girls allowed sign.' Although I wish they would have.
Something about that place makes me feel like I'm treading water in jello. The employees look miserable, bustling around like if they stopped moving, they'd have to admit how hung over they were. Everyone seems lost, and the few that aren't are bumping and bouncing through the rest of us like a ball in a fooseball table. It never ends. Did you know that place has fifty cash registers? Fifty. And yet somehow we still spent an eternity in line.
And that's where we met the crazy man. He was standing behind us in line, and when I took a picture of a sign saying that our Fry's receipt may contain a chemical known to cause cancer ("Yes, I'm here to return my cancer and yes, I have my receipt..."), he used the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Nick about his unicycling shirt. He wanted to start a unicycling club with Nick. Every time he'd ask something, we'd end our response with, "Ok, well, you have a great day now," and turn around, only to be asked another question.
It quickly became apparent that the sort of club he wanted to start with Nick would probably involve a tree house, a 'no girls allowed' sign, and him using Nick's skin as a lampshade.
Once outside, we hid in a far corner of the parking lot until he left.
My Nick - "The laundrymat?"
Sarah Smile - "It was pretty laundrymatish. I mean the people there."
My Nick - "No shit."
Sarah Smile - "Yeah, but not like that. It was all women there today, and they were so freakin' nice to me. Like, they didn't even acknowledge each other, but they fell all over themselves to talk to me. Show me the open washers, tell me to avoid the one with the wooky spin cycle, stuff like that. One woman, with a toddler on her hip, hefted up a giant basket of wet clothes up almost over her head to give me more room to pass by her, and I already had plenty of space. It was nice, and almost .......... ok, it was creepy."
My Nick - "It makes perfect sense. You're new. Therefore, you're the only woman that they could each know for sure hadn't slept with their husbands."
And we laughed all the rest of the way to work.
Thanks to Nick, I actually enjoy the two hours a day we spend on the road, in bumper to bumper traffic.
When everyone is talking about their boss's ridiculous rules or annoying habits, what am I supposed to say?
"When he hired me, my boss insisted on giving me more money that I asked for."
"My boss always reminds me to take my vacation time."
"My boss counsels married couples in his off time. For free."
"My boss gives me a raise about every six months."
"My boss surprises me sometimes with chunks of stock."
"My boss never bugs me, but drops everything and gives me his undivided attention if I need something."
"My boss rescues puppies."
I mean, seriously. Can't he at least have an annoying voice or something that I could make fun of? A often used phrase that I could do imitations of? GIVE ME SOMETHING HERE. Every employee is entitled to that. Like health insurance.
This is so bad for my social life.
Sarah Smile - "Ooooo, get pizza and go watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the drive in?!"
Jesse - "Surrrrrrrrrrre, we could do that ........... or something else. Or that, we could. Yeah. Or something else ............"
is "cause it's lame" a good enough reason not to join Facebook?
Or do you suppose I need to qualify that with "cause it's lame and I am sick of joining things it takes to much energy"?
Sorry, I was at lunch.
NEVER, EVER apologize for lunch.
Lunch is sacred.
You're right of course.
And yes, that's a good enough reason.
I think most decisions in life don't require an explanation.
"Oooooooooooooooo, I can do crossword puzzles in the dark now."
"I'm excited about that."
*blank look* "Ok. So that's good then."
He likes me, even if he never really understands me.
A childhood friend looked me up on myspace! I'd actually tried to find her a few months ago, with no luck, and now she found me!
After 17 years, I recognized her instantly.
This morning one of the engineers called me "Poet of his heart." I have no idea what that means, really, but it's sweet.
And I'm eating leftover chicken wings from On The Border.
All's right with the world.
....... wait. I've never seen them all at once.
On my mother's side, my uncle has one son, Shawn. (Not to be confused with my other cousin Shawn, on my father's side, who is now deceased.)
And my aunt has seven kids, Julie, Bekah, Caleb, Lizzie, Jordan, Kimmy and Matilda.
Somehow, fate has conspired that I don't think we've EVER all been in the same room together.
Jordan told me that five of The Seven are going to be in Vegas next month, and wanted to know if I wanted to come.
I invited Shawn and Jesse and Bethany.
Oh, the mischief, the adventure, the complete takeover of the McIlhenney Clan! Watch out Vegas!
CousinFest '07 is coming!
Coworker M - "Sounds great, actually, but [Coworker J] and I just started a new diet."
Sarah Smile - "Oh. You don't think there's something there you could eat?"
Coworker M - "Well, no, see, the diet is just for ten days we don't eat anything and only drink lemonade."
Sarah Smile - "Damn."
Coworker M - "Yeah."
Sarah Smile - "Do you know what kind of a person I'd be if I hadn't eaten in ten days? I'd be answering the phone with, 'I hate you, you fuckwad, I hope you die. Painfully. And then I'll eat you.'"
Coworker M - "I'm getting there."
Sarah Smile - "What day are you on?"
Coworker M - "Day one."
Wislawa Szymborska (translation by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)
Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive her improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.
Even if there is no one dumber,
if you're the planet's biggest dunce,
you can't repeat the class in summer:
This course is only offered once.
No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with exactly the same kisses.
One day, perhaps, some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.
The next day, though you're here with me,
I can't help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?
Why do we treat t he fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It's in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.
With smiles and kisses, we prefer to
seek accord beneath our star,
although we're (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.
I've longed to write letters to people. I have stationary and current addresses, but how does one go about starting up a conversation after not having spoken with a relative or old friend for several years?
*sits at a desk with oodles of cubbyholes*
*chews the end of a pen*
I don't see why an explanation would be necessary. The fact that you wanna catch up on each other's lives would be fairly self-explanatory. Unless you last spoke on bad or strange terms, like an argument or restraining order, I would just write to them. People love getting letters.
Believe me, I know.
*adds a kiss mark to the end of the letter*
*spritzes the letter with perfume, then spritzes herself*
Next question, please.
Bethany's sister Erin and her husband Scott just had a baby girl, Brenna.
Bethany once told me that she wanted to be the sort of aunt who made really good chocolate chip recipes. It was nice of Erin to give her a tester niece. By the time I have kids someday, Bethany will have that recipe down pat.
But speaking of sweet things, doesn't Brenna look edible?
There's never been a meaningful moment in my life, big or small, that you didn't acknowledge and celebrate with me.
I can't think of a better defination of a friend, and my world is a richer place because of you.
Love you madly,
* Her actually birthday was Sat, but she says she likes spreading the festivities out over a week.
Nick and I are racing a pair of candles. First one to burn down completely, wins. Nick insists his (on the left) with the sword-wielding angel will win. I think my giant hand with people standing on the fingertips will win.
I think that because I cheat. I pour wax out of mine when he's not looking.
I saw this pin at a flea market a few weeks ago. My Nick saw me eyeing it, and said it needed to belong to me, and bought it for me.
I make it a point to surround myself with people who want nice things for me, and I mean that in as small and literal a sense as that pin, and as large and encompassing a sense as life itself.
But anyway. I don't think it's ever to early to think about your own funeral. I've already buried two of my dearest friends, so I know. And because nobody, not them, not their families, expected to have to throw a them a funeral, the ceremony held as little of their personality as the body being buried.
I don't think that thinking about it is morbid either, because it involves thinking about my life more than anything else. What my life is about, what it means, and how I'd like it to be remembered.
And what I think about is a place I've loved to hike to ever since I was a teenager. A short, leisurely ramble out from the old Sweetwater bridge in Jamul is a place I've written about before. Someone started to build a rock footbridge over the river, and I know I'm not the only one who tends and rebuilds it after rains. I've never seen my fellow workers, but we see each other's work. And it makes me think about life, about how what we do could be part of something bigger, putting our rock in the bridge that brings worlds together, never knowing who it will inspire or affect, and that no bridge is so perfect or permanent that it doesn't need to be tended to survive.
And so when I rule out having my ashes put in fireworks and lit off as being too expensive, or having my ashes mixed with glitter and scattered from a hot air balloon as un-eco-friendly, I think I'd like my ashes scattered there.
Just carry my ashes out there, in that round brightly colored tin in my kitchen (you'll know it when you see it), down the path where the wild grass grows, green for just a few weeks in the spring, then turns gold and waves lightly in the hot dry air. Odds are it will be a sunny day. It's pretty hard to be sad while walking, especially in the sun. So don't fight it. Don't feel like you have to be completely sad. Take some deep breaths. Then when you get to the bridge, put a rock in it yourself. Let your eyes adjust to the shade and look for crawdads. Stand on the bridge and pour my ashes out into the creek.
Leave me there with the crawdads and hummingbirds and herons, and go out for breakfast and talk smack about me. I'm not a saint, and I don't expect to be spoken about as one when I'm dead. Laugh, cry, neither, both, both at once, whatever you want. No rules, no guilt.
Because that's how I try to live.
Marcel Proust, Swann's Way.
Systems Engineer - "Just studying on being an SE."
Sarah Smile - "You ARE an SE."
Systems Engineer - "Yeah, just learning to be a better one."
Sarah Smile - "Oh, ok. I'm doing the same thing. I'm shopping for coloring books on Amazon."
Ok, I'm like two years behind on this, I realize it came out ages ago, but Nick and I bought it this weekend out of curiosity.
Murderball is my new favorite movie.
A) because it's funny, and B) because it's never a cheap laugh that makes you feel like a bad person for laughing. And I'll say it. It WAS inspiring, but never nauseating.
My Nick - "Time for my second ice cream sandwich, that's what time it is."
Sarah Smile - "I see that you feel about ice cream sandwiches the same way I feel about Popsicles."
My Nick - "Exactly."
Sarah Smile - "I am so happy that there is something in this world that brings you as much joy as a box of Popsicles brings me."
It might be the San Diego Wild Animal Park, if you wanna get all technical about it.
If there was any justice in this world, what I wrote wouldn't be a lie, and my yard would look like that. Except that I would be riding the rhinos. And also, except that I would never own that many souvenir shot glasses. They would be a bitch to dust.
PumperNickel and I had a GREAT day yesterday. After a leisurely breakfast of coffee and breakfast burritos (Luca and I shared an egg and potato, Knickerbockers had egg and ham), Nick and I headed up the back country way to the SDWAP.
I would have a lot more pictures of the WAP, but my camera has developed a most disagreeable habit of only saving the pictures it feels like saving. Usually the ones I'm not as anxious to have. But it might be just as well. The picture recreated below might have used as evidence to ban me from the park.
Nick and I devised a game while we were there. 5 points for touching an animal, 20 for getting it out of the park and back to the car. Percentages of these point amounts were awarded for good efforts. Nick won, 8 to 5.
Another set of pictures my camera decided to send to a gaping black hole were all the pictures taken at the tiger pen. I shall attempt to recreate the scene, but from a better angle than my pictures would have.. I'm leaning over the railing toward the tiger, who is stalking something. My Nick is paying 25 cents a minute into a telescope to stare at a very fat man on another observation deck. I think we lost these pictures because I had to turn my camera off in a hurry, after Nick poked me and said, "Aaaa, he saw me and he's headed this way! We'd better go, quick!"
My favorite part, hands down, was the catfish. I was throwing bits of my $8.00 pretzel to the ducks, and suddenly it looked as though the water was boiling, as the catfish surfaced for their share.
Add to the file of reasons we probably SHOULD have been thrown out, I told kids that if they could touch an animal, they could keep it, and Mommy and Daddy wouldn't be able to say no. Actually, add that to the file on why I probably SHOULD have been bludgeoned with a stroller.
Gawd, I love chaos.
I can't decide which is more amazing. That they didn't make us leave, or that they didn't keep us there as an exhibit.
After we left the WAP, slightly sun-crisped, we stopped at a small museum, the San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park. A long name for a small place. It's pretty much just a museum because it's our only battlefield. We were the only car in the parking lot. Inside was a very bored looking policewoman.
"I have a video, if you guys wanna watch it. Just lemme know, ok?"
"Uh, sure. We'd like to watch it."
We sat down in the little theater as she started the film, which was basically the long version of this postcard.
"Psst. Nick. Wanna make out?"
"Dude. She has a GUN."
"Good point. So, no then?"
We stayed as long as we could find ways to look interested. The policewoman looked so starved for company, I keep expecting her to stroke my hair like a doll and ask us to stay. I stalled over the guestbook awhile, making note that the last guest had been a week ago.
We wandered up the trail a ways, and spend a lovely half hour trying to catch lizards on an old red wooden bridge over a dry creek bed. Because that's what warm Sunday afternoons are for and where else would we want to be, anyway? We didn't catch one, but *shrug* we laughed a lot.
After awhile we headed back through the mountains, and while passing through Ramona we decided to stop at a winery. After accidentally crashing a private party at one winery, we ended up at Schwaesdall Winery. There were three other people there, and the owner holding court, so to speak. The cat shown on the homepage there also came around to be sociable. After a sip of so many good wines that it was hard to choose, we did manage to choose two to buy. I was a total girl and went for the white zinfandel. Nick picked a great Cab.
When we got home, I picked the last of the cheesybites off of Sat. night's pizza, and we snuggled in to watch some very stupid tv.
It was a perfect day.
Here's a view from the house.
If I zoom in a bit, you can see our rhinos Lowell and Lily basking in the sun. I'd go closer, but it's mating season and I'm sure you imagine ...
And in addition to our antelope, you can see Slim and Shorty, our giraffes.
I stopped by our mountain goat habitat to see who wanted an ear scratch. All God's creatures need an ear scratch from time to time.
Luca from behind.
This little okapi, Kane, looks kinda emo in his striped knee socks. I made him take his ipod out of his ears for this picture.
I spotted an intruder, and quickly dispatched my deer to take care of him.
They ate him.
Now let me show you some of our birds. That's not poop you see, they've just been burning a lot of candles up there in their lovenest.
Here's Brad, our vulture. He actually prefers eggs benedict to dead things.
Everybody gets along pretty well at our house.
I told Mattie here that I'd give her a herring for every bag of recyclables she turns in to me. We're eco-friendly like that.
I make sure I get to spend quality time with each bird. Here I am gossiping with Constance.
We have real flamigos, because the plastic ones just seemed tacky.
They share the pond with our ducks and ......
..... our catfish.
And here we are, the wildest animals around.