Passion

Today I was talking to a friend about the guy she is seeing. He has been the most stable and loyal partner she as ever had. There is an attraction but there isn’t an incredible amount of passion. She senses this is okay with him. 

I sense this is Mr. Right now for her. They have fun, go out regularly and have a nice time together. Some times trivial things he does annoys her and vice versa. Is this good enough?

I would like passion. I have various friends that  can provide companionship, if I am going to date someone, I want passion. 

In past years I have forced myself to remain with guys who looked good on paper, but it only lasted a month or two before it ended. I never was sorry to see them go.

Sure every so often I think it might be nice to have a special companion who will blend their life fully with mine, that’s why I joined Match.com a few months ago, but now their daily emails are piling up in my inbox.

So for the time being, I will be on the lookout.

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What Goes Into Your Backpack?

I’m reading the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s about a woman in her twenties who goes backpacking across the Pacific Crest Trail. She starts by sharing what led her to do this and how she prepared for the 1000+ mile solo trek.

In the part of the book I just reached, she just explained all of the supplies she bought and packed into her backpack and what a daunting task it is to pick it up for the first time. She was advised to practice before she hit the trial but she did not.

It made me ponder what it would be like to have to plan and carry around all the supplies I just needed for one day and how difficult that would be. 

 I went on a work conference once and managed to pack everything I needed for three days in a regular school backpack. (Everything except food.) I wanted to try this because my cousin did it when she came to visit me. We both use so many health and beauty products that I was I impressed with her and wanted to take on the challenge. I did it. It worked out well, but I don’t intend to do that again.

But I also didn’t walk around with the backpack on all day. It made me think about what it would be like to have to do this. Soldiers do this. Desert people do this. Right?

When did we start acquiring so much stuff? 

What would we really take with us?

I’m going to select five things.  Just to keep it simple, these are beyond the super basics. They’re off the top of my head so if I were really going on such  journey I’d have to put more thought into it.

1. My dog, because life is not complete without a dog.
2. I really want to say body pillow because it is almost impossible for me to sleep without one. On the other had that would be hard to carry around.
3. A journal/pens
4. My poncho liner which is my travel blanket.
5. Chocolate- at first I was kidding, but now it seems like a good idea. 

Have you backpacked? What would you take?

Write What You Know

I’ve been going back and reviewing fiction I wrote a few years ago. If you’re into writing at some point you’ve heard, “Write what you know.” Even in the Anne of Green Gables series Gilbert tells Anne to write what she knows instead of “high falutin’ mumbo jumbo”.

I’m not sure I really understood this until now but as I look back on my writing I see when I’ve made up stuff entirely it’s not very interesting. But when I take snippets of conversations and experiences and then add to it, I really enjoy reading the story. 

I did a lot of this in the story Facebook Times I posted recently.
The part about the pope came from a recent mass reading.
Someone I knew had a baby shower where the gender of the baby was revealed. 
A friend of mine did have a picture of us from a long time ago as her computer background. Her grandmother recently passed away and a few years go our other friend passed away suddenly. So two people were missing from the picture.

Five years ago I was seeing a guy who took me golfing. The demise of what seemed like a promising relationship unfolded on the golf course that day. I wrote a short story about that. And as I reread this story for the first time in years, I found it so detailed. More than some of my other stories. It also had a clear beginning and ending. 

Obviously there is a danger in revealing stuff about other people and I want to be careful, but hopefully with a little time and practice I will be able to do this subtly. So there you have it…write what you know.

Trust During Difficult Times

Today mass reading came from the book of Tobit. If you haven’t read it, it’s a very short book in the Old Testament that is more like a mini novel and is about the story of Tobit and his son Tobias. Tobias goes on a journey to find medicine to cure his father’s new blindness. He encounters the angel, Raphael, along the way and finds a wife who has had troubles of her own.

What struck me when I heard the story today was Sarah. She had been married 7 times (to brothers of the same family) and each time the groom died on the wedding night. 

You don’t get much of her perspective in the reading, but it’s worth pondering. 

Do you think she was full of hope trusting that this time all would be well? I wonder. 

You know how it is when you are waiting for something and something always gets in the way to ruin it? It is easy to become cynical.

But the final husband would be Tobias. A loyal son who went on a journey to obtain a cure for his father’s blindness. A man who suggested they pray on their wedding night. 

What did Sarah think of that? How does this impact us?

Being negative isn’t going to help. Shouldn’t we try to expect the best whether it’s the first or seventh time? 

Perhaps God was saving Sarah from something bad (with the other husbands) and saving her for the wonderful Tobias.

Podcasts- Who Knew?

I listen to podcasts now. Why?

My interest piqued when I went on the hot air balloon overnight trip with my friend last month. As we were getting ready at 6 AM she asked my permission to listen to one of her favorite podcasts. That day’s topic had to do with frogs.

Although I knew she liked podcasts, and was always overflowing with random bits of information, I had never experienced one of the sources of her superpowers.

Another friend showed me a video podcast of an interview with Jodi Picoult, author of the novel My Sister’s Keeper. Picoult shared her writing process and how she researches her books. What really intrigued me was the new knowledge of my friend’s interests in podcasts on authors. You think you know your friends and then a new facet is revealed to you.

What led to MY starting to listen to podcasts is the new app on the iPhone and my search to find something to pass the time as I spend 40 minutes to blow dry my hair straight every week. The app has a plethora of topics and it lists the top podcasts in each topic. It is way better than searching for podcasts in the iTunes app.

My favorite podcast is Good Life Project . The host, Jonathan Fields, interviews artists and entrepreneurs every week to share how they found their paths. I am searching for how to use my creativity to enrich my life so I like hearing how others achieve this.

I also like TED-Ideas Worth Spreading for their science lectures.

You can also find short podcasts that range from 1-10 minutes if you don’t want to spend 30-40 minutes listening to the podcasts I mentioned.

We live in an amazing time where information surrouds us. Knowledge isn’t stored in schools or libraries anymore. Knowledge is everywhere and waiting to be beamed to us freely!

Facebook Times

~~A SHORT STORY~~

R-u-b-y H-a-r-r-i-s typed the letters of her name into the Facebook name field like a bride heading down the aisle wearing slippers frozen in a bucket of ice. She might as well be getting married, she was leaving behind her own private life and joining one where people revealed engagements, intimate medical issues (she would rather not know about), videos of their babies, song lyrics, and random daily events just to name a few.

She knew because she joined Facebook a year ago at the urging of her family who wanted her to become a part of the 21st century. She signed up as Harriette Reuben. Her friends were limited to a few family members and two close friends accepted her need to be incognito. Each time she added someone she felt like she was removing a garment from her body. Not that she was revealing anything about herself. She never posted status updates, she never commented on people’s pictures. She was a Facebook voyeur, when she bothered.

She had to update her profile picture. It was currently a picture of her cat wearing a birthday hat. She browsed through the photos stored on her computer. Briefly considering some them moving on to the next, she was either too made up and didn’t feel like herself or not made up enough. There were photos she liked where she was with other people. For a moment she considered snipping herself from one of them, but she hated it when a person was obviously cut out of someone’s profile picture. She selected a picture of her taken at a church carnival a few months ago and planned to have someone take a picture of her the next day at work when she appropriately made up.

Did she really want to do this? No…and yes. Ruby joined a photography club and although the posted their pictures of Flickr, she could tell from a lot of their conversations that they kept in touch on Facebook. The little voice in her head told her it was time.

She searched for the group page, the Miami PhotoTakers and clicked “Like”. Then she browsed the Timeline. There was a different theme each week and members posted a picture every day. This week the theme was animals. There was a really cute picture of a squirrel approaching a person who knelt down to feed it a peanut. She read the comments, some praised an element of the picture or made funny captions giving voices to the characters.

A moment later she received a friend request from Alex Lewis, from the club. That was fast, she thought. A peek at his list of friends revealed he had 100 friends. She thought she could never have that many friends. She browsed his timeline. He reposted a lot of political cartoons and often posted things about his day. She thought this was excessive. Did she really care if he ordered a tall Frappacino and was given a venti and this made his day? His random remark had 30 Likes and 8 comments that she didn’t take the time to read.

She enjoyed browsing through his photo albums. He posted pictures from his various trips around the world and included a descriptive narrative. There was a picture of him attending the Wednesday Papal Audience in Rome with the pope against a blue sky and his arms outstretched. The caption read, “At first the disciples did not recognize Jesus, and only through his words and deeds were their eyes opened…” She reached for her cup of green tea and pondered this statement regarding the Resurrection.

The next album was a baby shower. It started with the picture of a couple behind a rectangular sheet cake. The right side was pink and decorated with a baby carriage. The left side was blue and was decorated with Matchbox cars. The man wore a pink shirt and the very pregnant woman wore a blue shirt. Pictures of the guests revealed everyone dressed with their guess on the baby’s gender. A few pictures later we see the husband slicing the cake and then he is crying and finally he is holding a finger dipped in pink icing up in the air showing it to the room.

Alex’s next set of pictures reveal the emotions of the guests. Some look shocked, others are smiling, and some are clapping. It didn’t matter if they were wearing pink or blue, they were all happy. Ruby notices her reflection in the mirror. She is smiling as well.

She scrolls down Alex’s newsfeed, when she recognizes the name of another PhotoTaker, Lauren Holiday. She follows the trail to Lauren’s newsfeed. This is someone she has never spoken to before, but she has admired Lauren’s sunset scenes. She reads that Lauren’s grandmother recently passed away. Ruby minimizes the screen and thoughtfully gazes at her desktop picture. It’s a picture of her with her best friend, Allison, from high school. They lost touch in their mid-twenties. She thought of her often but never made an attempt to find her.

This was a picture of when they visited the Zoo with her friend’s family. Sadly two members of the pictures have passed away already, reminding Ruby of what happens in the Back to the Future movie where people fade from Marty McFly’s photo. But that is the beauty of photography. People don’t fade away like they tend to do in real life, either from death or from people growing apart.

Ruby hovers the mouse over the “Friend” button on Lauren’s Facebook page. This is what she came here to do today, to accept that this is how people keep in touch now. She sent the request and then commented on her club mate’s sadness over loosing her second mother. Ruby wasn’t really sure what to say so she searched the Internet for condolences and then tailored it to sound more like what Ruby Harris would say. It’s the little things, the small, everyday occurrences that you’ll remember. The laughs, the stories, the smiles- these memories will bring back the smiles.

She didn’t have time to pat herself on the back for her big step forward. A chat box popped up. “OMG it’s your name and your picture!” Ruby replied to her niece’s message with a smiley face.

“Guess what!!!?”

Ruby thought it must be big if she jumped from one explanation point to three out of nowhere.

“Dylan finally asked me out!!!!!”

That was big. Lacey had been in love with this guy in her class for months, they had gone out a few times but weren’t steady. Ruby wasn’t sure she wanted her seventeen year old niece dating, but there was something inspiring about Lacey’s ability to open up about this to Ruby. Even as an adult Ruby had a hard time talking about herself.

“How did he do it?” Ruby asked, still marveling that she and Lacey would never be keeping in touch if this were pre-Facebook times. Lacey’s mother would have shared this with Ruby. They would never have spoken on the phone.

“We went to dinner and then to the beach to walk around after. He bought a white rose from a man selling flowers and asked me to be his girlfriend.”

Ruby wondered at the ratio of walking to other things occurring on the beach but she didn’t comment.

“I am very happy for you, darling. But don’t rush into anything with him.”

“I know, I know, mom already gave me a speech…Gotta go, my friend is here to pick me up.“

It was then Ruby noticed at the end of Lacey’s message the statement, “Sent from my iPhone”. She imagined Lacey sitting on the porch waiting to be picked up with her head immersed in her phone. Ruby wondered if she would ever be like that. Many adults were.

She felt like she had made a good effort and decided to reward herself by watching videos of cats on treadmills. She found a new one where two cats were slapping the treadmill as it was running as if trying to understand the movement. At one point one cat moved too close to the other and his mate slapped him too. It was hilarious. She clicked “Like” to show her appreciation and then viewed some other videos. After a few minutes she decided it was time to stop the fooling around and she had to pay her bills. Much to her chagrin, when she returned to her browser the YouTube video posted in her Newsfeed.

Ruby felt so violated. How dare they post her activity? Why did she ever hit Like?
She wanted to cancel her account. Facebook wasn’t for her. Now she would have to create a whole new account to keep in touch with her family. She would have to explain to the PhotoTakers that she was no longer on Facebook?

Ruby’s cat jumped on her lap and Ruby pet her. As she raised her eyes back up to the screen she noticed the video had a few likes already and Lauren posted a comment that it was the first thing she laughed at all day.

Ruby updated her status, “This isn’t so bad. : )”

More Smoothies

You know how you have good intentions of making improvements in your life? At first it seems so awesome you couldn’t imagine possibly going back to your old way of doing things and then a few days or few weeks later you catch yourself back in your pattern.

Yeah, so that’s what happened to me with the smoothies but I’m starting them up again. I have a Magic Bullet blender. Sometimes I wish I had something bigger so I could pack more fruit in it, and sometimes I think it’s a good size for me to drink so I really shouldn’t have a bigger cup. I really like mixing the smoothie in the container I will be drinking from and that keeps me from switching to something else.

I like using halves of fruits: half an apple, half a pear, half a kiwi, etc. because I can add a greater variety of fruits. I like including frozen berries because makes the smoothie purple as opposed to a freakish green color.

Adding raw spinach to the smoothie makes it more filling and doesn’t change the taste much.

So here I go again. Hopefully I will be able to make this a habit now. Sometimes I relapse a few times and then the new habit magically sticks one day, ☺