Don’t Sit* so Close to Me

Warning: I’m about to over share. You might want to look away and read some other blog today.

Know what I hate? I hate it when someone takes the stall next to you when there are nine other EMPTY stalls in the bathroom. And then they decide to take a few moments to solve world hunger. While you’re working out the cure to cancer or pondering the meaning of life. Whatever. It’s uncomfortable. And disruptive.

So you know, try to remember the stall-buffer rule and give your new friends (really close friends, apparently) a little space. We all need a little space now and then.

*Replace the word “sit” with an appropriate rhyme.

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The Really ARE the Miracle Fruit

From a CNN article on the secrets to a longer life:

We found that all five Blue Zones possessed the same nine lifestyle characteristics. Among them: a low-meat, plant-based diet (all of them ate a lot of beans) and a ritual of “downshifting” each day. They experience the same stresses we do — kids, health, finances — but they managed it through daily prayer, meditation, ancestor veneration or city-wide happy hours (like the Sardinians).

Although, I gotta tell you, a city-wide happy hour sounds like a great idea.

Trippin’ Across Texas

Woke up this morning with Luckenbach, Texas running through my mind. Probably inspired by the beautiful drive Handsome and I took on Sunday – Dallas and back in a day.

There is nothing in this world quite so beautiful (to me) than this great state we live in. I could easily live in California or France or Hawaii or any Caribbean island, but my heart belongs to Texas. Through and through.

To a giant, majestic flag pulled taught in a strong west wind. To rolling plains where you can see for miles and miles to forever. To towering loblolly pines that obscure a brilliant blue sky. To seagulls and brown pelicans and kingfishers skirting the coast and floating on a sea breeze. To limestone cliffs and crags full of secrets. To rolling thunder and drenching, torrential storms. To fiery sunsets of crimson and flame and gold and rose smearing together across the sky into a thousand shades of indigo and violet. And to an entire galaxy of stars decorating the heavens.

I love this place.

Getting a Thrill from the Daily Grind

For Christmas, Handsome gave me a set of Peugeot U’Select variable salt and pepper grinders. Kinda like these. They have six (!) settings, ranging from super-fine to extra-course.

And just let me say that I have used these every single meal. And sometimes I lose myself in the smooth grinding action and smother our food in way too much seasoning. Though I think my husband kinda likes that part. The seasoning part, people! Come on!

Well, ok. You’re right. I LOVE the smooth grinding action, the way the pepper or salt meets my exacting demands of size and consistency. Cooking in my kitchen will never be the same.

The Selfishness of Selective Vision

This weekend, a man approached my husband and me in a parking lot as we were leaving a store. Homeless. Hungry. “I don’t have anywhere to go. Can you spare some change?”

Handsome engaged the man in conversation. And then looked at me. “Sweetie, do you have anything?”

Painful confession here: I was looking anywhere but there, at that hopeless man. At my shoes, the store windows, others in the parking lot. And if I’ve never heard a “still, small voice” in my entire life, I heard it then:

Look that man in the eye. He’s not invisible. He exists. He is someone; someone’s father, brother, husband, son. He matters. Look at him. See him.

I met his gaze and handed over what was in my wallet, which was pitifully little.

As we parted, the man called out. “Ma’am?” I paused, turned. “Thank you.” And he looked me in the eye, and saw me, too. I didn’t deserve thanks of any kind, and I’m certain I didn’t deserve the gratitude in his eyes.

It’s easy to ignore the world we don’t want to see. Inside the cocoon of our own thoughts and agendas, everything that doesn’t fit our expectations of “the way things ought to be” becomes invisible.

The sick are a burden on the system, unworthy of the same level of care and support that we work diligently to provide for our families. The immigrant steals resources and jobs from legal citizens while avoiding contributing to the system that provides those opportunities. The homeless are just lazy panhandlers who’ll use your hard-earned dollars for drink and drugs.

We judge them and then look away, pretend they don’t exist. But they do. And they are just as worthy of recognition as any of us. In truth, we are all the same – penniless, homeless, broken, destitute, starving, dying.

Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, I am.

The Great Good Fortune of a Neighborhood Squirrel

Presently, two dozen maturing Live Oaks are liberally dropping their bounty upon the driveways and sidewalks of this suburban neighborhood, much to the ecstatic, apoplectic joy of the squirrel families who inhabit our backyards. The sheer abundance of food and ease of collection sets their tails a-twitch.

Makes one wish human happiness was as easy to achieve.