Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Succulents don't die

I buy succulent plants because they are the closest thing to a cactus without the pricklies that I could find. I need plants that don't require very much love and attention. I need plants that don't require me remembering to water them... really ever.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Insulting my Dog ... really?

The other day I was walking my dog, my sweet, quirky, overly enthusiastic dog - down to the beach. We had a great time, although she was clearly rusty on leash etiquette. This was fairly reasonable considering that she had not been on a proper walk in months. We had a backyard at my old place, so walks didn't happen nearly as often as they should.

My dog is a pitbull terrier (to the best of my knowledge) and I ended up with her because she was seized from a home that couldn't take care of her. I brought her home malnourished and skittish, and couldn't be happier that she has a big healthy personality now, 3 years later.

So back to the beach... on my way back to the house there was a multitude of dogs on the street heading home. Two of the dogs were little beagles and they absolutely lost their minds when they saw the exodus of canines on the street. Everyone grinned and laughed as the hound dogs pulled on their leashes and barked maniacally. Then two little fuz-ball white dogs walked by and started barking their heads off, people giggled.

Bella started pulling on her leash, whining with excitement, wanting to play with them. The response she got?

A guy walked by and said loud enough for the whole street to hear, "Oh watch out for that one, they're mean ones. Those little dogs will have a big problem if she gets loose." I tried to be patient and kind with my response but moments earlier a woman had seized up on the beach when her kids went to pet my dog and said "my kids probably look like chew toys to her." I didn't have any patience left to try and counter his comment. Instead I just blurted out "she's a great dog" and tried not to get tears in my eyes.

I am so tired of the hate. I'm worn out by the animosity. I'm exhausted by the unfair comments, side glances and lunges away from my sweet little Bella Bug.

I'm not the only one who knows these things. I'm not the only one who thinks this is unfair. There are articles, group, bills trying to educate people on this misunderstood breed. If you don't know anything about pibbles, do me a favor and take the time to read up. We need more advocates out there.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Is that a pressure cooker?

Do you ever watch that show "chopped"? The one on food network where they give the contestants mystery baskets for three different courses - and the chefs have to make something incredible out of the random ingredients some sadist chose from the most underutilized rows at the grocery store?

I feel like I'm a contestant on that show lately. I don't know what will be in the basket I open but I'm pretty sure I won't have any clue what to do with it. In the appetizer basket I found a college education, family dilemmas, time abroad and cross country moves. I came up with a pretty quality young-adult-life starter plate. Probably a little heavy on the salt and high in calories but I was living richly, trying new things and feeling entirely terrified that the outcome would not be deemed worthy.

Now, I'm on to the entree part of young-adulthood. I'm trying to make something that will sustain me. I'm trying to put together something healthy, delicious and praised by all of my critics. I don't recognize half the stuff in this particular basket but I am almost positive I'm required to use a pressure cooker somewhere in the process of creating it.

There is so much stress, everything is moving so fast, and I feel like if I move too quickly I may lose a finger or completely ruin my would-be masterpiece. At the same time, if I move too slowly the opportunity to do something remarkable may pass me by.

I am on the edge of making a whole crap-ton of life decisions and I feel so much pressure to make the right choices. But one of the things I have come to realize recently is that there may not be "right" and "wrong" decisions. There are a plethora of possible outcomes, there are choices upon choices and options I haven't even been presented with yet. If I keep trying to figure out what this whole life thing is supposed to look like, my time is going to tick away and I'll just be standing still... frozen by indecision.

A close friend reminded me that you can't be certain about everything but the things you are certain about can help you figure out the rest.

I am certain that I want to learn to live in the present and appreciate the myriad of blessings I've been gifted. I'm certain that I have an amazing person to share my life with right now. And I am sure as hell that I don't want to waste any more time trying to figure out what my future is going to look like.

Is it time for dessert yet? There had better be chocolate in my basket.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Misplaced Energy

The enneagram number I identify with most is the 7. 

Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over- extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Exploring my enneagram number has been enlightening in a way I never expected. I signed up for the "enneathought" email daily, from enneagram institute and received this note a few days ago:

"As a Seven, you identify powerfully with a sense of excitement coming from anticipating future positive experiences at the expense of recognizing your own personal pain and anxiety. Notice this tendency in yourself today."

I have read, and reread that paragraph for days on end. It applies directly to my pattern of excitement, futuristic planning, social endeavors and eventually - anxiety. I fill up my calendar with outtings, events and tasks in a manic sort of way for a week, before I realize I am wrestling with something that is causing me pain or anxiety. Unfortunately, no amount of writing lists in notebooks, or adding events in my iphone will assuage my concerns, fears or emotions.

I am starting to find power in these admissions. I am learning that in order to better myself internally, I have to see myself fully. I need to acknowledge and accept my weaknesses in order to develop the emotional strength I am seeking.

Consider searching yourself for a pattern, a tendency or a need that holds you back from personal growth. We waste too much time wallowing in our established negative patterns and not enough time finding how to acknowledge and correct them. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


The theme of this summer has been Rediscovering Enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm for relationships.

Enthusiasm for work.
Enthusiasm for faith.
Enthusiasm for health.
Enthusiasm for aspirations.
Even enthusiasm for the monotony of daily life.

I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was I have been working towards for the past three months, until last night.

I was driving back from walking my dog on the beach with a new friend and Delilah's easy listening station stopped me on my radio scan. Usually, I can barely stomach 5 minutes of Delilah's optimism and syrupy sweet musings and advice.

But what stopped me was the content of her sticky-as-molasses thought. She was telling her audience to find enthusiasm for life. She discussed how easy it is to lose track of our optimism, our excitement and our joy.

I used to find myself overwhelmed with enthusiasm and thankfulness in Fort Worth. Since moving to Jacksonville, I have let that slip away.

I do not want to let routine, responsibilities, age or my career rob me of that. It is my job to maintain my enthusiasm. It is my job to appreciate my life for the big and the small things. It's your job too.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oh Pema...

Oh Pema... You infuriating little nun.

Pema Chodron makes me feel like a self-obsessed little fart. She would tell me to "embrace myself" to "live in my misery" and to "accept uncertainty."

And Pema, I'm trying. I am working on it.

Her book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, is full of bite-size lessons on accepting that we don't have the answers and searching for them will drive us mad. Her lessons remind me to breathe and accept the moment as it is. She tells me to stop waiting for people and places and jobs and friendships to give me what I need. Pema tells me that until I learn to be in my life fully, and accept myself and my current state of being in its entirety, I'm shoveling dirt into a bottomless hole.

And she's right. 

Between my exploration of the enneagram, journaling through 20 Something 20 Everything, and Pema's lessons -- my image of myself and my world is slowly coming into focus. I see myself with new eyes. I see the realities of my tendency to fill every moment, every hole, every fear with SOMETHING. I am learning that the reality is, SOMETHING will never be enough. 

My new goal is to embrace and appreciate the space. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Transitional Neighborhoods

Transitional neighborhoods. What do you think of when you hear those two words paired together?

I think of an affordable opportunity to live in a historic neighborhood close to downtown and less than 10 minutes from my favorite bars and restaurants. I think of an underrated neighborhood where people are invested in the success of their community. My real estate agent friend thinks of high crime rates, drug deals and vagrants.

We are both right. I have met incredible people in my "transitional neighborhood". People who see the potential in our historic homes and want to see us transition to a safe and friendly place to live. I have also met a great deal of people whose dilated pupils would indicate a less than normal state of mind.

Today I met two new sets of neighbors. To my right, a lovely couple that is finishing the renovations on a 1930s bungalow and looking forward to moving in any day now. To my left, a group of very thin, toothless individuals hollering delightful descriptors my way while I walked the dog.

We are most certainly transitioning around here...