The Graduate

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Hailey graduates today,

acting her part in life’s play.

Now bound for college soon,

oh how her smarts will make the professors swoon.

She leaves her mom on the porch,

she’ll now be setting her own course.

12 years of school are  now complete,

so it’s off to the rat race to compete.

Dream big and live large,

because now you’re in charge.

Travel Patina

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Opened senses and a shaken balance.

Strange toilets and a tested palate.

A touched soul and a blistered toe.

All whims allowed and a nap condoned.

Lust for the new and the comfort of old.

Twist your tongue and engage your brain.

Let it seep into your pores and in to your DNA.

Get a travelers life and add a little patina.

 

They Snore, They Snore

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They snore, they snore, I want to get up and head for the door.

One is a puff, one is a rumble and the other is a dull roar.

They snore, they snore,  I can’t take it anymore.

I give one a stroke and over they role,

the other a poke and they are quiet awhile.

They snore, they snore, I count sheep and try to ignore.

To sleep with my pups and the love of my life

a symphony of snores is the cacophony I endure.

They snore, they snore, and sleep I’m yet to score.

To hear them rest sweetly is the sound I yearn for,

but for a good nights rest it is not a cure.

They snore, they snore, but I could not love them more.

Are You Afflicted With Smart-Ass? I am!

IMG_0672  Hello. My Name is Shari and I’m a Smart-ass!

Do you ever beat yourself up for things you have said or done? I do, all of the time. It’s usually because of a smart ass comment I’ve made in a meeting that I meant to be funny and people did laugh. But then, afterward, I worry, was someone offended? When the joke isn’t at my own expense, I hope I picked a target with a sense of humor and a willingness to play along. But still, sometimes it nags at me and I feel like I should track the person down and apologize.

I am a smart-ass from way back. I think, quite possibly, I came out of the womb with a raised eyebrow at my mother asking what took her so long. When I came out of my shell, in junior highschool, I might have been considered one of the class clowns; always popping off with something to get a laugh or reaction.

I also constantly use humor, self-depreciation or a silly comment to try to deflect from a difficult situation or when conflict arises between other people or when god-forbid someone gives me a compliment. I think it stems from spending my formative years in a house with a lot of conflict, with parents that spelled swear words at each other. I’m not sure if their thinking was that it would protect my vocabulary because they spelled out F-U-C-K-E-R at each other rather than said the word. But, fucker is actually one of the first words I learned to spell. I spelled it out for my grandpa’s neighbor, Mr. Fox, he was not impressed. I was immediately marched home and exposed. My grandmother laughed when he told her what I was spelling and I was told to go outside and play.

An environmental impact from my youth that continues to afflict me today!

Are you afflicted with anything?

 

 

 

Changes

The changes to places, I don’t really mind.

But the changes to faces, oh I really do mind.

Lost are the theater, the restaurant and the park,

but not those who’ve touched my heart.

 

Faces change with lines and crinkles,

everyone faces the inevitable wrinkle.

But the soul of youth remains,

no matter how many things change.

 

Our bodies pop, creak and slow down,

some mornings are sore to the bone.

My mind says young, but my back says old,

never more than when I’m on my own.

 

The playgrounds of youth are a subdivision,

the grade school unrecognizable with my vision.

But the friends who’ve known me at my worst,

are still the friends who love me without derision.

 

Yes, the changes to places are fine,

but the changes to faces are so unkind.

To those I’ve lost or who’ve left me behind,

you’ll always live on in love in my mind.

 

 

Mom

232323232fp93232>uqcshlukaxroqdfv-984=ot>278<=-53=73<=369;-5364;339nu0mrj  Mother’s Day

Someone recently asked me what my mom was like; I stammered and smiled and said she was great, but I was caught a bit off guard.

What is my mom like… smart, pretty, a great business woman, a good mother, grandmother, etc. But what is she really like. I have no idea.

I think she is strong, independent, hard working, generally honest unless she would hurt someones feelings, but even then she does not always hold back. Her friends seem to like her, her customers seem to love her, her staff keep working for her year after year so she is a good boss.

But still, I get the feeling that my mom would like to have a different kind of life, but has gone with the cards she was dealt.

She also seems to be a person that plays things pretty close to the vest, well unless she’s had a glass of wine, then maybe a bit of the protective armor comes off and you see more of the loving, soft center. I recognize that in myself, I am pretty self contained and tend to hold my personal feelings to myself, really only revealing the true me on rare occasions with a rare few.

My mother is the one who can hurt my feelings easier than anyone and I think many times doesn’t even realize she has done it. Other times, maybe she is thinking she is being honest for my own good, but is not really helping me. Just making me feel shitty.

But, its a cycle, my grandfather seems to be able to do the same thing to her. We always want to please the ones we love and respect the most. But, I think we find it easier to remember the one bad thing that was said to us, rather than the 100 nice things. Or at least I do.

I know I’m lucky to have the mother I have, so many people have no parent at all or the parent they do have in their lives doesn’t want to be a parent, is incapable of being a parent or is just a horrible person with too many problems of their own to help the person they brought into the world.

So, on Mother’s Day, I say: I love you mom for being a great role-model, a parent that helped me learn to be the person I am today and I hope our relationship continues to grow.

What is your mother like?

Wanderlust – Book Review #2

   A Love Affair with Five Continents.

Wanderlust was a fun read with lots of exotic locales; including Spain, Pakistan, Papau New Guinea, Australia and more. Romance and sex with what appeared to be a little bit of love sprinkled in for good measure. Stories of the upside and downside of travel, especially in some of the more “male dominated” countries in which she lived.

The giddy feeling of traveling or even more so the anticipation of traveling somewhere anywhere new was palpable and she was more than willing to set aside lovers to pursue her passion for travel.  One of the first lovers she left for travel ended this way;

I was at Whistler with Graham’s roommates when my mother called with the news: The United States had no diplomatic presence in Afghanistan at the time, but the State Department would be pleased to assign me instead to ten weeks at the consulate general in Karachi, in neighboring Pakistan. I jumped up and down on the sofa, yelling “I’m going to Karachi!” Everyone told me this was cool. They had no idea where it was, but they had a world map on their living room wall, courtesy of Graham, and I stood on the sofa and pointed it out. In any case they understood that I would embark on a wished-for adventure, and wished-for adventure was a currency we had in common. 

It was then, in the dead of winter, when I decided I would go away again, that we both began to understand that we would break up. I’d made a choice, and it was not to try for love, with all its rick of pain, but to travel.”

I was impressed by her selfish pursuit of travel and going after her dreams despite any romantic attachments she was currently entertaining, but also a little bit critical of her selfishness too. It spoke to my own inner conflict with staying safe and being responsible or jumping off the cliff to pursue my own dreams.

This was one of those books that made me sad for a few days because the adventure came to an end when I finished the book. This book was also another inspiration for my post “I Am Afflicted With Wanderlust” the travel bug is definitely on my mind.

I give it 4 out of 5 Pi! π π π π  A fun and entertaining read!

Do you have a favorite travel memoir!

 

Book Geeks Dream – Bookcrossing

afdb24d2-0916-405c-804e-08f805949f8e  I love to read!

A recent New York Times article that I quoted in “I am Afflicted with Wanderlust”  – “Solo In Paris” by Stephanie Rosenbloom has a quick paragraph about discovering a book at a museum that intrigued me;

I had taken the book, by Patricia Wentworth, because I recognized the sticker on the cover: www.Bookcrossing.com, a website that encourages people to read, register and hide books in the world for others to find. For years I had wanted to discover one. Later, when I went on the site to register that I had the book, there was a message from its former, anonymous owner: “This book was not lost,” it said in French, “it was found for a new reader.””

I love to read and have loved books since I was a child. One of my favorite pastimes was spending time in our little towns old library; checking out books, learning new things and bugging the librarian. We lived just 4 short blocks from the library until I was 9 and we moved to the country. It was almost like my second home and is one of the cherished memories from my youth.

So I had to check out the site.

What is BookCrossing?”

“It’s the World’s Library. It’s a smart social networking site. It’s a celebration of literature and a place where books get new life. BookCrossing is the act of giving a book a unique identity so, as the book is passed from reader to reader, it can be tracked and thus connecting its readers. There are currently 1,199,724 BookCrossers and 10,296,948 books travelling throughout 132 countries. Our community is changing the world and touching lives one book at a time.”

I am so excited to find this site, I love to share my books and get recommendations from others and this is a whole new way to share, review, connect and discover. The picture at the top is of the custom bookplate I created on the site. It was super easy and purchasing them from the site helps support the site. They have tons of really cool ones that you can get or really simple straightforward ones. I included a link to mine in the picture if you are interested in my creation with my Maddie dog on it.

I can’t wait to release my first book. In searching the site it looks like there are about a half dozen books in my little town in Olympia so I will be on the lookout. You can check out their “Go Hunting” section for free and go hunting for a book in your community too.

I will share more about my first release and any successful catches along the way.

Have you ever caught or released a book with Bookcrossing? What’s your story?

Banning the Snarky

IMG_0301  Me

I recently wrote a post about a snarky comment from a reader on one of my “6 Word Memoirs” and even though I wrote about not changing the post because of the comments; if I’m honest my initial reaction was that of having someone yell at me in line at the super market for accidentally brushing into them – apologetic, shrinking away, cowering.  I stayed away from that site for a couple of days, even though I was really enjoying the posts and coming up with my own.

When you put yourself out there, show your cards and share yourself, you are not going to please everyone; some people don’t agree with my point of view and some people are just horribly unhappy and want to share that with everyone else.

By nature I am a people pleaser and this is going to be a challenge to my psyche to take the criticism, constructive or destructive, that will inevitably come by putting myself and my thoughts out into the world.

But, this is also making me look at my own behavior and I have to admit I can be snarky and negative with the best of them, though I hope I don’t attack or bully people. But even that, I am sure I have probably done, at some point.  I am going to work on that part of myself, what is the saying, “you are what you put into the world” or something like that or maybe its “you get, what you give”? Anyway,  I hope you understand what I mean.

I don’t want to perpetuate the negative in the world and my world starts with me and the people around me. From today forward I am “banning the snarking” and a positive approach will be my reaction to every situation even the unhappy or difficult ones, because the only thing I can control is my reaction to what happens around me and to me. I will approach a problem or difficult situation with an eye to solving it in a positive and constructive way. No more negative, bashing, snarky responses that get me and those involved no where.

Now, I know this is easier said than done, as they say, but I am going to consciously try to be more positive in my approach to every situation and I’m “banning the snarky”. Wish me luck.

Do you have any helpful tips for getting through life’s difficulties with a positive approach?

 

 

 

I Am Afflicted With Wanderlust

Venice 1  As my world has begun to shrink, my wanderlust has begun to expand.

I keep reading books and blogs about travel and this desire continues to build up in me like the water behind a damn that is about to break. I was window shopping vacation rentals in Paris yesterday; imagining renting one for about six months and getting to write, walk the streets of Paris, learn some proper French and sit in a cafe and watch the world go by.

A Stephanie Rosenbloom article “Solo in Paris” in the May 2nd New York Times nicely sums up how I would love to spend my time.

“Indeed, the city has a centuries-old tradition of solo exploration, personified by the flâneur, or stroller. Flânerie is, in its purest form, a goal-less pursuit, though for some it evolved into a purposeful art: Walking and observing became a method of understanding a city, an age. Baudelaire described the flâneur as a passionate spectator, one who was fond of “botanizing on the asphalt,” as the essayist Walter Benjamin would later put it. Typically, it was a man. No longer.”

With observation and people watching being favorite pastimes this excerpt from the Ms. Rosenbloom’s article encapsulates the idea perfectly;

“To refuel, I stopped by a favorite among my friends, Le Comptoir du Relais, a cozy maroon bistro where English is hardly spoken. I walked in around 4:30, which meant I had no trouble getting lunch. Tall panes of glass were flung open, letting in the sidewalk, the better for gawking at passers-by, which I did shamelessly while eating salmon with wasabi and turnips. Places like this, where one looks out as others look in, are ideal for solo travelers. I had that exquisite feeling described by Baudelaire in “The Painter of Modern Life,” in which you “see the world,” are “at the center of the world,” and yet “remain hidden from the world.””

I also found this wonderful blog post yesterday on Medium by Keegan Jones, Lessons From A Year of Solo Travel. He has some great observations and interesting tips and information about seeing the world. The first one was that he planned to spent less than $33/ day on accommodations but after a year on the road he spent less;

“Travel can be affordable.
Long term travel is different than a luxury vacation. The point is to see the world, not stay in a 5-star hotel. During the trip, I stayed on a strict budget. The goal was to spend no more than $33 per day on accommodations. After a year, I was able to spend only $26.15 per day by booking through HostelWorld and Airbnb. When I wanted to meet people, I’d stay in a shared room at a hostel. When I wanted to be alone, I’d book a private room with Airbnb.”

He also posted a picture of the limited possessions and clothes that he traveled with over his year of travel. Maybe 30 items.

“I have lived with a few things in a backpack for a year. I have been perfectly content. It’s a fantastic feeling to walk off an airplane with a single carry-on backpack. I didn’t buy a single souvenir because I had no extra space in my backpack. I have become more conscious about things I want versus things that I need. The less you own, the better. Otherwise, your possessions will own you. Living this way is a privilege. It affords the flexibility to easily move, live in less space, worry less, and spend less to buy bigger and better things.”

This was the most appealing part of the story to me, shedding all the possessions that are weighing me down and getting down to the basic necessities of life with maybe a few luxuries in there for fun.

And this quote, from the author Jon Krakauer, that he included also got me thinking.

““Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.” ― Jon Krakauer”

I have always been the responsible planner that makes sure the trip is planned, the bills are paid, the next job is lined up, the birthday cards are mailed and on and on. I would like to escape the “monotonous security” for a while. I know my opportunity will come, I am working on being ready for it when the time is right!

How about you any secret travel lust?