No Breath

He has no breath and he takes it slow,

it frustrates him because he so wants to go.

He’s always played hard and was a ladies man,

his charms are not gone, someday he’ll understand.

 

He packs his air and works to breathe,

So young of heart he still wants to speed.

For one “born ready” this is a bitter pill,

these golden years suck and are going to take some skill.

 

Change has come to the one I love,

he’s out of breath and his lungs are done.

The virile man he fears has gone,

but I assure him he is very, very wrong.

 

Sometimes he fears this breath will be his last,

those player days are catching up from his checkered past.

It worries him that he might hear death,

still he says “fuck you” and catches his breath.

 

He’s watched the others who’ve gone before,

he’s seen the future and the prognosis can be poor.

Enjoy this day, its a gift to you

Waste it away at your own peril,  fool.

The Fear Effect

Fear is a familiar friend,

it sucks my life without end.

Fear of what I don’t always know,

it’s always there, a common foe.

 

As I write these words I have my doubts.

Don’t write, it’s crap. Will fear win out?

Is fear my excuse or why I fail

or why I don’t make the attempt and chase my tail?

 

Everyone gets scared at times, of this I’m fairly certain,

but the ones who win the game are those who show fear a hurtin!

 

Awhile back I wrote a post about my Nagging Omission with my husband. Well recently I pulled off that bandage, faced my fear and went all in with a quick rip. First I showed my blog to my husband, letting him read several of the stories. And then I emailed most of my family about my writing and gave them a link to my site.

The good news is my world did not crash in, my husband didn’t ask for a divorce and now knows I do not have an internet lover. I haven’t had any irate calls from family or friends, yet. My husband has shown a tentative curiosity about what I’ve been writing and said he admired my ability to express myself and tell a story, but at first didn’t realize that my blog was open to anyone to see. That part I don’t think he is completely comfortable with and has some fears of his own that we will have to work through.

The only other person to comment about my blog has been my dad(technically my step-dad to those who read my blog and are confused) and he commented on a few of the posts and recited a couple of the poems he has written that are very good. He has one about fishing that is amazing and he has sold some copies of it, but he recited two others I didn’t remember. Maybe we will write a father-daughter poetry book some day.

But now that my husband and my family are aware of this blog and some of my writing; I find that a different type of fear is at work now; I am self-censoring and self-conscience about what I am writing.  Because if there are any people I “people-please” for its these people.  This is going to be tough!

Do you share your writing with your friends and family? Is there anything you keep just for your self for just this reason?

 

A Writer’s Pen

A wilting dream and a damning thought,

my soul is broken and black is the pot.

With a crush that occurs one day at a time,

my life isn’t my own because I’m earning a dime.

 

Why do I work at a job I can’t stand,

because my possessions own me and my wallet demands.

A disingenuous smile and a polite hello,

I’m faking this dance to make some dough.

 

Desires for things are too instantly gratified,

while this writer’s pen lays still and petrified.

A stunted potential and an untrodden path.

Why do I shrink from risk? Because I fear the crash.

 

Bird by bird and step by step,

I keep on writing, but feel out of my depth.

I’ve lived with regret and fought for too long,

so I’m keeping my pen and will write a tome.

 

Strive to be ourselves is Hunter’s advice to a friend,

I better figure it out, because it up to me in the end.

Circumstance has made my choice to this point,

now I search for my destiny and it’s making my life disjoint.

 

I Can’t See

The older I get the harder it is for me to see. And when I try to read without my glasses on it gives me a massive headache. So I needed to get my eyes checked again and get new glasses, since I recently lost my last pair of prescription glasses and the Costco classics were no longer making the grade.

I went back to Pearle Vision, I had liked the Opthamaligist that had conducted my last eye exam nearly 4 years ago and she was still there, so I made an appointment. My eyes had gotten worse, but not that much worse according to the Doctor, which kind of surprised me. It felt like I couldn’t see almost anything without glasses and worse my distance vision was getting blurry too. uhg.

So, I had my exam and I decided to check out the glasses at Pearle Vision, since they had their usual buy-one-get-one free event in effect( small print – it is for the frames only not the lenses). But still two pairs of glasses would have cost me over $350 with insurance. That just seems like too much, it would have been even more if I had gotten the needed bifocals.

So, when I got home I decided to do some research on the internet about places and prices for glasses. I discovered Warby Parker.

IMG_20140606_145609

Two super cute, very comfortable pairs of glasses with cases and cleaning cloths from Warby Parker without insurance came to under $250 dollars. They have a great try before you buy program, you go to their site pick out up to 5 frame styles that you would like to try and they mail them to you at no cost. You get to keep the glasses for 5 days so you can show your friends, try them on a couple of times, take a photo if you like and decide which ones are the winners. They give you a pre-paid label to mail them back too.

Once you’ve picked out the style you like, you can upload your prescription or give them your doctors contact information and they will get the prescription information for you. They also have readers or straight sunglasses too. It was all super easy, they even have a funky little three step process to get your pupil measurement, you do it on line; one, two, three with your webcam.

I received my two stylish and affordable pairs of glasses in about a week. I would highly recommend their service. I love my glasses so far and have gotten several complements already.

But the best part about getting my glasses from Warby Parker – for every pair of glasses they sell they give another pair to a person in need. How cool is that – I save money and help someone else see better too.

Eyewear with a purpose
Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses. This means that 15% of the global population cannot effectively learn or work – a problem that Warby Parker is determined to address. We’ve partnered with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.”

Where do you get your glasses?

 

 

Breakfast with Buddha

  “Breakfast with Buddha” by Roland Merullo was the topic of several conversations with my friend Allen from work and the subject of my 3rd book review.

This is a very funny, but also thought provoking road trip story about a man who’s sister tricks him into transporting a guru friend of hers across the country to their family home in North Dakota after the death of their parents.

The death of Otto’s parents rocks his otherwise “normal”, “successful”, ‘hardworking” and generally happy existence and brings the question of the “meaning of life’ into a more prominent place in his everyday existence. With this state of mind he was more ready for this ride with the stranger Rinpoche that he realized.

During one of their discussions on the road where Otto is getting upset with the guru because he thinks he is preaching to him or being presumptuous, because the guru offers to answer a question for him. Otto pops off with “What is the meaning of life”  The guru laughs and proceeds to put some dirt in his water glass while dining in a restaurant and stirs it up and declares “meaning of life”.

Dirt in Glass?”

“He held up his own water-glass, dirt-free, and peered at me through it, then set it down. ” The mind,” he said, pointing at the clear glass. I was glad, at least that he hadn’t pointed at the glass of what was now becoming mud and said “your mind.” By then the dirt was settling, the top part of the glass was somewhat clear again. “Watch,” he instructed. And as we watched, the dirt in my glass settled slowly to the bottom so that the top two-thirds of the water grew translucent, then transparent. “Your mind,” he said, pointing at the glass in front of me. He picked up his spoon. “When you – when some person – does things he shouldn’t do. “Watch.”He put that spoon in the glass and stirred energetically again, took the spoon, out, sat back with a look of complete satisfaction on his face. “Then you can’t see.”

“When someone does what bad things?”

“Kill person. Kill animal for no reason. Drugs, Anger, Eat too much…. like that.”

“Kill someone and eat too much in the same category?”

“He laughed as if at himself and pointed at me. “Smart.” …… Killing someone means more dirt. Glass filled with dirt for killing someone. Little bit of dirt for eating too much.” 

“I see. That’s today’s lesson.”

“Yes, It is good lesson. If you want to see the life as it is in a true way, then you have to make the water very pure, very clean. This is not easy in this world but it is what you have to. You cannot upset the mind.“”

There are several stories that are funny, self-conscious, true and enlightening. The Chippewa Lanes in South Bend was another favorite.

I am not much for religion and that was much of Allen and my conversations at work and this book several times mirrored our conversations. Allen trying to crack open my door to faith of any kind and me resisting at every turn.

If you are of a faith or an atheist or agnostic resigned to no faith you will still love this book and the different, nonjudgmental ways it looks at life.

I am going to make this book my second BookCrossing release. Wanderlust is out and about in West Olympia, but I’m not sure where this one will be left. Let me know if you find it though.

What are your feelings on faith and religion?

 

The Lost Brother

Step-by-step and one-by-one,

he was always a very methodical son.

As a boy so very sweet, funny and kind,

a better brother, I doubt, you’ll rarely find.

 

He left the state to make his fate,

to a school in New York, he took their bait.

A teacher of children, a lover of life,

he works out everyday, but doesn’t have a wife.

 

Nothing in common and very little to say,

he’s on his journey and we are in his way.

He doesn’t write, email or call,

he’s doing his thing and it’s not at the mall.

 

We try to connect and share a laugh,

but nothing crosses over and he has to dash.

He lives a life of anarchy and rage,

he wants to play on a much bigger stage.

 

A three-year absence, it feels like much more,

I think and think about how to open that door.

My brother’s been lost, some day he’ll be found

Can’t wait too long, soon we’ll all be in the ground.

Self Criticism and Some Instructions on Life

I recently started reading Anne Lamott’s, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and coincidentally one of my favorite blogs, BrainPickings posted an article, The Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters: Anne Lamott on Priorities and How We Keep Ourselves Small by People-Pleasing. The article calls out items from the book and some commentary from Ms. Lamott’s Facebook page.

What makes Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (public library) so timelessly rewarding and one of the greatest books on writing of all time is that besides her wisdom on the craft, Lamott extends enormous sensitivity to and consolation for the general pathologies of the human condition — our insecurities, our social anxieties, our inner turmoils. Among her most powerful and memorable meditations in the book is that on how our perfectionism kills the creative spirit — something she revisited recently in a short essay on her Facebook page, spurred by a surge in negative comments and vicious troll attacks.

I just finished reading the chapter on “Perfectionism” and I certainly recognized my self as I read those pages. My perfectionism has kept me from doing and trying so many things in my life; if I don’t think I can do something well or know how it works ahead of time I just don’t attempt it. I hate that about myself and want to jump in and try things that I never have and experience things that I have been too driven by the perfectionist tendencies; worrying about making mistakes, failing, looking foolish and so on, to get out there and just do them.

And another quote the article pulled from Ms. Lamott’s Facebook Page really struck this people pleaser.

 “Do you mind even a little that you are still addicted to people-pleasing, and are still putting everyone else’s needs and laundry and career ahead of your creative, spiritual life? Giving all your life force away, to “help” and impress. Well, your help is not helpful, and falls short.

People pleasing and perfectionism go hand-in-hand and I know began at an early age for me. As the first-born your every moment is watched, recorded, critiqued, praised or scorned and corrected.  There is a little note in my baby book (see below) written by my mother that I came across awhile ago and this illustrates nicely how early my perfectionism and self criticisms started.

IMG_20140602_091624889

Self criticism started early.

Since my mother’s last entry in the book was around age three or just when I turned 4 after my brother was born; this “amusing saying” likely occurred around age 3. I spilled my coffee and milk (more on why my mother was giving a three-year old coffee in another post) and said to my self; “Christ sakes Shari” (more salty language). And I have certainly improved over the last 40 years, never really giving myself a break on anything.

I am going to get that “shitty first draft written“, keep writing and posting here and not let those voices in my head that are telling me I’m not good enough win.

I plan on releasing my copy of “Bird by Bird” on BookCrossing when I am finished, because I’m sure there is another aspiring writer or perfectionist that could use the help.

Do you suffer from perfectionist tendencies?

 

 

The Unchosen Companions

IMG_0002

Fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers,

the unchosen companions not available to others.

Love and laughter, disappointment and tears,

still driving you nuts after all these years.

 

They know us at our worst and at our best,

and so often put our patience to the test.

Sometimes we hate, yell and can’t relate,

and always regret that wretched date.

 

The for better or worse choice was mine,

still it came with a judgment and a diatribe.

We all can get lost in lovers, jobs and friends,

but with luck and love they will be there at the end.

 

Shared memories and momentous fights,

often taken for granted and at times a blight.

Affections tested and a trust that can not abate,

a bond that if not tended sometimes breaks.

 

Quickly forgiven, but never forgotten,

we gode and complain and sometimes are rotten.

We defend with a vengeance and chide and deride,

those unchosen companions on lifes crazy ride.