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The Lighthouse

29 Aug

The Lighthouse

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
and on its outer point, some miles away,
the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base,
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
in the white tip and tremor of the face.

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,
with strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

No one alone: from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the ocean’s verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o’er the restless surge.

Like the great giant Christopher it stands
Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave,
Wading far out among the rocks and sands,
The night o’er taken mariner to save.

And the great ships sail outward and return
Bending and bowing o’er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn
They wave their silent welcome and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

The mariner remembers when a child,
on his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink
And when returning from adventures wild,
He saw it rise again o’er ocean’s brink.

Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same,
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light!

It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace:
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,
And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.

The startled waves leap over it; the storm
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain,
And steadily against its solid form
press the great shoulders of the hurricane.

The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
of wings and winds and solitary cries,
Blinded and maddened by the light within,
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.

A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,
Still grasping in his hand the fire of love,
it does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock,
but hails the mariner with words of love.

“Sail on!” it says: “sail on, ye stately ships!
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse.
Be yours to bring man neared unto man.
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras

Dear Masseuse…

28 Aug

Thank you for that. It was heavenly. I apologize for fidgeting a tiny bit, though, when you got to the toes. My ticklishness is out of control. But for you, I did try. Yes, I’m glad you gasped when I told you my last massage was a year ago. That somewhat melodramatic reaction was albeit a good reminder that there’s no reason for me to allow 12 months to go by without a good massage. Thanks for also working out all the kinks in my poor, sinusy head. I suppose there’s no need to go beyond the generous, well-deserved tip I gave you, but I’ll be getting started on that statue erected in your name pretty soon. Because your hands were awesome.

Yours,
A Relaxed KHM

sailing, takes me away…

26 Aug

A few shots of our trip to an 18th century sailboat. ‘Twas the kind of lovely day a person could eat.

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Friday Idyll.

16 Aug

I’m happy to report that this is my last day at work for the next two weeks. Two weeks. Why? I’m taking some much-needed time off, to visit the bestie and to head to the beach with another group of friends.

What I’ll miss about work for two weeks:

  1. Nothing

Happy Friday, youse guys!!

(I’ll still be posting, obviously, so as to not carelessly abandon my 31 Days of Posting Challenge/Plan, so you won’t get to miss me.)

I’ll also leave you with a song that embodies, to me, all things vacation, fun in the sun, enjoying time with friends, and John Stamos (he’s on the drums, for one thing, and he’s also my boyfriend).

crybaby. crybaby!

10 Aug

My mother tells me that I was born with a frown on my face. I came into the world silently, narrow-eyed and my mouth set in a grim, straight line. Apparently, when the doctor gently smacked me on the bottom to get me crying, my mother said I made a tiny whimper then glowered at him, like the two of us were about to fight like men. This makes sense, as most of the toddler/adolescent photos of me consist of two expressions: (1) frowning and (2) coolly eyeing the camera, like the two of us were about to fight like men. Continuing on, as a teenager and then a young lady, my mother repeatedly told me to stop looking so “fierce.” All this considered and as such, I wasn’t much of a crier.

Yep, Baby Gangsta.

Yep, Baby Gangsta.

What a difference 30 makes. Something funny happened to me when I reached 30 a few years ago. The floodgates, so long ignored–except for the first day of school, K-12-college–were unleashed, rendering me into an emotional, utter basketcase. I found myself crying at everything. Not just moments that deserve tears, like rainy days, Mondays, and This song. Everything. Happy moments. Commercials. Television shows. Friends talking to me on the phone. Everything. Four years later, now and today, this odd, strange exercise in shedding so, so many tears hasn’t changed. It’s worse.

What is it? Weird hormonal stuff? Sad estrogen? It’s not that I mind it, per se, being that, to me, shedding tears is part of shedding skin, letting out, accepting, cleansing. But what do any of the latter things have to do with an Oreo commercial? Or someone telling you how good you look in a dress? Or just driving? Seriously, I cry like a madwoman behind the wheel. Just random moments of endless tears with no real cause (traffic gets more of an endless pounding on my steering wheel, in case you were wondering).

I remember an old friend telling me the following: “You know, [Kitten], sometimes a woman just needs a good, long cry. For no reason. Just a good, long cry. I cry all the time and so should you.” At the time, I was 19 years old, and although I was slightly enamored of her awesomeness, I still decided, however intriguing those words were, that she was a giant weirdo. “A good, long cry”? Why? For what? Even when, during my senior year in college, I threw myself on our kitchen floor and bemoaned all the classes on my schedule that semester–to which my mother succintly informed me to get up, I would be fine, and that I was on the precipice of a bleeding ulcer if I didn’t stop; did I mention how much I love my mother?–I don’t recall crying about it. I just bemoaned. Little did I know how I would take my old friend’s words to heart when 30 came, except all the crying occurred more frequently than not, and seemed to be against my will.

According to this article, there are four main reasons why we cry: natural emotional response; survival mechanism (in other words, something in your environment needs to be addressed); biochemical (a release of stress hormones/toxins); and social function (you draw support from those who see you cry). None of these really explain why the kid in the Cheerios commercial makes me weep. Of course, the article stressed that whatever the reason, don’t suppress it. Let it out. I agree, even if I don’t always understand the triggers.

So, go on and cry, my dears: in your car, into your soup, over that Cheerios commercial, when you find that sweater you were looking for, because it’s Thursday, in the morning, and at night. I certainly will.

Crazy in Love.

9 Aug

oak linedWhat is it about oak-lined streets that make me so dizzy and crazy in love?

Why do I have visions of wearing an antebellum dress and strolling down one of these long, gorgeous paths with a beau named Shelby or Logan or…Beau?

During my trip to Savannah, I gazed down streets like these and nearly squealed from the romance and mystery of it all.

Sigh. Happy Friday, ya’ll.

Thank You Notes.

14 May

Sharing a few thank you notes of my own. Shall we?

Thank you, Baz Luhrmann, for attacking my medulla with the craziest visuals this side of Moulin Rouge in your interpretation of The Great Gatsby. It was enjoyable, for the most part, and sealed my conviction that the Academy Award presented to this one earlier this year should be taken away immediately and given to DiCaprio. Enough already. The man is supremely talented and we live in a world where Marisa Tomei has one. Come on.

Thank you, bestie, for being the bestie. She really is the very best. Never have I enjoyed a friendship where I’m thrilled, fascinated, incensed, and very much loved all at the same time, most of these emotions happening minutes after the other. I can only hope I provide the same sweet madness for her.

Thank you, darling schizophrenic weather, for justifying the fact that I never put away my winter clothes. It’s almost the middle of May, you guys. And it is currently 54 degrees. My sweaters continue to laugh with abandon.

Thank you, firm and good decisions. Of late, I’ve had to make some interesting decisions in my life. Being someone who wants most of the people in my life to be happy, I was forgetting that ultimately, my happiness is important, as well. Taking the time to really deliberate this, along with lots of prayer, truly helped in finally making my choices. And I’m happy.

Onwards? Yes?

tripping the light liptastic.

6 Sep

Funny, how you learn something and it kind of changes everything? A bit vague, yes, so I will happily elaborate (and you know I will).

This past weekend, my Mother and I discussed how there are a few things in life I simply cannot take, accept, or stand. One of those things is teasing. I don’t like to be teased. In any way. Tongue-in-cheek teasing, jokey jokey teasing, whatever–when it happens, my insides shrivel up and I am transported back to the nauseating days of my adolesence, when my peers had no problem choosing something they considered “odd” or “weird” about me and commenced with mercilessly teasing and mocking me about it. (Super sensitive? Why, yes, I am. But I still reserve the right to despise it, thankyouverymuch.) Out of all the humiliating, teasing moments I’ve experienced (and there have been so, so many; trust that I will be penning a book for adolescent/teen girls on how to just plain survive in the near future), Mom and I discussed a singular, significant moment in my past that always stands out. It stands out for various reasons, but following last weekend’s discussion, I look at that moment now from an entirely different and far more powerful perspective.

Picture it: Surburbia, Northern VA, 1989 (I love you, Sophia Petrillo): I was a new sixth-grader at a brand new elementary school; quiet, shy, terrified by my new surroundings. That day, we sat on the nubby, brown-carpeted floor in the chorus room waiting for our chorus teacher. I was sitting against the wall, next to the radiator, facing a group of my classmates. I remember one of them lifting up his finger to point (this culprit, the ringleader, would resurface time and time again in my young life) at me, after which he started chanting, “Fish lips, fish lips, look at her fish lips.” A gaggle of other kids followed suit, pointing, chanting, and laughing. I remember wondering–I suppose this was the first manifestation of my whole delayed reaction thing–who they were pointing, chanting, and laughing at. I looked around me. I even laughed a little. Then I noticed that the few kids who weren’t pointing, chanting, and laughing were looking at me with strange, sad faces. The others who couldn’t look just stared down at the ground. It became clear: I was the target of the pointing, chanting, and laughing. I blinked in surprise…in confusion…in embarassment…in pain. My stomach dropped. I remember feeling dizzy. Why were they doing this to me? It kept going until our chorus teacher entered the room, when everything became conveniently quiet and still again. How did I react later, you wonder? Did I cry? Hold a grudge against the mongrels? Tell my little sister (who would have figured out a way to pound each of their faces in), my parents? None of the above. I did nothing. After the shock and pain wore off, I stopped thinking about it. I even became friends with two of the girls that had been part of the mocking crew, both of whom later subjected me to daily doses of peer pressure and further humiliation. Maybe it’s the wiring of a child’s mind, to forget and forgive so easily. I digress. Recall my statement about delayed reaction? Well, I did react eventually…for the next several years:

  • I started to cover my mouth when I smiled or laughed.
  • I hated seeing my lips in photos.
  • I would look in the mirror and stare at my lips in disdain.
  • I became so sensitive about my lips that when someone would look in my direction, I wondered if they were gawking at them.

A subconscious, toxic imprint was created in me that day, a fact I didn’t realize until later. Nevertheless, this really isn’t about the damage that day did and my long journey in finally accepting these lips and by extension, this face, and even larger, who I am as a person. What I now find incredible about that terrible day goes back to last weekend, during the aforementioned discussion with my Mom. Last weekend was when I learned something I never knew before: Mom revealed that my late father was so teased about his lips that he grew a moustache to take the attention off them.

I was shocked. How could anyone tease my father, who was arguably the most handsome man I knew? And yes, I’m biased, but I happen to know that plenty of people share this opinion, ok? My Pops was a looker.

Even more incredulous: my Dad and I had shared the same struggle in trying to hide something that had no business being hidden.

But here comes the new perspective I mentioned earlier. Drumroll, please: finding out what my Dad went through with his self-image reminds me of how alike we really were. Good or bad, I love this. I love it times 100. Because knowing what he went through makes me identify with him even more, understand him even more, and appreciate the memory of him even more and more. Not only that, the revelation about my father strips away the power from the kids that chose to–for whatever psychological reason–target me. When I think about that day or speak of it now, I’ll only remember that my beloved dad went through it and he got throught it. Just like I did. You’re just like your father (heard it my whole life) has never meant more to me.

So these luscious lips of mine? They’re beautiful, plump, pronounced, and so liptastic. I stopped being ashamed of them a long time ago. And why not? I got them from my father.

33.

21 Oct

Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.  ~Mark Twain

And I hardly mind. I’ve always enjoyed getting older.

Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.  ~Author Unknown

Truer words have never been spoken. No premature gray hairs will change the pure privilege to still be here, and I’ve been graying since 14, so it’s really all good.

Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.  ~Caryn Leschen

Two years to go! Woo hoo!

The key to successful aging is to pay as little attention to it as possible.  ~Judith Regan

Yes, but I do enjoy reminding Mother that that particular day was, by far, the best day of her natural life. I won’t comment on whether she agrees with me.

At 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30 the wit; at 40 the judgment.  ~Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac

Still in the decade of wit. To wit, thank you.

Everything slows down with age, except the time it takes cake and ice cream to reach your hips.  ~Attributed to John Wagner

I wasn’t blessed with hips, so I’ll keep indulging. (Shut up, belly. No one solicited your opinion.)

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.  ~Zora Neale Hurston

These are the answer years. Couldn’t say that at 25.

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  ~Henry Ford

And I dare anyone to tell me when they stopped learning.

Lastly…

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.  ~John Barrymore

Let’s continue dreaming, shall we?

i will knock that needle out like a straight ninja. or…not.

16 Sep

So, this past weekend, I unfortunately had to be rushed to the Emergency Room due to a severe allergic reaction. All is well now, thankfully, although the doctors are not entirely sure what caused it. (Do they ever definitively know anything?) So I get to the ER and the fear begins. It’s unavoidable and unfailing. Antsy, heart racing, holding my breath against that weird scent in the air, that Thriller-like waiting room where the other sickies stare at you, greedy for your limbs, the patient check-in people who nearly froth at the mouth at the prospect of either draining you of money or condescendingly asking you if you have insurance, the whole thing. I hate it all. I secretly love the whole we’re-going-to-take-care-of-you vibe, but that’s better served within the cushy environs of a four-star hotel, not County General. Anyway. As a result of my steadily swelling tongue (what a terrifying feeling, by the way) and other allergy-related factors, I was quickly processed, taken to a bed, and my vitals were checked. After the doctor did her thing, she informed me, with a sad shaking of her head, that the nurse would come back in and give me medication through an IV. I’m still trying to imagine exactly how my face looked, because upon seeing my expression, she laughed and said, “never mind, never mind! We’ll just give you a shot in the arm.” So, replacing torture with…another brand of torture?  

I took a deep breath, sighed, and said ok, as if my reply meant anything. I was getting that shot whether I wanted it (hardly) or not (totally). Really, what was I going to do? I had no choice but to await my punishment for getting ill. (It’s all perspective, isn’t it?) Years ago, when I was promised a shot, my mother and father watched bemusedly as I weakly attempted to roll off the hospital bed and escape. Not now. My tongue was about to escape the confines of my mouth. I needed that shot. And so I closed my eyes and waited. When the nurse returned, she went to work. She pulled out the syringe. I nearly fainted, then busied myself with taking off my sweater to prepare my arm.

“Oh, no, hon. This shot isn’t going in your arm.”

Does this nurse know what the doctor told me? What kind of crazy communication skills are going on in this hospital? Why promise me a shot in the arm, which isn’t as bad as a shot anywhere else? Note to self: check options for malpractice suits. “Wh-wh-where is it going?”

“Either in your thigh or in your derriere. We need it to go into a muscle.”

I lifted up my dress and pointed toward my thigh, almost screaming that she was going nowhere near my poor tush.

That needle hurt like mad. I literally limped out of the room some time later, my thigh on all kinds of fire. Terrible, just terrible.

But people go through worse, which is the real perspective of the matter. Despite wanting to knock that needle out of her hand and jumping through some sort of plate-glass window to get out of the situation, I had to keep that in mind: so many people, a number of them close to me, have gone through much worse. A painful needle in the thigh was manageable, even though I wondered, mid-wince, whether she put some kind of Terminator-like solvent in me or something. Seriously, that stuff was crucially painful. But in the end, the symptoms abated, I slept the rest of the day away, and I was ok.

Moral of the story: Don’t get allergies?

Actual Moral: acquire ninja skills.

BJ & FE SCOTT

...LIVING THE BEST LIFE EVER!

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