Sock It To Me

It was beginning to appear that her interesting face covered a most uninteresting mind. – Anne Perry

He would look at you as is he were really interested in all you said. Hcropped-photo1.jpge never seemed to be merely polite. It was almost as if he were half expecting you to turn out to be special, and he did not want to miss any opportunity to find out. – Anne Perry

Don’t mistake a street address for where you actually live. – Ruth Reichl

Art is what we call the thing an artist does. It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters,
what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human. Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist. – Seth Godin

“So was that the reason you left Herminia?” Miss Prim said.

He looked at her in silence for a few seconds, as if trying to guess what lay behind her question.

“I think you didn’t really love her,” she said.

“No, that’s where you’re wrong,” he said firmly. “I did love her. I loved her very much. But the day came, or maybe the moment, I don’t know, when I realized that she was asleep, whereas I was fully awake, absolutely, and totally awake. I’d climbed like a cat up onto a roof and I could see a beautiful, terrible, mysterious landscape stretching out before me. Did I really love her? Of course I did. Perhaps if I’d loved her less, cared for her less, I wouldn’t have had to leave her.”

“I thought the religious were closer to other people than anyone else.”

“I can’t speak for anyone else. I only know what it’s meant to me. It’s been my touchstone, the line that’s split my life in two and given it absolute meaning. But I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy. It’s not easy, and anyone who says it is is fooling themselves. It was catharsis, a shocking trauma, open-heart surgery, like a tree torn from the ground and replanted elsewhere.

“And there’s something else,” he continued, “something to do with looking beyond the moment, with the need to scan the horizon, to scrutinize it as keenly as a sailor studies his charts. Don’t be surprised. My story is as old as the world. I’m not the first and won’t be the last. I know what you’re thinking. Would I turn back if I could? No, of course not. Would a newly awoken man willingly go back to the sleepwalking life?”

–         From The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Calvin says, “Oh brother, what have you been drinking?” beagle

Up or Down?

As a friend just posted on Facebook, “I’m thankful to God for daylight savings”. Frankly it’s a tradition that has outlived its purpose and it’s time to chuck it, but until that happens, this time of year gives me God’s paintbrush strokes all over the sky when I come into work.

No two sunrises are the same. Each one has its unique features.

Some are bold and striking. Others wear summer pastels. 

The cloud formations are different, too. Sometimes they come at me with furious energy and tones. Others are quieter and appear in a whisper.

The morning sky is like a fashion runway with the color statement for the day. I look forward to it.

What floors me is my fellow passengers on the train. Nobody looks out the window at the spectacle. They’re blind. They prefer their inner landscape curated by social media.

Calvin says, “Most people don’t look up or down. Me? I love sticking my nose into a burning bush of sunrise.” beagle

 

No Giants Here

The Giants pulled it off last night – barely. It seems they thrive under pressure like our two presidential candidates. But unlike the Giants, we have to live with one of these people for the next four years. I wish we had a probationary period of a year, then we re-evaluate if the new president is doing his job or not. I like how the British handle their politicians. If there is a loss of confidence and support, they step down and call for a new election. I’m always amazed how many are waiting in the wings to fill the vacancy. You’d think the British would need a few months to ask for resumes to find someone who was a good fit to lead the country. Instead, you wake up the next day to see a new prime minister move into 10 Downing Street.  img_4349

This year American politics has succumbed to an all-time low. It reminds me of a bull fight, except instead of a bull and a matador, we have two bulls locking horns and skewering each other. The issue of character, composure, and class has been trampled. Neither one has given us their plan for the country except in sound bites. If you’re interested, Hillary says to go read her book. I saw it in Costco last week. It’s a paperback that looks like it’s been culled together overnight by a team of star-struck high schoolers in a stuffy basement somewhere. It’s written for an eight-year old reader. That shows you what she thinks of us, or is the book for the non-American and non-citizen who is going to vote this year?

The Giants play again tonight. They must win if they’re going to stay in the game. As for Donald and Hillary, I’m hoping neither wins. Their VP candidates would make better presidents.

Calvin says, “Stick to baseball. At least there’s a ball to play instead of dirty laundry.”

beagle

The Street Crazies Aren’t Always People

My everyday morning commute to work is your typical jammed-packed-full-of-bodies-on-a-train experience. Nothing romantic or inspirational about it. I serves me well for characters in a story, for recording dialogue, and for picking up nuances of personality.

This morning, however, I met a character that made me laugh out loud.

His name is Buddy.

But Buddy is no ordinary personage.

He’s an English bulldog with panache.

I’ve seen Buddy before. He’s usually on the other side of the street with his owner, in an enclosed area between two buildings, barking at an orange ball the size of a watermelon. His owner is usually on his cell phone, so Buddy has to wait to get his attention. Hence the barking. Then his owner kicks the ball and Buddy waddles after it with more barking. His barking sounds more like snapping with a smoker’s voice. It echoes down the street and commands attention.

This morning I heard the snapping before I saw Buddy. This time he was on my side of the street. I rushed to catch up to him.

Buddy didn’t have his orange ball. Instead he was cruising down the street on a skateboard. 

That’s when I laughed out loud.

I caught up to him at the curb waiting for a car to clear the street. Buddy seems to know about streets and curbs and traffic because he was waiting patiently there. His skateboard had flipped over, exposing the four orange wheels. It seems orange is Buddy’s favorite color. He snapped and gnawed on one of the wheels.

“Flip it over,” his owner said.

Buddy barked with frenzy.

“Come on, Buddy, flip it over,” the man said.

Buddy opened his mouth, bit down on the wheel he was conversing with, and with a turn of his head, flipped the skateboard onto its right side. Then he nudged it with his nose, which in his case was his entire face, and pushed it across the street, which by now was empty of cars. Once on the next street, Buddy hopped on, peddled with his front right leg, gathered speed, then climbed on for the ride.

“How did you teach him to do this?” I asked the owner, a man as strong and street smart as Buddy.

“He taught himself. One day he got on it, and it’s been his thing ever since,” he said.

I looked up and Buddy had hopped off just in time before the skateboard crashed into a tree. It flipped over.

Apparently Buddy knows about trees, too.

“He’s getting good exercise,” I said.

“Yea, I’m hoping it will lengthen his life. His breed doesn’t live long, eight to ten years. Maybe with all the exercise he’ll live to be twelve,” the man said.

Then he added, as if talking more to himself than to me. “I don’t know what I’ll do without him. I like him better than people.”

Calvin says, “Buddy sounds deranged. Skateboarding? That’s like a beagle zip-lining with his nose. I’m also not happy sharing top billing with this creature.”

Grab A Rule And Live

Today I received my car insurance company’s newsletter by email. The headline article read, “Top Five Food Trends”. I laughed.

First of all, why is a car insurance company talking to me about food?

And second, why would I want to try recipes written by car mechanics?

The truth is, it has nothing to do with food at all.

It’s all about marketing.

And everybody’s doing it.

All the popular bloggers are doing it.

How-to gurus are doing it.

Inspirational writers are doing it.

Medical websites are doing it.

Everybody is distilling their articles into formulas for achieving success.

Ten Tips To A Frizz-Free Hair Day

Seven Ideas That Will Revolutionize Your Dog’s Obedience

Twenty-Four Ways To Get Into A Girdle

You get the idea. Everything gets reduced to a list of rules which you then have to do.

And we all know how that ends up.

In the same place your resolution to keep that diet ended up.

So why do we eat this stuff up? (No pun intended.)

It’s because we’re suckers.

We really believe we can do it.

Until we try.

Then we know.

Calvin says, “Beagles don’t need their obedience revolutionized. We’re remarkable already. We’ll do anything for a treat.”