The Trouble With Thinking

I thought by now I’d be better, stronger, faster

Better equipped and agile to handle the blows More knowledgeable and smarter to navigate my woes 

I thought by now I’d be lighter, softer, able to flow

At ease with just being and with a mind that is a no show 

I thought by now I’d come to terms with where I am and how I am 

But instead I am here thinking what I thought is not what I think, turns out it’s just what I think I thought. 

I thought I’d be better. I thought I’d be more. 

A Woman and A Sailboat (A Not So Long Story)-Part 2

Madison spent days avoiding the ocean and nights avoiding her own thoughts. She couldn’t forget her encounter with him, but began to think that perhaps there hadn’t been an encounter at all. Maybe she had felt something that wasn’t there to feel or seen something that wasn’t there to see. It was that feeling of doubt that eventually led her back out on to the balcony. There he was. Not on the beach, not clearly there, but close enough that if she waded out and threw a line she could reach him, maybe.

She grabbed a line, ran outside and was nearly in over her waist when she threw the line, but not far enough. He took her bait and inched ever so slightly closer. When she threw the line a second time it latched to a hole in the deck. Slow and steady she reeled him in, never taking her eyes off him. When he was just out of arms reach she began to back up and he began to move towards her on his on until he was completely beached in the sand next to her. There they sat, seeing one another and seeing themselves.

When Madison rose to her feet there would be no turning back. She approached him, close enough to smell the flavors on his hull and hear the whisper of his torn sails.  She reached out to touch him and the world stood still as he leaned in to meet her hand. She  knew every inch of him before he took her aboard, wrapped her in his shredded sails and discovered her. He was gentle and intentional with the way he moved and the way he moved her. Night would come and they’d lay quietly listening to the music played by the now peaceful waters until morning birds brought lyrics.

Madison walked the badly battered deck that had somehow seemed flawless the night before.  Stopping to notice a small heart-shaped carving in the wood that encircled “Captain + Sailboat”, the breath inside her seemed lost. She kneeled and ran her fingers over the carving and he softly moaned. “Quiet now boat”, she said to him tenderly. Not sure if she was quieting his fears or her own she disembarked and began to walk back to the condo, turning back once to see him still there now looking how she felt inside, but wouldn’t dare say.

 

A Woman and A Sailboat (A Not So Long Story)-Part 1

She watched the storm swirling offshore from the balcony of her oceanfront condo. The smell of the churning water engulfed her senses as she sat in awe of the power of the waves. For days she enjoyed the view of gloomy skies, fast-moving clouds and the lack of people who normally clogged the beaches. Madison would occasionally tune into the news and hear about locals up shore a few miles having just gotten their boats off the water or secured in the harbor before being harmed by the angry waters. News anchors told sad tales of swells coming ashore and surfers taking on too much despite the red flag warnings. She would listen for a few minutes, switch it off and return to her covered balcony and enjoy the calm that the view brought her.

The day he arrived, the storm had been violent throughout the night and only subsided as the morning hours quieted the tears that fell from the sky. The sun never appeared, but Madison did on the balcony unsure of what she was seeing half on the shore. As she pulled on a long flowing skirt over her bikini bottoms, she knew the danger she was preparing to approach. No one was on the beach, no one would hear screams for help over the roars of wind and waves, and yet she slipped on her shoes.

As she approached him with confident caution she was captivated, curious even. He was wrecked, beaten by more than this storm. His once massive sail now ripped to shreds and pieces of his hull were split, broken or missing completely. He was an older sailboat, but still she could tell he’d seen better days. She paid close attention to the way he moved, half stuck in the sand and half in the water, as if stuck between two worlds. She watched his efforts to break free of the sand that held him back for what seemed like the longest of battles, until he’d go still in a slump of defeat. She’d watched this cycle maybe four or five times and just as she realized she had settled way too comfortably into the sand to watch him the waves roared up and there was no time to run. In a moment she imagined being lost at sea and that being her fate.

When the first wave hit, she steadied herself against him and though soaked she didn’t float away. His boards that she had pushed her feet into gave way. As the second wave rose up she layed back onto the sand and closed her eyes. She heard the wave crash, but felt no impact, the water retreated and she opened one eye, then the other. He had sheltered her, leaned in, over and taken the impact of the wave. The water retreated and she sat looking at him as he righted himself again in the sand. Still battered and beaten he somehow now appealed to her as regal and she saw some glimmer of hope in him even if not on him. She watched him for a long time that day, waiting for him to do something, but nothing happened. Eventually it turned cold and as she turned away to go inside she mumbled under her breath, “Stupid boat” and just then his mast snapped and crashed into the deck of the boat. She ran to find sanctuary in the condo.

She didn’t sleep that night, wondering if he was still there, too stubborn to look out the window to see. She wondered if she could help him? If he needed her help and if he belonged to someone. Of course he belonged to someone, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t help him. Why was she drawn to him? Surely he didn’t need her or want her, he was there because that’s where he landed.  The thoughts swirled in her head until she finally slipped away to dream of things she wouldn’t remember. He was certainly her last thought that night and her first thought when she awoke.

That morning she never looked out the window and wouldn’t dare venture on to the balcony she had come to love. She couldn’t risk  him seeing her seeing him. She waited for what felt like forever before finally venturing down to the spot on the beach where she had found him the day before. She strolled casually not wanting to seem excited or like she was searching for him. He was gone. She must have looked panicked as she frantically searched  the shoreline, looking back and forth to reference points, trees, the balcony, rocks, until something out in the water caught her eye. The water was calmer today and the wind quiet. She could see clearly for miles out from the shore and caught a glimpse of the snapped mast she’d heard crash behind her yesterday. It was him. Leaving?

Madison stood at the edge of  the water not sure what to do. Convinced  at one point that he was standing still in the water. As a strong swimmer she thought she could  swim to him, climb aboard, but then what would she do. She’d need a better plan than that. Not sure if he was coming or going, or sitting still, she eventually retreated to the balcony.

 

Beauty and the Beast

I’ve  loved the story of  Beauty and the Beast for as long as I can remember. I am a fairytale girl at heart, always wishing for romance and heroes to save the day. Most importantly the lesson of kindness prevailing all things. So it was no surprise I was most delighted by the 2017 remake of this classic movie and couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen. I was just as tickled to see all the pictures of little girls dressed up as Belle with their daddies, so innocent and naïve to the world around them. I’ve always loved the Beast and oh how my heart aches for him through out the story.

So I sat there with my candy and popcorn, just as happy as could be. Blocked out the world outside the theater and settled in for what I knew would be amazing. I sang every song without a care in the world and yes, it was my shower singing voice, but who really cared. It was phenomenal. But then……..

Beast is hurt, it’s near the end of the movie. It’s not like you don’t know how the story goes. He’s laying there dying, well dead really. Belle has just come back, of course she came back she loves him. Then it happened, the whole damn movie ruined!!!! She turns in to Rose from the damn Titanic! Yes, another great movie that I love, but this ruined it for me.

Beast is dead, presumably, Belle is leaning over him and says (in her Titanic Rose voice) “Come back, come back….”, I CAN’T STAND IT!!!!! Just as Rose says to Jack as he floats off into the water as she clings onto the piece of wood or whatever. Movie ruined…think I’m kidding, wait till it comes out on DVD and watch it again.

My Kid Is A Beast

Parents are the worst part of youth sports!

Ask any coach, official, organizer, and this mom and we will tell you without hesitation that parents every season take the joy right out it. One of my kids is naturally athletic and always has been. He’s built like a tank and of all the things in life, the one thing that he seems to understand very well is winning and being the best on the field. Football is life for this kid.

Now let me just say, when you are a mother of boys and as sensitive to other people as I am, you do your damnedest to raise them to be kind and gentle. Our sports motto is ‘knock’em down, pick’em up’ and you will hear me scream it from the sidelines any given Saturday. Yet it never fails, every season there’s at least one parent, one coach, one somebody who likes to take my kindness for weakness and test the mamma bear with in me and see how protective she will be.

One season it was a mom on our own team who insisted that my child shouldn’t be allowed to play because he was “too aggressive”. She made this claim as my kid ran for a  touchdown and a kid from the other team fell behind him and busted his lip  on the back of his shoe. No, it wasn’t good enough that my kid went back after scoring the touchdown when he realized someone was hurt, not knowing he was even involved, to make sure he was okay. Admittedly I did not hold my tongue well this day and screamed expletives about not putting female reproductive parts on the field to play a competitive sport and that we shouldn’t allow male reproductive parts on the sidelines to provide the inaccurate play by play. Not my finest moment of adulating.

We took the next season off, mamma needed a break. So we’re back and in full swing of football season and now it’s a coach of another team. This guy is one of those dads that coaches his kid in every recreational sport and is super competitive, so to say we’ve seen him around is an understatement. Fast forward to a few weekends ago and we are playing his team. Our team has possession, we make a play for the extra point and my kid and one of their kids collide.  One referee calls it good, the other throws a flag, and the coach goes wild. He screams and yells from the sideline as the referees approach one another, and the coach tells them that they cannot consult one another about the play. I begin to wonder if this guy has ever watched football. The referees yell back at him and declare that the play is good. Mamma bear’s antennas have been activated.

Later in the same game a kid on their team  has  the ball and starts to run up the field, my kid goes on the attack, the other kid crouches as he approaches, my kid goes low to grab his flag, they collide, the flag is pulled and both  kids roll to the ground.  My kid springs to his feet, the other kids flops around on the ground and the other coach runs on to the field and is now screaming about “that kid”. The officials have already deemed the play good, explained that the kids had a run in, this happens in football, but the coach is now having what can only be compared to a toddler temper tantrum in the middle of the field. As he scooped up what  I found out  later was his son, he continued  to scream that something needed to be done about “that kid” because  it’s “always that kid and now other kids are getting hurt”.

We won the game  and ran  out on to the field to hug and congratulate our star player, “that kid” and  exchanged glares with the other coach to make sure he knew the mamma bear “that kid” belongs  to.  The next week at practice our coach advised that he’d heard  the other coach was going to  write a letter to  complain about “that  kid”. So I’m writing one too….

Dear Youth Sports Recreation Department,

That Kid, My Kid…..IS A BEAST!

Thanks,

Mamma Bear

This Terrifies Me

On what planet do we pull guns on children? This planet.  Who in their right mind saw these kids as a threat? These officers. I’ve watched this clip a few times now and read subsequent articles about the incident and my heart aches. It could be my child or ones I know. I don’t understand how as adults the officers involved didn’t see another way. Are we so scared as people that all innocence is lost? How do we expect our children to grow up to respect and trust authority that has never trusted or respected them? 

Was There A Stroke

I don’t remember how long ago or the exact day when I started to notice it in pictures, I think it was a selfie the first time. My left eye was never quite open as much as my right. Sometimes it almost seemed droopy, but most of the time just smaller, like the lid didn’t open as much. Some time later, I began noticing what I had convinced myself was the problem with every pair of sunglasses I owned. They were crooked! Had to be! I put them on face and they were noticeablely angled, I bought cheap sunglasses, expensive sunglasses and so many in between, but still they were crooked. I finally decided it was my ears. Of course it was my ears, they must sit at slightly different levels on the sides of my head. WRONG! It was then that I convinced myself that somewhere along the way of many years of having my eyebrows waxed that somehow they’d become done in a way that left one noticeably higher than the other. Wrong again. Something happened at some point that has caused the left side of my face to droop, sag….whatever you want to call it. The muscles in that side of my face are weak. 

Sometime last year I did a taped interview, basically answering some questions on a video recording. Nothing difficult or thought provoking, just your typical ‘give us an example of a time when you blah blah blah’. I followed the instructions, answered the 5 questions and then played it back to make sure I was happy with the clip before submission. The first three questions were pretty uneventful other than the typical dislike of hearing ones own voice and thinking gah does my hair really look like that. Then my response to question 4 began. In the middle of my answer, I began to studder and lean to the left, after a few seconds a long pause and a blank look, I continued. It’s important to add here that I don’t have a studder and I don’t recall this happening while I was doing the recording. 

On two very separate occasions there’s been a strange delay between my brain and the function of my left hand. The first was while chopping parsley. You should know I am right handed, so my left hand should have merely held the parsley and slid back as the knife chopped. However, the signal to my hand was delayed and what ended up happening instead was panic when my hand didn’t slide back and then an overreaction. In a single movement that I didn’t have control over my hand snatched the parsley and threw it across the kitchen. Go ahead and laugh….it’s kind of funny. Fast forward now to a few months later and the next occasion this delay happened. I’m driving on a two lane road, soft shoulder on my right, on coming traffic on my left. Right hand fidgeting with the radio, left hand hooked in the steering wheel to make the slight right over the upcoming bridge. Delay to hand to make turn occurs, panic sets in, cue overreaction and in one single movement that I didn’t have control over and my hand yanks down firmly on the steering wheel.