Thursday, July 26, 2012

paints and crayons

I don't think my paints appreciate my waiting.  What can I expect?  They are paints.  The intelligent pink has taught me black from white.  It's a no-nonsense, cooler kind of pink that stimulates creativity.

The pink is somewhat dominated by the navy blue.  It's a very, very particular blue that has a tendency to explode over thin papers.  But it's actually a warm and generous shade.  My recent painting rendered with navy blue has shown me its toxicity, though.  Unless it lightens, it may be in my best interests to keep navy blue at arm's length.  I feel too much pressure to measure up when it comes to that color.

I have simmering crayons, too.  When they become downtrodden or despondent, my paints become disinterested and absorbed into the shelf.  Or they crystallize and that's not helpful.  I'm especially concerned about my smallest crayon, the one that doesn't work and has been more neglected than the rest.

I call my paints, but they don't call me and distance grows.  And when I need them the most, they drip away.  I wish to be more involved with them, but it's difficult.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

pillow talk

I don't think having more than one pillow is a great idea.  Any extra ones invariably get tossed onto the floor, left to wallow in clumps of cat fur on the carpet the whole night while the one chosen pillow gets all the attention, basking in the glory of shampooed hair, rosy cheeks, and saliva of the most excellent kind.

But, one may say, you can have two and stack them.  I still think no 'cause then the bottom one doesn't get enough air, not to mention the possibility of a crick in your neck the next morning.

Then there are those who collect and hoard pillows.  No doubt it's because they formed a habit of it in their teenage years.  I say it's a misplaced investment, especially problematic in a marriage.  Before he/she even realizes it, he's rolling in pillows as if he's won the lottery entirely by his own efforts and his spouse is without any head support, and that contributes to an overall miserable sleeping atmosphere.  In no time, his/her spouse will be fantasizing about a couch cushion which is better left outside the bedroom.

If two people, each with a single pillow, can push them together to form one long pillow unified by the Bed... well, that will make for optimal resting conditions.  Or hanky panky, as a matter of course.

Loving Life: part 3

Monday, July 16, 2012

blither blather and the plant

“Excuse me,” a teenage girl said, as she approached me on the promenade at Morph Beach.  She nestled a young potted plant against her chest in a way that made her elbow jut out fiercely like a white, razor sharp rock emerging from a mysterious cliff face.

I stopped strolling and gazed at her.

“Can you show me how to get to—“ She bent down and pulled a folded, wrinkly piece of paper out of her shoe.  “—Pellucid Lane?”

“I’m hoping to find that one myself,” I said.  “You can tag along.”


The flowerless plant’s narrow leaves were folded inward and they brushed gently against her dress as we walked.  She smiled tensely.

“I'm Lorraine Herdsman,” I said.

She looked down at her feet.  “I’m Cadence.  Cadence Linnaeus.”

“Tell me about that plant,” I said.

“It’s called a mimosa pudica,” she said, “My father gave it to me.  I don’t know why I carry it around.  I just do.”

My curiosity was piqued.  “Don’t you get tired of carrying it?”

“Maybe.”  Her legs buckled, then, and she crumpled to the ground as if merely suggesting weariness could make it so.  Then she began to cry, still holding her droopy plant.  I sat down beside her as people veered around us.

“You’re a beautiful person,” I said.

She sniffed and offered a half smile.  “You don’t even know me.”

“No, but I see you and I’m listening to you and it’s true that you are beautiful.”

“Alright,” she said.  Her tears slowed and she lifted the plant closer to her eyes.  The leaves had spread open and I observed her as she examined its sparse, mean-looking prickles.

Then I noticed my friend, Sidney, walking towards us from the beach carrying his briefcase.  He always carried his briefcase.  When we made eye contact he lifted his hat in salute.  Cadence didn’t notice.

“You know,” she said, after a moment of silence.  “There’s something about waiting that’s easier than actually—“

“Hello!  Hello!” Sidney interrupted.  He was only a few feet away now.  “English!  I like English!  Yes!  But German?  No, no, no.”

I laughed and stood up.

Just then he dropped his briefcase and it popped open.  The wind blew his papers all over the place, all at once.  Several of them blew into Cadence, who slowly gathered them into a pile with one hand and held them.  The mimosa pudica folded inward again.

I pointed.  “Now look, the leaves are—“

“I love making friends!” Sidney exclaimed and lifted his hat in salute.

Cadence was gobsmacked.  “Are you talking to—“

“I’ve much to offer you about rowing and dignity, misunderstandings, fences and faces.  Not to mention Kim’s fabric and all the—Hey now!  Why haven’t you interrupted me yet?  You’re as bad as my wife!”

Cadence looked up at him with a weary sort of look.

I laughed.  Then I pointed to his briefcase.  “Your papers—“

“As my friend, Bart, likes to say… Patience!  And Passion!”

Cadence stood up rather weakly and said, “Um.. yeah, passion.  Alright.  I want someone to take this plant away from me.  But my father’s will—“

“It’s okay!” said Sidney.  “Everything’s okay!”

“Opinions, opinions,” I said.  “The world is full of opinions.”

Cadence began to walk.  “I would like to have an opinion.  A truthful one.  Where was it I wanted to go again?  Oh yeah, Pellucid Lane.”

“We’re at least facing in the right direction,” I said.  “But that’s only my opinion.”


Sunday, July 15, 2012

regarding homosexuals

Matthew Vines offers a thorough exploration of Christianity and homosexuality.  Worth the watch, even if you have to pause it occasionally to rest your brain.  He's a smart guy. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

in neighborly circumstances

On Tuesday I hung laundry on a wooden drying rack in the backyard.  The neighbors behind us, originally from East India, have a squeaky swing set.  I listened to it as I felt the damp material of a towel between my fingers.  The neighbors spoke to each other in Punjabi.  The grandmother, the mother, and the children seemed to chatter all at once and I imagined a symphony of staccatos, high notes rushing along—stopping, starting, jumping—each distinctively contributing to an overall impression of urgency.

A high, dark brown fence separates us.  It was there when we moved in.  Sometimes we defy its existence by conversing with the children who speak both languages.  Our daughter, Tamara, stands at the top of the play fort so she can see them.  I wonder what kind of a relationship we would have with them if the fence weren't there.

Later in the afternoon, drawn out by the sun, we met the neighbors from the basement suite across the street—a single, stay-at-home mother and her five-year-old daughter.  Thankfully, we're not separated by a fence.  We exchanged pleasantries and when they left to quickly fetch something, an orange monarch butterfly silently and majestically flapped into view.  Immediately, joy welled up within me and I said, "Tamara, look!"  We watched it flit and glide into the distance and when the mother with her child returned, I said it would be great to hang out and let our children play together.  Her daughter ended up staying at our place for dinner and I'm glad Tamara has a new playmate.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Loving Life: an introduction

Why I choose photography for my new hobby: 

1. Sometimes I communicate through a picture what I struggle to express in words.

2. I hope that by sharing my pictures, you'll be reminded of what is beautiful and worth celebrating in your own life.

3. It's a way to take care of myself.  In recent years, I've not loved myself very well and that needs to change.  When I take a self-portrait it's with the purpose of remembering I've been created miraculously and that my existence has importance.

4. It gives you a glimpse of my journey(s).  I think we all have a need to communicate our sufferings and joys with others and my favorite way is through this blog.  Photography is only one aspect of it.

5. Nobody sees life exactly the way I do, so I hope it gives you an idea of my unique perspective.

6. It helps keep the blues away.  I'm prone to depression, so a hobby that encourages me to leave the house is very important.

7. Lastly, it's a way for me to be passionate about the world and be thankful for my surroundings. 

Tea at Ruth's house

Sunday, July 1, 2012


When I walk into a pristine church, it doesn't feel real.  I suppose by some people's standards a building like that is a first-rate place to hear a sermon.  The pews are comfy enough, people appear well-bred and refined in their wrinkle-free clothing, the unadorned walls don't offer distraction, the music is simple and focused.  Everything's orderly.  But, you know, after a few consecutive visits in such a church I feel more and more uneasy in a vague sort of way.  I think that's because the place is too clean, making the atmosphere unnaturally stiff.

In contrast, I've experienced other churches of various denominations in which the walls are decked out with banners or paintings, people quietly chatter and maybe engage in spontaneous prayer or lift their hands during worship.  Sometimes there are chairs instead of pews or else cobwebs lie in corners or rainwater drips from tiny leaks in the roof.  After attending a few Sundays, I'm relaxed in the sense that I can just simply beAt a church like that I can arrive, broken as I am, to come alongside other people who also acknowledge their brokenness.

But faith is not a church building.  It's a gift.