29 06 2010

So I have a horse:

Missie says, "Wake me up and I'll bite you!"

 Yes, she’s beautiful, believe me she knows it…. anyway, to get training for her (which I need since she’s much smarter than I alone) I clean stalls at a local ranch every Monday in trade.

There’s a fine art to cleaning manure. Horses walk, all the time, constantly; they even sleep on their feet. So the poo doesn’t stay in nice easily-scooped little piles (well, not little, exactly); it gets trampled all over heck, and you have to use a rake to get all the pieces, or else spend hours more than necessary.
It was Monday. I raked… I scooped… I defended my wheelbarrow against horses who like to scratch themselves on it and inadvertently tip it over, I dodged bites, I sweated, I raked again. Then (in the middle of a particularly juicy curse aimed at a diabolical pony named, deceptively, Sugar) I looked back and saw the rake’s marks in the dust. They were beautiful. Heatstroke may have had a hand in this, but I swear, the whole ground was just these lovely soft curving lines, like the tracks of a hundred mysterious snakes.
Before Sugar ran off with my shovel, it reminded me of one of those Zen gardens, where monks comb lines into the sand around big boulders.
It was an unexpectedly tranquil moment and I am really glad I didn’t miss it. There were even a few butterflies in my ‘zen’ garden (they are attracted to the salt in the horsie pee). It was the perfect touch. So, lesson: look for the beauty that is left after poo is removed!

Dealing With Jerks: The Comprehensive Guide

24 11 2009

There are 6,799,011, 761 people in the world at the time I write this. If you were stuck in 6.7 billion elevators with them, you’d probably like, or at least be able to tolerate, many of them (this doesn’t apply to suspicious curmudgeons such as myself). Thankfully we don’t have to make the acquaintance of all the people who share our earth; we do run into a whole hell of a lot over the course of a life, though. So what do we do when we meet a jerk?

What’s a jerk, you say? Let me give you a quick bio…

Jerks, more specifically know as Cranialis rectus, are found everywhere, but can be coaxed into letting out their distinctive shrill cries by several methods. Daring to have a different opinion, taking up their precious time in any way, and politely asking them to not shout into their cell phones have all proven successful. They are nearly impossible to intimidate once they have been questioned or crossed, and often refuse to admit guilt to anything. Jerks, of necessity, have evolved an inability to understand that anyone besides themselves is important, and can be recognized by such.

You all know one (probably more) of these people. Maybe it’s the chick at work who refuses to stop eating her daily plate of haggis right next to you, the high school girl who dubs anyone over 120 lbs. “Miss Piggy’, or that guy in front of you at the stop light who won’t go for a minute at a green, and then, upon your horn being beeped, gets out to berate you as the cause of ‘society’s downfall.’ They come in all colors, shapes, sizes,and levels of jerkdom, hell, they’re sometimes even family.

It seems to be my fate to meet them everywhere. I guess I just set them off by refusing to kowtow to their bullying, arrogant, nasty attitudes. I am also cursed with a temper rivaling that of my redheaded aunt after half a bottle of jack. So what do you do if you can’t stand letting them walk all over you?

Well, it’s simple. Standing up to them works wonders. You would be shocked how many otherwise normal people meekly accept absolutely ridiculous abuse from your local jerk. Now I’m not saying to go off on someone who doesn’t deserve this; reserve your words for the most deserving of jerks.

However, these malcontents have to be disciplined with tact, or you can come off as a jerk yourself. Let’s say you are waiting in line at Wal-mart, when the man in front of you starts berating the teller in tones more suitable for an outdoors murder. What did this teller do? The machine isn’t reading his card; clearly, this is 100% her fault and she must be reduced to tears immediately! So you, being the polite Jerk Slayer, say something along the lines of, “Sir, I don’t think she’s in charge of that machine’s maintenence, and if you give her just a moment, she can get deal with your problem, and our ears will thank you, too.” This must be said with a smile and a low, calm tone, but I swear to God, it usually works. Granted, you will get some spluttering, muttered epithets, even an angry, “Mind your business!” but usually a public reprimand of this type does wonders.

So the basic rules to dealing with jerks;

One, don’t lose your cool.

Two, be an example through your cool calm demeanor.

Three, be prepared to get the jerk’s famous #$%!&  spray turned on you.

Four, be confident in your correctness.

So go forth! Don’t be afraid to say something to the jerks you meet! These people think they can get away with their uncouth behavior because no one checks them, so put the kibosh on that rubbish idea! Your friends will thank you, everyone around will thank you, hell, you may even get spontaneous applause (it’s happened to me!) and you’re making the world a better place! Manners are the grease that keeps the hinges between 6.7 billion people spinning and you can be that wonderful, shining example of WD-40!

The Greater Things in Life

3 11 2009

Have you ever had one of those moments when your focus sharpens, a shiver runs up your body, your heart speeds up and the earth shakes? I’m not talking dirty, either, people! I’m talking about running across a certain quote, a movie, a person, a song, a place or a picture that has such a deep and hidden meaning to you and you alone that it becomes somewhat of an obsession, burning up your brain as you try to swallow it all up. Anything that provokes days of convoluted thoughts and inspires new resolutions for your life qualifies.

I am a firm believer that everyone should seek out these kind of moments, because they are what forces us to the highest skies, to plumb the depths of our spirits. For me personally, the days have been weighing down more and more lately; the daily grind is becoming all too tedious and crude, like a gritty old movie. Halloween morning I woke up and I had a rather odd moment in which I realized that I didn’t like the people I was with and that this wasn’t where I wanted to be. At that exact moment, I wanted to be sitting alone on top of a mountain, staring at the blue sky, more than anything in the world. It put me in a very pissy mood, to say the least.

It’s hard to explain, but I hope you all understand the kind of thoughts I’m talking about. I don’t want to call it a revelation or an epiphany, it’s too serious and yet it trivializes the thing. I had that moment, a conscious thought, word for word in my head, “I want a change in my life.” Then I went home and ran across this quote, which I sat and re-read at least ten times before immediately copying it down.

“There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death. They don’t honor their own lives, they piss on their lives. They shit them away. Dumb fuckers. They concentrate too much on fucking, movies, money, family, fucking. Their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them. Their brains are stuffed with cotton. They look ugly, they talk ugly, they walk ugly. Play them the great music of the centuries & they can’t hear it. Most people’s deaths are a sham. There’s nothing left to die.” — Buk. (via Love Letter to the Universe)

It’s an understatement to say this affected me deeply. Sounds silly, yeah yeah, but face it, the very largest portion of what makes us takes place invisibly as neruons fire in the darkness of our skulls. For the past months, I’ve felt like I was walking through quicksand, a weight on my head and a little ball of panic in my stomach. I can’t explain it, but I feel on fire now, electric, confident and creative, unstoppable, a warrior; a Leo for the first time in a long time. Be on the look out for things that will follow you your whole life, don’t let them pass you by. If you spend your days looking for tiny amazements, you’re that much more likely to find them.

Made With Love

14 05 2009


So a good friend of mine is going through some rough family issues right now, and although she’s the type to put a smile on her face at all times, it’s obvious she’s very sad. It’s not her birthday, but two other friends and I snuck away during school today and baked her a cake. It’s not a holiday or special occasion cake, it’s just a cheap box-mix feel-better we-love-ya cake. She was so incredibly happy and touched when we gave it to her, notwithstanding our shameful icing job.

 My point is, sometimes ridiculously cheesy, small or silly things can mean a great deal to a person. If someone in your life is having a difficult time, why not do something to brighten their day?

Things To Do… If You’re Single on Valentine’s Day

14 02 2009

 Go out and buy some of the steamiest lingerie you can find, complete with whatever you love best- wild animal print, sweet ruffles and lace, or some saucy vinyl pieces. Wear it, and your smile will have a little extra.

 Dress up for the occasion. Paint a glittery pink heart on your cheek, wear fluttery false lashes, slip into your favorite jeans.

 Paint your tips and toes heart-stopping candy-apple red. (I did this today!) Flash them at everyone you see.

 Call someone near and dear to your heart, mother/sister/best friend, and tell them how much they mean to you.

 Spend the day doing something just for you. Begin a quilt, go to the zoo, ride up and down the mall escalators, paint something lovely. Anything that makes you happy, do it with gusto.

 Finish your fantastic day with a luxurious bubble bath and your favorite foods.  Being single only means that you haven’t met the love of your life yet, and therefore have more opportunity to flirt shamelessly with any and all who cross your path!

Nerd tidbit: Wearing red makes men automatically think you’re more attractive. Hmmm…

The Perfect Day

31 01 2009

Imagination is a wonderful thing and should be used with relish every day. Here are the rules; anything is possible. Defy gravity and physics. Don’t be afraid to spoil yourself madly. As long as you feel happier, more hopeful and more relaxed after coming out of a daydream, you’re doing it right!

My perfect day goes something like this. I wake up from my silk-sheeted bed and throw open the doors to my closet, which has its own zipcode. After running gleefully through a field of blossoming cherry trees and four-leaf clovers with a chocolate-banana smoothie in my hands, I go for a ride on my beautiful horse Missie, who has somehow sprouted wings! Then it’s off to a hidden lagoon all my own where the water is blue and warm, and jeweled parrots sing in the trees.

I recommend a fantasy every day to keep the doctor away. It keeps your creative side oiled up and keeps stress away. Incidentally, if you’re like me and quote sleep as one of your top-ten ways to spend an hour, investigate lucid dreaming. I’ve managed to do this a time or two and it’s incredibly liberating.

Flaunt your fantasy side! I Brake For Unicorns

Playing Miss Manners…

7 11 2008

After a scant 16 years on this earth, I’ve come to the dismal conclusion that there are just not enough manners to go around. Admittedly, I have been part of the problem on occasion, though I struggle daily with my natural insensitivity. That’s my cross to bear. But now I call for a return of the daily courtesies that make life run smoothly and everyone feeling the love!

Shouldn’t you shake hands or at least smile and look pleased when meeting someone new, rather than grunting/shrugging/lifting a brow? And does it really kill you to chew with your mouth closed- does your food need air? When driving with people in your car, please refrain from screaming around corners at eye-watering speeds. Say please, thank you, and I appreciate you. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment, you may very well be taken aback.

That’s my resolution for the next month; work on my manners and my friendliness. Brightening someone else’s day always brightens mine too.