Poem #1

To follow up yesterday’s post, here is the first poem I came across in that old email. Remember, this poem came from 16 or 17 year old Chanel back when I took poetry writing in school; one of many fundamental writing courses I took. But here I am, sharing all those poems that I didn’t think existed anymore until I logged into an old email that surprisingly still exists. I’ll share some of the notes I took on my thought processes if they’re there but if not I’ll probably make up my own narrative.

According to my notes this poem has no title and I made it based off a random word bank the teacher gave us that required us to use some of the words to create something and this is what I came up with:

 

Your voice radiates marble words
to my softly spoken ones
Me in my whiteflowing gossamer gown
you in your dark black suit
We are standing facing each other
in a room of silver
spinning in our delicious garden of passion
Living the kiss of emerald
in the wide, wide embrace
again and again
now and forever
until the moment disintegrates
and blackness engulfs us together.

No Title Because I Don’t Know What To Call It

You ever have those posts where you can’t just think of a title because you’re not sure where you’re going in your writing yet? Even by the end of this I don’t think it’ll have a title. This is kind of a random rant; fair warning.

I want to start by saying I’m not a religious person. I didn’t grow up with it and never really had a desire to delve into that world. I don’t judge others on their beliefs as long as they don’t judge me on having no beliefs. On Friday I got to witness one of my very best friends on this planet marry his long time boyfriend. I remember years back when he would say if gay marriage was ever legal in Ohio he would marry within two months of it happening. So last year when it actually became reality you can imagine how we all felt. He didn’t stick to the within two months but that’s okay because it did happen. This wedding was the most last minute, thrown together wedding I’ve ever seen but it was bursting with love! I mean, it’s indescribable really but it made me feel some kind of way.

I always think about what I can have. What I mean is, you know how you look at other people’s lives and compare it to yours and always point out something you’re missing or maybe something you want? I used to have those moments. Back when I worked 3 jobs, 65 hours a week, always feeling as if I never had enough money and would always push and try harder to climb that ladder and be other people with their extravagant lives. It was always about the money you know? Money would buy more things and better my life and make me happy even though I’d had my long time boyfriend (now husband) who worked just as hard.

I look back now and just marvel at how silly I was being. I look back and see how I was measuring my happiness against how other people lived their lives. Was I striving for them or for me?

Slowly I began to stop caring. There are always going to be people in your life who judge you for whatever the hell they feel like judging you for. But then you look and you see those friends, those family members who don’t care about your 1998 loud ass car as long as the car gets you to the bookstore so you can spend all your money where it counts. The friends who don’t care that your house is a mess because it looks lived in and that’s all that matters. Those friends who don’t care that you’re broke most of the time because we can throw stuff together in the kitchen and watch YouTube videos all day. The husband who doesn’t care about your wild hair and unshaven legs when you’re lazy because he thinks you’re beautiful no matter what.

Then you really open your eyes and begin to see that you’ve been happy the whole damn time. And you go to the wedding that was thrown together last minute and share the joy of everlasting love in the chaos. You realize you’ve been there since day one and seen the good the bad and the ugly and throughout it all cheered your friends on and will continue to do so forever. That they recognized this in you and is the reason they selected you to experience their special day and the many days to come.

I don’t need to be money wealthy. Money is nice, don’t get me wrong, but it can never buy the connections that truly matter in this world. And for that, I am most grateful.

Now I’m going to go eat cake for breakfast. Have a Happy Sunday. 🙂

What’s in Our Yard?

So my husband and I bought our first house last September. Then, it was cold and snowy so besides the oak trees and the bazillion leaves that fell from them, we had no idea what the grass looked like underneath. Now, it’s spring and it’s been raining a lot with random bouts of snow and sunshine and we’re starting to see greenery pop up in the yard. Because of the trees, most of our yard is covered in moss. The previous owners also put down so much mulch that last month I dug out a lot of it so that our foundation could breathe. I also ripped out a lot of plants that were just in my way and looked like weeds. I know nothing about flowers. I can point out a tulip, daffodil and a gerber daisy and that’s the extent of my flower knowledge. I don’t know shrubbery or ground cover either but I’m taking great joy in these little surprises that have been popping up all over the yard. Now I just need an expert to tell me if these are keepers or not! Regardless, I’m really glad I got the photo opportunity even through this cloudy day. My cellphone photography skills are really getting good!

Easter

I had yesterday and today off work. (By that I mean I’ve really been working remotely – answering a myriad of questions and complaints.) Over the course of the past two days I’ve deemed to NOT have any extra help around our home to prepare for Easter. We have both sides of the family joining us plus an extra four paws. Here, it means the sheets all need changed, couches need vacuumed, the floors need swept, mopped, and reswept and remopped, the dogs need walked, brushed, bathed, and re-walked, the meals need to be planned and the kitchen needs to be kept up with. Oh, not to mention that Spring has sprung in a matter of two days here in Cleveland.

In an effort to work as hard (or try to work as hard) as my right hand man, I made a list. (Basically the list I already wrote plus a few extra things like going to the grocery and working out.) As I begin checking off each item on my list I keep thinking “this would be a real project with a child or two”. Bless all of you who work so hard to keep a clean house and somehow manage to have children, too! I don’t know how my mom did it with four of us!

I try not to get super stressed about things. Holidays are meant to be fun and relaxing. I’ll admit, I’m still in my pajamas, I have sweat dripping down my back, and I’m on my fourth cup of coffee. However, I did make time to read and watch an episode of my current show. (It’s the little things in life!) I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor. A clean house, little to no dog hair on the floor (for the time being), the windows open, and every bed having fresh sheets for our guests. I can definitely see how people get overwhelmed. Especially, when juggling children, practices, social schedules, and whatever else is on their plate.

This year, I work Saturday until about 5:30 or 6:00 PM and will then come home to a house full of my favorite people. How lucky am I?! That’s what I kept telling myself as I was scrubbing the floors on my hands and knees today. Ha! No, in all honesty, I am really looking forward to having everyone together. Whether we color eggs, or play backyard football, I’m sure it’ll be a riot.

I did grow up nondenimational Christian and I have firm beliefs. One of those beliefs is to love unconditionally. That’s really what Easter means to me. Love your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, coaches, leaders, whoever, love them completely and the best that you can. Now more than ever.

Cherries!!

Some flowering trees were pointed out to me at work today and here I am thinking all flowering trees are created equal, especially in Ohio. Imagine my surprise to find out that it’s not a regular flower tree, i.e. it just has flowers, it’s actually a fruit tree; specifically cherries! I’ve seen fruit trees before, usually at a distance but never up close. I’m very excited to see the fruit once it appears and if the birds and squirrels decide to share the wealth, maybe taste some natural cherry goodness 🙂

Compliments of my cellphone: Google Nexus 6P.

Synonymous

Have you ever looked up the synonyms of a word before? There are so many different ways to convey the one meaning using a variety of words.

Today’s daily prompt word is: unravel.

I must admit before I even googled synonyms my first thought was orgasm. I’m sorry but that is the most positive way to unwind which is synonymous to unravel. But then you have the negative connotations such as when you feel your world is falling apart or you’re failing or you’re picking at that loose strand on your shirt and you ruin it because the whole thing unwinds into nothingness so now you have to buy a new shirt. Or me picking at this hangnail even though I know it’s going to unravel into an ugly, bloody mess. Even still you have the investigative meaning; I’m trying to figure out what show I should binge watch next. Too many choices Netflix!

One of the synonyms is twisted or knotted. Then you have the antonym listed as braid or plait. I feel like those are still synonyms and not antonyms. Isn’t a braid a smooth knot?

You can be knotted, failing and puzzled only to turn around and be ironed out, resolved and illuminated all in the same word.

The English language is so complicated.

BlindFold Me

I’ve been on a contemporary romance binge read lately. The series in particular I’ve been devouring is called the I-Team series by Pamela Clare. The “I” stands for investigative reporter team; or at least that’s what I think it stands for. The premise of these stories is you have heroine who is a member of this team who, in one way or another, gets involved in serious political drama from basic research on a story. For example, in one of the stories, the heroine is Navajo American and she reports on environmental issues and the happenings on the Native American reservation. During a religious ceremony where they are purifying themselves for one reason or another, police interrupt them and cite them with violating land laws set by the city. Later we learn its a cover up for nefarious, unlawful digging of important Indian artifacts as well as a burial site for murders. Then the bad guy ends up trying to pin it on the reporter and when that doesn’t work, proceeds to try to have her murdered.

Now, you can’t have a heroine without the hero. Well, you could, depending on the book but this is romance so there has to be a hero. The hero in these stories is usually someone who is either involved with the investigation somehow or stumbles upon the heroine in a time when she needs help. In the case of the story above, the hero is a park ranger who has a love for the environment and has been helping to protect it and keeping the peace with the Native Americans. The author used to be an investigative reporter in real life so a lot of the technical and political jargon she includes in her stories have a kernel of truth to them. In her acknowledgements section, she lists people she thanked for helping her get the information correct like park rangers, U.S. marshals, nurses, etc. It’s pretty neat.

So now you have your investigative reporter heroine with her park ranger hero and circumstances bring two strangers together in a dangerous setting. He takes it upon himself to be her protector and she allows it. Then in like a week or two the woman realizes she loves the man, the man doesn’t want long term commitment but at the same time can’t stay away from her while they’re both being hunted by murderers. That’s a big dose of adrenaline thrown in the mix and they can’t help but fall madly in love with each other right? I love these stories even though I find it hard to believe in instant love. Like how does one stranger blindly trust another stranger with her entire life in one moment? I mean he’s a park ranger, or in the other stories, he’s a senator or an ex-con or undercover federal agent so they have tons of combat and survival training and they’re all males who need love in their life so I guess it’s only natural for the heroine to take on the damsel role (not necessarily in complete distress) and it definitely makes for some juicy reading.

Sometimes you get a surprise and it’s the man who knows before the woman but most of the time women know first. You know now that I think about it, my own relationship wasn’t instant love but he definitely knew long before I did. I didn’t have murderers after me, thank goodness, but when you hear that phrase “love is blind” I wonder if it should actually say “love is seeing” because most of the time one knows and just has to convince the other that they know too.

Healer Class

Have you ever played an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game)?

These group event strategy games always consist of a group of key players when fighting a battle. First you need a tank. A tank has the most HP (hit points) in your party. This means they can take the brunt of the damage being thrown your party’s way. A tank is usually a paladin or a ninja or some other defensive class depending on the game. They have shields or, in the case of the ninja, ninjitsu, that make them hardier to taking damage.  Next, you need DDs. DDs are damage dealers. These are your samurais, archers, monks and warriors. All they do is deal damage (punch, kick, slice, etc) and create combos with one another to deal as much damage as possible.

Now you need your DOTs. These are your damage over time dealers. They usually consist of sorcerers, summoners and puppeteers. Sorcerers deal magic damage using the elements such as fire, ice, wind, earth and lightning damage. They can also cast spells like Poison or Slow that slowly deal damage over time as long as it continues to be cast when it wears off. Summoners and puppeteers can bring out avatars to deal damage with the DDs while they can stand back and stay safe.

Finally you have your healer. This is the most important job. The party cannot function without a healer. The healer is usually your white mage or conjurer and their job is to keep everyone alive. The healer casts protection buffs on the party such as Protect, Shell, and Stoneskin. The healer is responsible for keeping their MP (mana points) up at all times. The healer is responsible for keeping ReRaise on themselves because if they die they have to be able to get back up as quickly as possible and keep healing. They are even responsible for raising party members at the right moments while keeping the rest alive. The healer is the ultimate multitasker and vital to the success of an event. If your healer dies (without proper backup spells in place), you lose.

I hope you enjoyed my random nerd moment. Compliments of my many Final Fantasy XI years. I’d make a terrible healer in real life but I always look back fondly on those years and think to myself that maybe one day I can get back into that wonderful fantasy world again. 🙂

Outliers; Outlander

You ever have that moment where you can’t decide if you want to write about one thing or something else? That’s me, right now. So instead of picking one, I’m going to write about both and I apologize in advance if it’s too messy for you to follow along,

The daily prompt word today is outlier. An outlier is a person or thing situated or detached from the main body or system.

Now I’m reading this and thinking to myself that aren’t we all outliers in some form or fashion? I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase “take a walk in someone else’s shoes” which is usually in regard to someone saying something completely ignorant about a topic in conversation. In the nicest way possible I say this, the phrase is dumb. I mean that in a sense that you never really can walk in someone else’s shoes. We try to understand a situation from someone else’s perspective and then compare it to our own and automatically find some fault in why that person is wrong. Like deep down there’s no way that there is not a simple answer or solution to this situation. Asking ourselves why can’t this person see that? Why don’t they understand me? Am I the outlier today or you? Then it just comes down to changing the subject to more neutral ground or silence and pretend neither body said any of what they just said. Agree to disagree right? What else can you do? I have my reasons why you’ll never know what my shoes feel like just like I will never know what your shoes feel like. And maybe that’s for the best? Who knows.

Let’s talk about Outlander (see what I did there?).

Seriously though. Have you SEEN this show??? I watched it when it first aired and then for one reason or another it got put on the back burner. Around that time I had read the first and second book as well. Then I gave up after that because that second book dragged forever. It was good, but it dragged. I think there’s 9 books in the series? I can’t remember. Here’s my general synopsis of this show. It’s the year 1945ish and you have a woman, Claire, who is newlywed to a man, Frank and they’re starting their new life together. I should mention here that this airs on Starz so if you are not a fan of nudity and some graphic content, this isn’t the show for you. Anyway, Claire and Frank are those really happy couple, living in their new house, having lots of sex and just generally being happily married. Frank decides to look into his history and comes across records of Red Coat ancestor. He’s quite intrigued and decides to dig a little deeper and all these nuggets of information he stumbles upon along the way he shares with Claire. One day they go to visit a site where an important battle took place. The name of the battle escapes at the moment but his ancestor was said to be at this battle. At the site there are these stones that really don’t represent anyway but Claire gets drawn to one of them and the minute she touches one she gets transported back in time 200 years! She’s super confused and starts walking in a certain direction and encounters the very ancestor that Frank was discussing in the future, Black Jack Randall. Naturally, they’re spitting images of each other and Claire mistakes Black Jack for Frank. Well Black Jack is NOTHING like Frank. He’s actually a very cruel man. Enter Jamie Fraser who saves her from basically being brutalized by Black Jack because she’s English and they’re in Scotland and England and Scotland didn’t get along well at that time. Jamie ends up taking a huge liking to Claire and decides he wants this “sassenach”. That’s basically the derogatory term for the English but he turns it sexy. (He’s so gorgeous with his accent and his red hair and his eyes and his kilt and his everything…..!) Claire having no idea how or when she’ll ever get back to 1945 ends up adapting to 1745 and falls in love with Jamie. The show basically progresses with her being conflicted about her feelings constantly because she’s in love with two men in two different times and dealing with Frank’s ancestor which sort of changes her view on the future Frank and then let’s throw in a suspected witch for good measure and you have a freaking phenomenal show!

I started it last Saturday. I’m obsessed. I try not to binge especially for shows with episodes that are 60 minutes long each but I can’t stop! I’m in season 2 now and the only reason I took a break is because I received an ARC and had to read and review it ASAP. I cannot wait to finish this season because I know the new one is coming up in a few months here. I’ve contemplated going back and continuing the books but we’ll see. It takes some serious stamina to read a 800+ page book you know?

 

The Babysitter

I’m a leader, a trainer, an encourager, a believer, a giver, a friend, a teacher, a mentor, a counselor, a backer upper, a call away, a stay later, a helper outer, an organizer, a receiver, a deliverer, a conductor, a planner, a helper, a babysitter.

I’m a manager.

What does that mean? It means I come in early, I stay late. I work harder than everyone else before I arrive, while I’m there, and once I leave. I think about the traffic flows and the patterns. I clean the toilets, I dust the shelves, I create schedules time and time again. I bend the rules until they’re about to break. I’m also the enforcer when I need to be…and the listener when there’s nobody else.

I want to be liked and I want people to love what they do so much that everyone walking through our doors can feel it. I believe that they do. That comes at a cost. It’s a high one. It means lack of sleep, emails all day and all night, calls and texts with questions and problems. It means holding myself to the highest standards that way I can expect that from others. In turn, I do get good bonuses and a decent paycheck. Right now I have a three weeks worth of PTO – but I’m at a place where I can’t take it because I’m uncomfortable leaving the staff alone (plus countless other meetings and events I can’t miss).

The longer I am in this role the more I believe that I might be in Denial about what it is that I do. I’ve been told several times that I’m “too nice” or “too lenient”. Am I? …I want for everyone to be happy and enjoy what we do. …but I don’t want to be taken advantage of. Every now and then the mama bear has to redirect her cubs. My team is about to get some redirecting. Sometimes it is tough because everyone is so individual in their wants, needs, and desires for their place in the company. To truly cater to that takes a lot of time, understanding, and effort.

I love it but I hate it. It fuels me and stresses me out. I’m sure everyone feels this way at one point in time or another with their job. I’m learning to be a better leader and listener. (Or I’m trying to, anyway.) I take advice and criticism and do my best to implement whatever I need to in order to have a well oiled and productive machine when I’m there and when I’m gone.

Sometimes it just gets tiring to always be the babysitter, to be one step ahead, to always be looking back over your shoulder, and listening in on conversations to help out or redirect. Sometimes you just need a vacation.