Monday, December 31, 2012


Have you ever looked at someone and realized in that small moment that they are more attractive than you had previously noticed? I mean, looked and really saw their beauty without even trying? I wonder if this is how people in love see each other all the time. At their loveliest. Sometimes I look in the mirror and feel that I am pretty, and other times I look at myself and feel as if I couldn't be a more plain collection of features on a lackluster canvas. I wonder if this means I do not always love myself.

It's hard to look in the mirror sometimes and see what you're looking at or look past what you're seeing.


He once told me that my train of thought was what made me weird.

He was right. I took it as a compliment. He meant it as one.

New Year's Resolution

I think I've decided on what my New Year's resolution is going to be.

It's something I've been toying with, and have even expressed on here but have been kind of afraid to really go for.

I think it's a good resolution because it scares me to want it.

It's not exactly tangible, and at the end of it all I'm the only one who can judge whether I've done it.

But I want to be braver.

And I think I'm ready to do it.

I want to be everything that being brave means.

I want to be more honest with myself.

I want to trust just a little bit more.

I want to be willing to ask for help when I need it.

I want to admit when things aren't so great and not worry about the emotional repercussions of doing so.

I want to be braver in my life for me.

At the end of 2011, I cried. Midnight hit, it was 2012, and I cried. I cried tears of relief. I was relieved that it was over. A year that should have been so many good things ended up being the worst I had ever experienced. There were good things, but so much bad happened. It hurt. I have never hurt as much as I did that year.

I don't want that again. And even though a lot of what knocked me down that year was beyond my control, I think that if I were only be a little braver, a little better, I could have made things better.

I don't know what 2012 has been for me. I feel like it was a lot of lingering and indecision. There were a lot of up in the air moments. I was drifting; just kind of floating through space for some things and mindlessly hurdling through others. Maybe it was something of my inability to let go of the year before. I don't know why I would, because it was terrible, but I just know I wasn't living in my own time. I felt very much at a standstill emotionally. I was living for the next good thing. The next moment that wasn't mine, but that I could cling to. Except for the small happiness I had that I ruined. I hate that a highlight turned into a jumbled mess of hurt and confusion when I never wanted that at all. I want to be brave about that, too. I wasn't brave about that and now I have to be brave after it because I wasn't brave in it.

I know there was good. I have been happy. I always have cause to smile and I know it and I am blessed for it. But I want to be braver. I think that means being able to cling harder to the good and loosen my grasp on the bad. I think being braver will mean facing the bad sooner so I can learn what I need from the bad sooner. Then I can hold onto the good things better.

It sounds selfish to me to want this for me. But aren't New Year's resolutions supposed to be about bettering yourself? I'm already so good at people. Probably better than I should be. I think you're supposed to be a really well adjusted person to be able to help other people. Not that I'm not well-adjusted, it's just that I have more trouble with myself sometimes than I think I should to be able to help people as much as I think I do.

Is it selfish to want to be brave? Because I think I have to be selfish to be brave. I don't think it means that I have to focus so much on myself that I can't be what I need to be for other people. It can't mean that because I need that. I very much need to be what I need to be for other people to make me who I am. I guess I just mean selfish in the sense that I have to think about me. And maybe it takes some strength because I have to be willing to think about me and work on me.

I think I have to be braver this year. My cowardice has done nothing for me. I can't afford to not be braver. I'd throw myself in front of a moving train to save somebody. I wouldn't think twice if it was someone I loved. But what's it going to take for me to save myself in that way? I need to be brave enough to save myself from the metaphorical trains of my life.

I want to be braver. I need to be braver. I'm going to be braver.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A little explanation, a whole lotta love

So, um, about yesterday.

I guess I was a bit, well, excited.

I realize that the way I was expressing my emotions was a bit different than how I tend to express emotion on here and that probably took y'all a little by surprise. But the thing is...


Okay, inside voice.

The thing is, one of my best friends in the entire world just found out that she is pregnant!

She's been wanting this and waiting for this and she deserves this and now it's happening!

And now I'm caught up in all the wonderful things that a baby means - for her and her husband and their families and just in general.

This is truly love multiplied. This will be happiness added onto a marriage that is already full of love. What a lucky little poppy seed.

This baby will have some really awesome parents! For so many reasons. Alongside all of the love and protection and security, there's gonna be so much fun! In between the creativity and talent of his or her parents, this child will have some really cute and awesome traditions and activities, and also a collection of really great pictures! Can I just say, "creative photographer daddy and artsy jack-of-all-trades mommy"? Yeah, it's gonna be good.

There's gonna be a little Long baby (Long being the last name) born into a wonderful family. The parents will undoubtedly pass the best of their traits onto this tiny little life, with just enough personality hiccups to keep things interesting. This baby will be strong and determined. He or she will be passionate and willing to fight for what he or she cares about and believes in, but also laid back enough to know how to pick their battles and let the little things roll off their shoulders. They will be artistic and creative and tech savvy. They will have a strong sense of family. They will be a little spoiled, but never bratty, and they will work for what they want. They will be a good problem solver, and know how to take charge when necessary. They will be active and happy and athletic and funny and bunches of other great things that I can't even fathom right now.

In between the two sets of grandparents, and a bunch of aunts and uncles (by birth and blessed grand design of friendship) this baby will have an extended family that is large, quick-witted, incredibly punny, caring, big-hearted, dependable, super involved and just a little bit crazy. And there will be more love than this baby will ever need. This child will never want for love.

There are going to be little bitty pieces of clothing, and a lingering smell of baby powder and baby lotion. There will be experiments with baby food and snacks, and debates and discussion about which new mommy trends to get on board with. There will be baby's first Halloween and Christmas and the first Mother's and Father's day. There will be bedtime stories and lullabies and prayers and laughter and smiles.

Don't get me wrong. I know that having a baby isn't all fun and games. This will be lessons and learning and growth for all involved. It'll be hard work and tough decisions for the mom and dad. There will be a lot of late and sleepless nights. There will be moments of worry and indecision, and there are going to be surprises that may not always be good.

But there's also this incredible love that is going to come with it to make those hard times so much easier. Any rough moments will be worth it in the end. There is going to be so much support. Support for the parents and the child. There are going to be so many prayers and people willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that this beautiful baby on the way will always be taken care of.

I'm excited for this addition to the lives of people I consider a part of my extended family. I'm excited to be the Mexican "aunt" by blessed grand design to this little Long baby. I'm excited for the journey that my dear friend and her husband are embarking on, and I want to be there to do whatever I can. I love these wonderful people who God is blessing with a baby, and I already love this kid like crazy. How could I not?

Thursday, December 27, 2012


This is the only outlet I have where I can express happiness for something AMAZING that is happening! I REALLY want to give details, but I can't. And I'm afraid to even be cryptic on other forums because people could put stuff together. I don't know how, but they could. Paranoid Parrot moment. Seriously, I can't even bring myself to use CAPS or !!!'s on twitter or facebook. But let me just say that MY HEART IS ABOUT TO BURST!! I heard some AWESOME, HEART-WARMING, FUZZIES-SHOOTING-THROUGH-MY-ENTIRE-BODY news from someone I love very much!!!

You should be proud that I have so much faith and trust in you, imaginary blog readers!!!


Knowing when to stop

Have you ever met one of those people that goes just one step too far?

Think about it. You know who I'm talking about. A name or some sort of mental image probably just popped into your head. Maybe your brain even went back to a particularly embarrassing incident that you're still cleaning up or have been trying really hard to forget.

My apologies.

But you know who I mean. The people with the broken filters. It's that friend or family member or co-worker who lulls you into a false sense of security by contributing just the right amount of something special to the conversation and then metaphorically pulling the rug out from under your feet with some awful comment to ruin the moment.

Cue uncomfortable silence, nervous laughter, or a whole lot of cringing. If you're really lucky, the group gets to experience all three of those things, plus more. Really, there's a whole spectrum of possible outcomes.

Trust me, I know.

I have that friend who goes just one step too far with their inappropriate humor. I have that family member who is just a little too honest and blunt. And believe me, I've known that person who just does not seem to know when to stop.

These qualities may cause those of us around them to shake our heads and sigh, but there's typically no malice in this occurrence. While I do believe it's something that needs to be worked at and improved upon, it doesn't make those guilty of this faux pas bad people. Maybe it even makes those of us closest to them better people.

We become better buffers. We learn to spin a situation like the best and most experienced of politicians. Being with them is a lesson in preparedness and reaction time, because we know someone is going to have to jump in and find a way smooth things over. We embrace the graceful steps of the delicate dance of damage control. We become just a little more forgiving and let things roll off our shoulders with a tiny bit more ease because we know it does no use to take these moments to heart.

And we become really grateful people who count it among our blessings that we don't know the taste of crow quite so well.

But even though many of us do not count this embarrassing public quality among our personality hiccups, we actually kind of may in private.

Like me.

To a certain extent, I was made for diplomacy. I was blessed with a pretty good filter and a fair amount of grace and refinement, and I know people. I can feel out a situation and know what needs to be said or where a conversation needs to go (most of the time). Basically, it's pretty rare that I find my own foot in my mouth.

But then there are the things that I don't say. I know this is very 1984-"Big-Brother"-esque, but I'm often guilty of thought crime. It could be that my brain is wired weird or something, because my train of thought has a tendency to derail. And not just off the tracks derail, but crash-through-the-"bridge-out-ahead"-sign-and-over-the-cliff-derail. That could be a bit dramatic, but maybe not.

All I know, is that I can be in a perfectly good place and then take my thinking just one step too far.

I'll lie in bed at night and think about my blessings. I'll reflect on the good times and laughter and happiness of the day or even just my life in general and find myself at the perfect place to stop.

But then I pull the rug out from underneath myself.

I think about that one thing. That one thing that I just can't let go of. The one thing that is the thought that is one step too far. My own personal faux pas against myself.

And I cringe. And laugh nervously. And find myself in an uncomfortable silence that is usually only broken by sobs. Pathetic.

What makes me make myself sad when I have so much cause to be happy?

Why more and more lately do I find myself staying up late watching television or reading until I can't keep my eyes open just so I don't lie awake thinking?

I preach about the importance of being happy with what we have.

I reassure and reason and remind people that they are so much better off than others.

But I beat up on myself.

And it's not about everything or anything, but just that one thing. The one thing that I want but ruined. 

My thought filter is broken and the only person I'm hurting is myself. I'm the only person judging myself, and I'm the only person who can smooth things over. I'm the only person who can spin the situation, but I don't know how. I'm just not that graceful, and I don't know the steps to this damage control dance.

But I want to be better. I know that this needs to be worked at and improved upon.

I can't do anything to change my situation. I can only change my perspective and attitude, and I have been reminded of this. I know this. I know better. And I will keep reminding myself of this, because it is the only thing I can do. I can't keep hurting.

But, with help, I can learn to be prepared for dealing with those moments where I'm tempted to keep on going. I can try to step up and save me from myself. I can learn the dance, and I can be a little bit more forgiving and let it roll off my shoulders with a little bit more ease those times when I fail.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I don't fit into any normal shaped boxes

I planned to get on here and sort through some thoughts and express some emotions.


I'm having one of those moments where my thoughts are too long for twitter and too hazy for blogging.

Instead I'm just gonna crawl into bed and judge people on tv until I fall asleep. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Problem Solving

The first step to problem-solving is to identify the problem. I don't remember much about the scientific method, but I know that much is true., check.

My problem: I only really know how to be brave for other people. I'm often a coward in my own life.

I'm not proud of this problem, but it's mine and I'm owning it. I recognized it a while ago, but now I'm really owning it.

And now that I've owned it, I should fix it.

Except that fixing it could lead to some pretty scary scenarios.

When you pray for something, when you really want something like this, God will take you seriously.

 Psalm 37:4 - "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Matthew 7:7 - "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

He will help you, but it's not always so easy. If you ask for patience, he'll often bring you trials so that you may strengthen your faith.

There's a chance that asking for courage means opening myself up to situations that will test my courage.

I want to be braver. I know I'm not a complete coward, but I feel like my courage comes and goes and I want to be better. But right now, I'm not even brave enough to pray for bravery.

Kind of ironic in a sad, sad way.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We Interrupt These Blogs For a Special Announcement

Sometimes I'm really glad that I never promised my imaginary blog readers a true direction for this blog. I get distracted and it kind of doesn't necessarily have one. If you doubt me, then go back to the first post - it was an introduction. I even say so in the title! And I flat out said that the posts would be funny sometimes and sometimes they wouldn't. But I did promise you hope. That helps when something seems too heavy. Still, honestly, it's like reading directions to read the first post! Nothing good ever comes from not reading the directions.

Like that quiz your teacher gives you where she keeps stressing beforehand that you should read the directions because she knows that if you don't read the directions you won't see that the directions say "Write your name and turn in your paper. Thank you for reading the directions." And then you'll be that kid trying to figure out why the math on this test is so incredibly hard yet half the class is walking up to her desk to turn it in.

Yeah, don't be that kid. On that note, here's another kid that you don't need to be:

That kid who smells like syrup. That kid ruins the air for everybody. Except the extreme pancake and waffle lovers in the room, but seriously, how many of those are around? Or wouldn't they just get extremely jealous that they didn't get syrupy goodness for breakfast and start bullying him? Yeah, this just got real dangerous and into whole new realm of diversity talks wherein you have to stress that "Syrup kid may be different from you, but you shouldn't hate him for his dietary choices." Just wash your hands and your mouth and do whatever it is you need to do so that we can avoid that mess and so I don't have to smell you.

Yeah, okay, so point in case...above. That is not where I was going. Though I may have to write about "that kid" someday. Because there are a lot of kids that are "that kid" that don't need to be "that kid." Grumpy cat hates "that kid."

See? Told ya.

It's just that my thoughts are so very varied. That "non-sensical" in the title really saves me. The "ramblings" doesn't hurt either.

I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm pensive, I'm all kinds of whelmed (even without being in Europe), I'm hopeful, optimistic, and rant-y at times. I'm just a very expressive person. It's my blog and I'll emote if I want to! (Cue music)

Look, I'm just saying, there's a reason there's a scroll option. And direct links to posts. I hope you've learned something here. It could be that I'm a crazy person. Or maybe that it is waaay past my bedtime. (Hint: it is) Hopefully you've learned that that you'll like me a lot better if you just read the directions. And realize that nobody is forcing you to read this blog. I haven't taken to the whole negative reinforcement puppy thing yet.

You would totally understand that last sentence if you read more of my blog. Fine. Here's a pretty little link if you desire understanding.

But I guess I should say thanks, imaginary blog readers. For reading even though I haven't taken to threatening puppies. That kind of warms the heart a little bit.

Loss and Grief and Clinging to Hope: Sandy Hook Elementary

"Grief is not a disorder, a disease or sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical, and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve." - Earl Grollman 

That is a lesson I learned much too late after I was forced to experience my first real sense of loss. I felt every emotion possible in my dealings with death. Not always all at once, but sometimes all at once, and often without any rhyme or reason. I experienced them in a jumble and they were aimed towards myself and all different kinds of people. I hurt because I loved my friend, and because I felt his absence. I was terribly aware that the story of our friendship would never have new chapters while on this earth. My hurt was stronger because I didn't know how to deal with my feelings. I hurt longer and harder because I tried to keep things in. I tried to be better all at once. I did not allow myself to grieve. If there is something those experiencing loss need to know it is what I know now about grief.

Yesterday, Friday, December 14, 2012, gave birth to one of the worst events in the history of our country. A senseless tragedy that stole the lives of 27 innocent people. In Newtown, Conneticut, 20-year-old man killed his mother in her home before forcing his way into Sandy Hook Elementary school and massacring 20 precious children and 6 brave educators who dedicated their lives to loving them through to gift of knowledge and nurturing. 

There are no right words to describe this occurrence. There is nothing easy about what happened. It is not something that is truly comprehensible and there will never be enough to offer hurting hearts.
I'm still trying to piece together the events. So are the police. I know why they have to do this, but I'm not too sure why I do. I wasn't involved. I'm hours away, continuing to live my life. I could live the rest of my life without feeling the true effects of this tragedy. Yes, I will look back and remember the next time something horrible happens. I will find the families and loved ones of those killed to be on my heart from time to time. I will pray for their healing. But I will not feel the same hollowness. I will not have those sleepless nights. I will laugh. And I will hug and physically love on those that I love once again.

I just know that what happened forced me to deal with and experience more emotions than I have all at once in the time since my personal loss. Except the emotions are more confusing this time around. Because it is so inexplicable. My fist major loss was terrible, but in a way it was easier than had it come about in some other way. My friend died in a car accident. Yes, it was sudden and unexpected, but no one was at fault. No one was drunk or texting on their phone or driving incapacitated in any other manner. The weather was bad and the roads were icy. The car skidded and spun into oncoming traffic and my friend who was in the passenger seat was hit. He didn't suffer. He died instantly. 

I never blamed God. I was never angry at him. I didn't charge him with a "why?". I knew that there was a reason. As hurt as I was, I knew that he wouldn't just take my friend away without having a plan. There were people saved at his funeral. People recommitted to living better and Godlier lives. I saw people striving to be a little bit kinder to help make up for the wonderful person that the world had lost. As much as it hurt and as terrible as it felt, I had these things to comfort me. 

But when children die, and when people trying to protect those children die, it gets a lot more confusing. It's maybe more devastating. It's not so easy to understand. It's hard to see the reasons and the beauty that will come from the ashes. Yes, they will come, but they will be a lot harder to appreciate.

This wasn't an accident. This was not the loss of one, albeit a beautiful, kind, funny, inspirational, amazing and life changing, person. This was loss of 6 brave individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty and of 20 beautiful babies who had not even truly begun to live. They were learning new things. They were happy and excited to go to school. They were curious and beautiful and innocent - unmarred by the evils of this world. And someone killed them on purpose. 

This made me so angry. I don't hate much, but I hate experiencing those kinds of bad feelings. It hurts me to feel that kind of anger. I feel the loss of my humanity in that anger. These are the moments that threaten to rob me of my compassion, and sometimes do, even if only for a short while.

With the anger came the tears. I spent a lot of the day crying. I couldn't put on my eye make-up before work because I kept ruining it. My heart was heavy with hurt. Sometimes being an emotional, empathetic person has some really terrible downsides. As more and more details came in, I became more and more of a mess. My mind was flooded with thoughts.

I thought of the way that the parents were reunited with their kids. The absolute terror of having to search for your children with your stomach all tied up in knots and incessant and pleading prayers on your lips. Just hoping that you'll find their eyes in the crowd or hear their voice calling out.

I thought of all those people waiting. Having to watch as other parents felt the relief of seeing their children and hoping that you would be able to feel the same way.

I thought of the parents who were forced to face the realization that their babies were never coming back to them alive to hear, see, or hold, but could not be reunited with their precious little bodies right away because children are much harder to identify and there is red tape that must be dealt with. 

I thought of Christmas presents already at home that will never know their intended owners. Of families who will always remember Christmastime with this tragedy, for whom the holidays may never be the same.

I thought of the parents who were so happy to be reunited with their children only to feel the guilt that comes with their happiness. The guilt that they were among the lucky ones, while the parent standing beside them may not be.

I thought of all those precious and innocent children who survived who will never play with some of their friends again. Who will never see some of their siblings again on this earth outside of a coffin, if even that. Of babies who had to see people they passed in the hallways everyday lying lifeless on the ground.

I thought of the innocent children who will experience survivor's guilt, and live with the question of why they are alive when others are not in the back of their minds. 

I thought of the sweet, sweet babies and all the things they will never know and what their lives could have been if not cut short.

I thought of the educators who so selflessly gave their lives for their students. Who went above and beyond what is expected of them.

I thought of the spouses and families and friends of those educators, who would never have thought their loved ones' job to be dangerous. Who thought today would be like any other.
And when I thought I had considered every thought, the different prayer requests that people shared opened my eyes to other types of hurt. 

Someone asked prayer for the first responders. I don't know what I would do if I had to walk into an event so terrible as a massacre of 6 and 7 year olds. 

I began to think of the police and those who would have to process the crime scene. Who were forced to face and report every detail of this tragedy.

I felt for the lone funeral home in Newtown, Connecticut that is so overwhelmed with bodies that they must seek help from outside sources.

I felt for the community that was shaken by what had happened. Who were robbed of their feelings of peace and safety.

There are people wondering why God would allow this. These are people who just don't understand. I want so much for them to understand. They are people who are hurting, and I wish them faith. And for the hurt in their hearts to be removed so that they may understand. Or for them to understand that having faith will help them remove the hurt.   

Sometimes I look at things like this and think that we must be living in end times. Watch the news. Devastating things happen every single day. I almost want to believe truly that we are in the end days because there is too much hurt in this world for me to be able to imagine how it could get much worse. And no, that is not a challenge. 

I've had a lot of thoughts about what happened. In the days to come, I will have more. I worry that when I go back to school on Monday some of my kids will bring these events up. I don't know what I will tell them if they do, but I pray for the right words. That's one of the hardest things in this situation, and I've had this conversation about words before. In this type of tragic circumstance, I would urge people to remember that it is not always what we say, but what we do that matters. Sometimes just being there is enough. But there is no real "enough" for something like this, and I know that there will be people searching for words. 

Watching the news, a Dr. Keith Ablow said something that really got to me. Something that I think would be really close to "the right thing" for those going through this:

"I cannot fathom the depth of your grief. I give you credit for your courage. I think that somewhere out of your incredible wound could come extraordinary sensitivity, such that you would be an incredible gift to other people in life. And yet, I hesitate to even ask that of you knowing now how much you're suffering, and yet I know that that's possible for you. But I don't pretend to know everything you're feeling and I invite you to tell me. Please tell me. Because silence is the enemy of healing here."

I don't know what I would say to those closely experiencing this tragedy. What my words would be to a hurting heart. I believe that if faced with that situation my words would come to me through God as they so often do when I must find something to say.

As much as the pain in my heart was and is from the losses I have experienced, I don't dare pretend to believe that it could truly be compared to what these individuals will have to live with for the rest of their lives. Parents should never bury their children. Children's lives should never be stolen. The world should never have to lose well-meaning hearts and individuals who live their lives giving, loving, and nurturing.

But I know that in the face of my loss and heartache I didn't let myself grieve, and that was a terrible mistake. It prolonged my hurt. It broke me more to try and keep it in. I was never afraid of being weak, but I was afraid of not being strong. I was afraid of being someone that people didn't know me to be; of not being someone others needed me to be. But there is something so incredibly brave about expressing and experiencing your grief. There is a healing to it. "Silence is the enemy of healing." It won't be easy. It's gonna hurt like hell. You'll have days you think you're better and then reality will hit you. Hard. In the stomach. It will knock the breath out of you and you will be down on your knees. You'll stay there and you won't know if you'll ever get up. But you will. Somehow you will. 

Remember that there is a time for everything under the sun. There is "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." These do not come with a certain allotment of time, and there is no promise about when they will come. But if you open yourself up to love and peace, you will find it. There is hope. Even without truly knowing such a devastating pain, I know that there is hope because I have faith in a loving God who is reaching his arms out to heal the hurting hearts.

I wish those affected by this senseless tragedy so many things. Understanding. Healing. Happiness. Laughter. And above all, never-ending faith, love, peace, and hope.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The post that got away

I haven't been around. I get that.

That's not to say that I haven't been writing, because I have. I just haven't been able to finish my thoughts. I have quite a few unpublished posts.

Right now I have a lot of crazy things going on, and so much of it is good! I want to share about those things, but I find myself preoccupied. There are some things I'm still sorting through. I wish I wasn't, but I am. I am facing moments of weakness and tests of my faith.

Part of the reason I write is to combat my inability to open up to people. It's not that I don't have a million wonderful, amazing, incredibly understanding and brilliant people in my life who can make me feel better, because I have those kinds of blessings coming out my ears! I just don't always share due to something I learned about myself after one of my friends died last year: I can't stand to make people I love sad.

That is true of a lot of people, but I take it to an extreme. It's part of a vicious cycle I often find myself in. After my friend died, I needed to talk about it. So I did. I talked to friends who were there for me, and it brought this strange and terrible sort of catharsis. It hurt, but saying things out loud helped ease some of the storm that was going on inside of me. But then I would look into the eyes of the people who loved me and see that they were hurting. For me. Because they loved me. It was like I broke them. My pain broke them. And it is a beautiful testament to the kind of love God has blessed me with to have friends so willing to hurt with me and for me, but I couldn't handle it. So I stopped.

I bottled up my emotions and pretended that I was able to approach one of the most devastating experiences of my life with ease and the same kind of positive attitude and strength that I applied to everything else. I stopped sharing my sadness. Or I'd share a little bit and then cut myself off and switch to talking about something happy. I'd give whoever was listening a good memory so that they could believe I was okay. So that the hurt would leave their eyes.

I spent a lot of time pretending. I spent so much time pretending that I didn't ever deal with my pain. Not fully, and not for a quite a while. By the time I really started to I was pretty shattered, and it was that much harder to put myself back together.

There was something to learn from that. About the importance of facing my demons. About the dangers of avoiding. About how the "fake it until you make it" thing only goes so far. And also about how you're a lot more likely to hurt your friends more if you're dealing with things they think you've already dealt with. I thank God for friends that stood by me when I was out of control. But that's another thing entirely.

The point of this history lesson is that I know better than to keep things in. Writing is a way to let things out without having to see the hurt it can cause, but when I can't even get my thoughts out in this way, I feel so very cowardly. I want so very much to be honest and brave. I want to write again. I need to. I will.

I don't know if this sufficiently explains my absence. That's what I set out to do with this post before it got away from me. Maybe it's more of an excuse, but it's also something of a promise. That I will try to do better. That's gotta count for something.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

mi familia es muy especial...y muy loca tambien

Family makes you crazy.

They do this for no other reason than because they can.

In fact, this truth may very well be the most tauntingly spoken rule of families.

At the end of the day, after any thoughtless comments, poor decisions, judgmental words and actions, or face-palm shenanigans, we must still love the ones behind those less-than-admirable enterprises.

You don't get to disown your crazy. I think maybe Jesus said that.

Maybe it's for self-preservation. We love and forgive, enable and excuse because we know that the same blood running through the veins of the ones calling those shots also runs through us. And on the off-chance that the blood in our veins is what causes those crazy things, we need that scapegoat should we ever lose control of our better senses.

In a trial situation:

Prosecutor: But she blah-blah-blah'd.
Defense Attorney: I'm sorry, have you met the girl's family? Here, watch these home movies.
Judge: Case dismissed. You are free to go with the court's apologies.

You can't argue with evidence of dysfunctional family moments.

Of course, outside of blame shifting activities, families offer a safe place. With them we may take off our shoes of sanity and wiggle our crazy toes.

We believe this because we know what family get-togethers can be like. During these times our insides recognize their insides. We are kindred spirits. Among them we may say crazy things. We trust them enough to bare sides of our souls otherwise reserved only for those we have explicitly invited beyond the second veil.

We are protected by the love rule.

I guess I'm thinking of this because my family is approaching a milestone. Tomorrow, we celebrate 50 years of marriage for my mom's parents. This has inspired much preparation and communication. Probably more than we normally have.

We've been calling, texting, dropping in on each other. We had a meeting of the five seven families. I was consigliere. Nobody except my father understood me when I said this. I said it more than once. I just wanted to be Tom Hagan. I think Robert Duvall portrayed him with a quiet dignity. And if you don't understand my reference with all these hints, then you need a lesson in classic cinema. But that aside, during my time as consigliere, I learned that if you put an authoritative tone in your voice, people will listen to you.

This is a valuable tool for my family.

It is valuable because we are loud. We are thirty, loud, hungry Mexicans. We will talk over each other. We will hunger. Then we will eat. And when we are done eating, we will talk over each other again. We will joke. We will make fun of each other. We will bring up old embarrassing stories. We will pry. We will complain. We will judge. We will say many inappropriate things. We will offer advice where it was not requested. We will insist that we know best. We will stay too late and eat too much and do many things that break all kinds of social norms simply because we can.

But we love each other. And not only in spite of these things but also for these things. Maybe because we are proud that we can love each other in spite of these things. It's a crowning achievement.

Truth be told, sometimes the "you-have-to-love-those-people-sharing-your-last-name" rule can be incredibly frustrating. Family will stare you in the face, stick out their tongues and make donkey ears at you. Just because they can. But it's never done with malice. And when you need them, they'll be there. When life's not so great, they'll wrap their arms around you and tell you that it's okay. Their irritation with you will fade faster than it does with others. They will help you when you need it. They will stand beside you on principle. They will do little things for you simply because they remember that you happen to like them. They will make you smile in spite of yourself and make you laugh until your stomach hurts and you can't breathe. They will come to you for advice because they trust you. They will share their secrets and hopes.They will push you to be better. They will foster your dreams. They may not always hold your hand all the way through it, but they'll believe that you can do something if you want to do it. Because why shouldn't you be able to? We share the same blood. And if the same kind of crazy flows through our veins, then so do the same abilities. So if one person believes they could do it, everyone else can, too.

I'm proud tomorrow to celebrate all of the things that family means with the people who kicked it off - my grandparents. My grandparents who are the proud owners of seven children, twelve grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and a number of other husbands, wives, and fiances who love them as their own. I'm proud to celebrate their 50 long years of marriage. The years spent raising a bunch of kids on not a bunch of money. The years spent ministering and pastoring and preaching and leaning on each other and God. The years spent getting through all the craziness that life threw at them and learning lessons they probably never thought they'd have to learn. And all those years of love. More than anything all those years of love.

Over time, I've learned a lot of things from my family. One of those things is that being a Rodriguez means that you will most likely fall prey to a particular kind of weight gain and end up a certain shape if you're not careful.

One of the more important things I've learned from them is this: Family love starts out as a love that you feel because you're supposed to. But it's a love that stays love because it's real.

Family blessings tree with everyone's fingerprints.

"Blessings on all who reverence and trust the Lord - on all who obey him! Their reward shall be prosperity and happiness. Your wife shall be contented in your home. And look at all those children! There they sit around the dinner table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees. That is God's reward to those who reverence and trust him. May the Lord continually bless you with heaven's blessings as well as with human joys. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. And may God bless Israel!" - Psalms 128

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Part of Life's Eternal Rhyme

I took a walk this morning. I need to get back in the habit of exercise, light as it may be. I also need to do something with my newfound clarity. I realized that this clarity brings with it a numbness. Not a choking, crippling, or bitter numbness, but a numbness that is allowing me to separate emotion and thought and really focus on the experience.

This must be something that normal, rational, less ardent people evidence on a more regular basis.

A walk seemed like a good thing to accompany that.

Well, at the end of today's sorting time, I started to actually look around. I opened my eyes and started to fully take in the picture that I'd been walking through.

Yes, I'd noticed the ducks and the geese. I'd politely smiled and nodded and greeted fellow walkers with a sincere good morning, and I watched the squirrels scurry about doing whatever important business was so important that they had to scurry about to get it done. I'd even been aware of the gravel crunch underfoot from time to time. But I'd been so busy focusing on the images in my head that I didn't really open my senses to the day.

It's a great time right now, weather-wise. It's chilly and windy, but not so cold that you can't talk yourself out of staying in bed. My only necessary defense against the cold was a sweatshirt and a scarf. And the sky is a disarming shade of blue gray that seemed content to settle over the green water and against the occasional red of my little trail.

It all makes for quite the scene, and alone it would surely be enough. But today brought an added bonus. Today the prettiest thing was the leaves. Taking them in I realized that it actually looks like Fall. That pretty much never happens in Texas. So imagine my delight walking the path along the lake, seeing that the leaves were making a delightful background of red and yellow and orange and brown and green. It was lovely.

Do you know what lovely means? I looked it up once. Beyond the idea of being "delightful to the eye, heart, and mind" or "highly pleasing", which are both beautiful and warming, was the definition: "capable of being loved." You are lovely. You are capable of being loved. You inspire the greatest and strongest most powerful emotion there is. It's been one of my favorite words for as long as I can remember because there is something so sweet about that idea.

This morning, the leaves were lovely. And then, more than that, they were loved.

They inspired warm feelings and made me start thinking about the fall. And how beautiful it is. How the colors in the trees stood against the sky and then shared that same beauty scattered on the ground as they fell. And the loss. For a minute, the loss. And after that minute, I realized, maybe Fall isn't about leaves dying. Maybe it's about the trees accepting change.

I fight change all the time, but it's one of the most natural things in the world. The trees accept that their leaves must die in order to start anew. That needs to happen. But if only it were that easy. I don't fight change because I'm stuck in my ways or afraid of new things. I fight it because I don't know what it means for holding on.

Isn't holding on a part of that eternal optimism? Isn't holding on about faith? Isn't holding on about keeping hope alive and fanning the flame when it threatens to burn out? Does change mean I can't cling to these things I hold so dear?

Change. Acceptance. Hope. Holding on and letting go. What's smart and what's right. Balance. These are not things I claim to fully know or understand. I wish I did.

Maybe I can take a nod from the trees. Maybe I can say that the leaves may change, but the roots stay the same, and that which grounds us is most important. That time makes you stronger to the way things have to go. That our branches will still reach out. Any combination of things to make me feel better. I want to feel better. Maybe I did for a moment. In a lot of ways I still do. I haven't lost my clarity. I haven't lost my peace. But I just get so easily attached to my leaves. I want to keep them forever. My leaves are lovely. My leaves are loved.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Few Christmas Random Thought Fun Facts

Earlier this year, I got tired of people playing Christmas music and indulging in Christmas things too early and not taking the time to celebrate the sincere and gracious holiday that comes before it. To combat this, I ruled that you may listen to Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving IF you have not lusted for it in your heart. If you have, and your appreciation of Thanksgiving has suffered for it, then you must wait until December 1st. This rule extends past music and to other Christmas celebrations.

Well, Thanksgiving is over. And I did not lust for Christmas in my heart. So, guess what?

Yep, I've opened my mind to Christmassy things. And since then, Christmas thoughts have been flooding my brain almost non-stop.

Again - it's okay, it is allowed.

Well, I have a few Christmas oddities that I realized I have and am now sharing. Because sharing is caring and 'tis the season!

1. Two of my favorite (and most quoted) commercials of all-time happen to be Christmas commercials.

This one:

And this one:

2. Whenever I use the phrase: "I'll take it" I either say it like Donna Reed in "It's a Wonderful Life" or immediately think of her afterwards.

3. When I was little, I used to sing that the lyrics were "Later on, we'll perspire as we dream by the fire." It made sense to me. Fire is hot.

4. As much as I love this movie now, when I was little it used to freak me out. At least the intro by David Bowie did. Something about the way he talked. "Walking in the Air" gives me chills.

5. I still think of Frosty whenever I tell someone Happy Birthday. I sometimes tell them like him.


That's all for now. Just a few things that were on my mind. Take this knowledge and tuck it away in your heart. You never know when you're going to be on Jeopardy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A B-Movie Christmas Special!

This is the story of my Christmas earrings.

But not like the actual story, because that's not really very entertaining. Well, it's not movie-worthy. That story is just that I happen to love Christmas earrings and have acquired enough that for the past few years (maybe 7?) I have been able to wear a different pair of earrings every day from December 1st through Christmas. More fun fact than silver screen.

Well, I had a friend send me a text message today to tell me about her niece who is wearing her Christmas earrings. It was a victory. A true triumph of the human spirit. Get 'em started young, folks. I mean seriously, when my friends start having kids, they will be getting Christmas earrings from their crazy aunt Tabitha all the time! (Or, you know, every Christmas)

Btw, they totally aren't out of the woods if they have boys. I'll find something to supplement it. I mean, what if they end up having girls and boys? Or just boys? It wouldn't be fair to leave a kid out of an awesome present just because they're not a girl. That would be sexist, and I believe in equality. I can't guarantee that they won't be giant light-up singing buttons or A Christmas Story-esque bunny suits, but eh, cross that bridge when we get to it.


Because I have been sucked in to social media, I tweeted about being reminded that Christmas earring season was upon us. This led to another friend asking if I had found my missing ones. Yes, sadly, some of my Christmas earrings had gone missing. In a few moves and travels, my earrings managed to become separated. I did find some, but now I don't remember where I put them. This is equally distressing.

But out of tragedy comes art! From the ashes, rises the Phoenix! The night is darkest before the dawn! This is all very dramatic stuff.

I still have about a week to reunite them. Thinking about this I realized that the reuniting of the Christmas earrings is like a B-movie Christmas special. And one should stay tuned for a "Saving Christmas" movie special with a special guest appearance by Santa. (That's a lot of special!)

I don't think I'm quite ready for script writing. This is all very conceptual. It's a process. I think I have to be artistically tortured and mope around wearing black for awhile in order to get this done. So, I'll start with the bare bones. Flesh it out later. (I've always liked that imagery.)

I was told that every good Christmas movie has to have an underlying love story. First, I thought maybe I would be in there, and the love of my life would be trying to return the earrings, but maybe I'll take myself out of the equation and just have a pair of earrings that have been separated. They have to find each other. And save Christmas with the power of love. (Cue Huey Lewis & the News)

But here's the cast of characters.

- Santa (duh)
- Christmas earrings (CG animated, not unlike the Smurfs)
- Maybe a reindeer
- Orphan child
- Clueless owner
- Antagonist of some sort

Here's the story-line so far:

I'll play the clueless owner. I'll be kind of like The Master in A Brave Little Toaster, or Andy in Toy Story. Wonderfully loveable, and unaware of their inanimate objects' ability to be animate. My earrings are not only trying to get back to each other, but they're trying to get back to me before I notice that they're missing. They have a calendar and know that the amount of time to get back to me is dwindling. Then maybe they meet up with Santa and have to help save Christmas. And there's a little orphan child that wants to believe in Christmas and Santa but everything and everyone is working against him. And the earrings help him to believe and the magic of Christmas restores everything and everyone! There might also be a unicorn. Who has always wanted to be a reindeer. and that's where the reindeer comes in. And the earrings all have these crazy personalities that match what they actually are. Like, my polar bear is a little grumpy or maybe addicted to Coke. (The drink, not the drug - family friendly, y'all). And the penguins will be quirky. And the little Santas will be TOTALLY confused when they meet Santa because they kind of believe that they ARE Santa. And the bad guy could be an earring whose partner was thought to be destroyed a long time ago so now he's bitter and angry and wants the other earrings to suffer like he has. But he isn't really bad, he just is lonely and wants the others to stay with him and acts out of desperation. Hmmm. Maybe he can replace the need for an orphan. There could be an act of self-sacrifice, or maybe he finds love anew. In a script this all makes sense and all the loose ends are tied up neatly in a beautiful Christmas bow. But seriously, sometimes continuity and competency is just overrated.

It's a work in progress, but I think I've got something here. I'm gonna end up selling it to Hollywood eventually. Maybe someone from Lifetime or the Hallmark channel will pick it up. But I'll only sell if they can guarantee that my art will not be compromised. Or they offer me the right amount of money. Same difference.

P.S. Still working on a snazzy title. Maybe "Listening for Christmas" or something that makes sense and also ties into ears somehow.

P.P.S. The title will TOTALLY be mentioned in the movie, because that's one of my favorite parts of movie watching - where I understand where the title came from.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Last night I went to sleep super early. Really early. As in, my body woke up several times in small increments starting at about midnight that went on for a long time until I finally gave in and got up at 5:30.

And somewhere in those groggy, semi-conscious states of indecision about waking up, something interesting came through. I think it was clarity.

There's a quote from Peter Pan that I happen to really love. It's: "You know that place between asleep and awake, the place you can still remember dreaming? That's where I will always love you, Peter, that's where I will be waiting."

I like it because it's kind of sweet. It's sad, but sweet. There's a place where whatever you want to feel is safe. Where even if you're not supposed to feel something, you still can. Because it's between dreams and reality. And having that feeling of love is reality, but it stays a dream because maybe you're not supposed to feel that way in real life but you can in a dream. I don't know if that really makes sense, but it kind of does in my head.

Of course, that's not what I'm even really thinking about. I was thinking about that reality-dream place. I'm inclined to believe that there are a lot more feelings and ideas that exist in there. It's more than a safe haven for feelings that can't live in reality. It's a place where true thought can exist. There's enough of the dream feeling to let you believe that anything is possible and enough reality to grasp whatever you're needing to deal with but not enough allow you to tell yourself "no."

I was in that place this morning. And it was wonderful. I don't think I fully understand what exactly it was that gave me this feeling of clarity. I can't remember. But there was a moment where I felt at peace.

I've been looking for that peace for a long time now. And every time I thought I found it, something else came in and knocked me off my feet. The hits just kept coming. They were real hits, but I know a lot of what kept me on the ground was me. My irrational, one-dimension, self-doubting, easily influenced brain kept getting in the way of the peace that was so within my reach.

I'm actually a little afraid and yet inclined to believe that it was a test of faith that I was failing miserably at. And God kept giving me hints and I just wouldn't take them. It's like those questions you find on exams sometimes that your professor is trying to help you with. The ones that are dead giveaways. The ones that have the same answer next to every single option on your multiple choice test. And I just kept staring at my paper saying, "Nope. No way. It's way too easy. It's gotta be a trick somehow." even though God would never do that to me.

I wasn't letting myself trust him because I had convinced myself that I was fighting my own thoughts. And the truth is that I was fighting his reassurance and listening to my own irrationality. And that's just plain stupid. Because we know who has the upper hand in these kinds of things.

I knew the answers. They kept coming through, and in so many ways. I thought about some of what I wrote in my last post. The part about knowing that God is looking out for me. Maybe my half-awake dream state was channeling that to teach me something.

I think I learn about myself when I write. The words just shoot out of my fingers from my head and all of a sudden I am terribly aware of something I'm feeling. Sometimes I read over a post and think, "I was feeling that? I really feel that way about myself? I actually think that?" Honestly, a lot of the time I feel like blogging is an experiment in free-association writing that I didn't even know I was taking part in. And now, I just may finally believe these things that I write. That I'm okay or at least will be. That I have true support, and the best kind at that.

I found clarity. I found peace. Now I just need to hold onto it. I know who I'm fighting now. I know that I have been my own worst enemy in this one particular situation. I'm calling for a cease-fire. We're down to negotiations. And we're gonna sign a treaty. And when I get tempted to go back on the terms, I'm going to come back here. And remind myself to keep the faith. Because

- Everything happens for a reason.
- If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.
- Everything in his timing.
- There is something amazing in store for me.

Now, just believe.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Can I say something that might sound crazy?

I know. Most of what I say can be skewed that way, but I don't really think I'm going there this time.

What I mean to say is that I was just thinking about something. And now, because I wasn't going for crazy, I am suddenly in a place where what I am wanting to say has reminded me of Hamlet, which seems somewhat off the beaten path and I promise I didn't mean to go there. But there's a wonderfully snarky scene wherein Polonius asks Hamlet what he is reading and Hamlet replies, "Words, words, words."

And if you asked me what I was thinking about right now I'd answer the same way Hamlet did. Only it wouldn't be snarky, because to be snarky I'd have to reply, "Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts."

Truth is I am thinking thoughts. Thoughts about words. Thoughts about the importance of words, and the weight of words. The consequences of words. Finding the right words. Recognizing the wrong. And knowing when to not use words at all.

I happen to love words. I've been told I am good with them. Not to say that I'm some great writer or speaker or something, I just mean that when someone needs words, I'm pretty good at coming up with the ones they need to hear. It's a blessing, really, I know that. But because I can find the right words for other people, I often find myself hoping that I've found the right ones for me. Though, I rarely feel that I have.

I have trouble convincing myself of things sometimes. I can find words for many a scenario and situation, but when I try to apply them to something that's really for me, that's really important, I lose faith. I don't trust myself.

Sometimes I feel like the story of my life is, "She wanted to say..."

And I hate that. Because there are times where you don't speak. There are times when your actions are so much more important and the best thing you can do is just to say nothing. But there are also times where your actions betray you and everything in your head is screaming the words that you feel are right. The words that go so against the things you're doing. The words that go against even the words that you let yourself say. And sometimes that hurts people. And most times that hurts you. Because you hurt for yourself and them. And why should someone else hurt because I couldn't get my head together? Because I couldn't find the right words for me? To say what I really felt. The words that could have helped us both.

And this is really hard to write for some reason. Maybe because it's really honest. Vague, but honest. Or maybe because I know that the feeling of wanting to say something and not doing it is so closely tied to the things that just may be regrets in my life.

I know that I don't really believe in regrets. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that everything happens in its time. I believe that God is in control and there is a plan and he works with the decisions I make and he loves me and is looking out for me. But I have this tendency to run things over and over and over again in my brain. And when I land in a situation that's not so good, I do that even more. I fixate. I replay every single moment, every single word, and I imagine every single possible scenario and try to see where I could have changed things. I second guess things that I know I can't change. And I blame myself in those moments - where I wonder if things could be different had I trusted myself with what I feel were the right words.

And I know that I'm responsible for my own actions and that at the end of the day everything is going to be alright and that worrying does nothing. I read that "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it only drains today of its strength" and that couldn't be more right. It's just those sometimes moments. Those will get you.

This sounds terrible now. It's an awful mix of self-pity and delusion that I can't quite keep the optimism out of. Honestly, it's a mess. But in the morning, I'll wake up and I'll be okay. I'll probably be okay before I close my eyes and go to sleep. Maybe even as soon as I finish writing this post. The strange thing is, I don't think this is what I was going to write. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's not, because I started to write because I was thinking about a story that didn't even make it here. A story about last words, and my thoughts about them and how I've woven that into my life. I guess it actually would fit here, but I think I'll save it for another time.

Right now, I'm done. And I swear y'all are going to think I have some serious issues, but this particular outlet of writing knows no limits. I need it for all the emotions in my head. Things I write about aren't necessarily the things I deal with all the time or thoughts that are constantly weighing on my mind. It's just that I needed to clean out some of the corners of my brain. Because looking at it in words kind of makes me feel like I'm confronting something. And maybe this time, in this way, words are on my side for me.

And maybe "nonsensical" is truly the right descriptive.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Some Thoughts I Thought

Okay. It's been awhile. I haven't written. I'm a bad person. I don't deserve your love, people have suffered, and the children, for god's sake, what about the children?! Blah, blah, blah.

I know. I promise. I know. But I am going to make it up to you. Or at least offer up a reconciliatory post that may or may not appease you. But seriously, if I'm gonna make an attempt then you can at least meet me halfway. Put aside your annoyance with me, chant some new age mantra that makes you feel better, and be prepared to enter my mind.

This is the part where if this was an old timey cartoon from the time of awesome cartoons before people started ruining cartoons the screen would flash some weird black and white swirly hypnosis thing in the background while the image of my head growing slightly larger and then smaller to make it appear as if it was moving towards and away from you at the same time would be there. And my eyes would be glowing and "be prepared to enter my mind" would be said in an ominous, kinda wavy voice, like the way someone would say, "OoooOoooh" if they were trying to be scary. Used to be scary. Nowadays it's usually more sarcastic.

Got that image? Okay, let's try it again then, for funsies! Imagine all those things. See the swirls? My head right in the middle of the screen? Glowing eyes? Okay, now:

"Be prepared to enter my mind!"

Awesome! Am I right??! 

You know, if you wanted to, you could even try something like, "BE PREPARED! To enter...MY MIND!!" And "mind" would be the most wavy sounding word of them all.

Of course, feel free to use any other variation that gives you ze goose pimples! Maybe even throw in some creepy finger motions. Like horizontal spirit fingers, but slower, and creepier, and not stupid. 

Yay! We're having fun!

Well, then. Now that we're all happy and excited and hopefully prepared to enter my mind, (Yes, there was a takeaway in there. It's like I just made learning fun, y'all.) here goes:

I learn random things all the time. And then I fixate. And my brain goes off on little tiny tangents. Here are a few of the things I heard, their tangents, and then the subsequent tangents of those tangents. Yay!  

New Knowledge: The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache on a standard playing card.

This is probably because he is the king of hearts and realizes that not a lot of women like mustachioed men. I'd say that I'll never date a man with a mustache, but when you say those kinds of things they usually end up happening. Like there was a town my mother said she would never live in and then BOOM, one day, we totally lived there. It's risky to say things, folks. Even to think them sometimes. But not like the way Big Brother in 1984 would make it risky because you have to worry about the Thought Police. No, just risky in the way that you feel it's risky because you are more than just "a little stitious" like Steve Carell as Michael Scott, but are almost full-blown crazy superstitious at times like me and if you don't knock on wood things are about to get really bad. Bt-dubs, I'm totally knocking on wood right now.

Also, thinking about 1984 made me think of this commercial that I think is awesome even though I'm not even really a big fan of macs. I'm sure it's somehow relevant.

New Knowledge: The average human body contains enough fat to produce 7 bars of soap. 

Is there some serial killer out there making people soap?? It'd have to be some crazy lady peddling her people soap at local craft fairs. And everyone would think she was so sweet and nice and precious and just your typical middle aged soccer mom with a squeaky clean past except for the killing people to make soap! Which is morally wrong on multiple levels because it's murderous and also kind of greedy because she's turning a profit. And she'd have scents called things like, "Russell" and "Jane". And everyone would ask about why they were named that and then believe her when she explains that Russel is a dear friend who smells like mint and Jane has always liked lavender when that's NOT the case AT ALL. She just made Russel and Jane soap smell like that and I don't care how cute they look in shades of light green and purple tied together with bits of twine, because it's just not right! And this is why I'll NEVER buy soap at a craft fair. Especially if they have sketchy people names. I'm onto you lady, and I'm calling the cops. 

New Knowledge: Humans are more likely to believe a statement if it rhymes.

"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." I have been enlightened. I suddenly understand the O.J. Simpson trial. And I'm also kind of wondering how often this type of thing has worked. How many other crazy things have happened because the human ear is susceptible to pleasant sounding rhyme patterns? And more importantly, can I use it to my advantage? For instance, "You should give me your money, because bees make honey." Is it working? Because I will totally set up a paypal account right now and we can do this! Or maybe, "You know you love me, because the sky's above me." Are you having unusually strong feelings for me even though we've never met? Do you have an urge to be my best friend and buy a breakable heart-shaped "BE FRI - ST ENDS" necklace so that we can each wear half? This is a feeling possible without rhyming, though, so I don't know if I can really depend on that one. And I don't know if there really needs to be a fact in the statement. I need more guidelines. Except that if I went to anyone for guidelines it would probably be someone who typically exploits the rhyming rule and they wouldn't want me to use it because they've become all selfish and absorbed with the power of the rhyming enough to want to keep it all to themselves and they'd tell me something like, "The rhymes don't work, and you're a jerk" which is both hurtful because if it does work I'd believe them but it also might answer my question because the second half is certainly not a fact but now I know that it does/doesn't work and you know what else? Infinite loop. Stuck in it. Thanks a lot.

New Knowledge: The chances of dying by laughter are 15 billion to 1.

Takeaway? It's still possible. And I think it would actually be a kind of nice way to go. I mean, people tend to be sad about death. That's totally natural. And usually people can find a way to buck up after awhile, but it's not easy and it's rarely immediate. But when someone asks, "How did it happen?" and you say, "She/He died laughing" you can't tell me that wouldn't surprise just about anybody! It's so ridiculous that you kind of have to stop and appreciate the comedic wonder of it. And maybe you'd even think, "Yeah, So-and-So would be the one to go laughing. She/He would definitely do that." And then maybe people would smile. Which, if you're the kind of person who died laughing, would actually make you happy. And you'd be in heaven glad that you could give your loved ones that comfort. Plus, you'd still be kind of super pumped about the inevitable conversation that you get to strike up with people you know and meet in heaven:

"So, how'd you get here?" 
- "Laughing."
"I'm sorry, what?"
- "Oh, I died laughing. Yeah, 15 billion to one and you're looking at the person that beat the odds."

Kind of awesome. And the person or thing that made you laugh would become super famous. It'd go down in history books. And a whole bunch of people would seek out the cause because they are brave or maybe really foolish and would listen or watch so that they could have bragging rights. "Yeah, I heard/saw him/her/it. And I'm still kicking." But there would probably have to be some kind of warning that comes with listening to/watching whatever it was: "Witness at your own risk. May cause death by laughter." It would add a whole new definition to "That comedian kills 'em!" if it were a person. Though, I wonder if they'd be tried for murder? Involuntary manslaughter, most likely. That would be one for the ages. 

Of course, if your own thought made you laugh, is that suicide? Unintentional suicide. I'm pretty sure suicide by laughter is lacking mens rea. Maybe that's one the world will never know.

New Knowledge: 27 Million years ago penguins were five feet tall. 

Did that make them more loveable? Because penguins are already pretty gosh darn awesome! (Pardon my language) I mean, when I was a kid, I thought that those my-size Barbies were pretty cool. Now imagine a my-size penguin! Only it's better than a my-size Barbie because it's actually real and you could give it a full-on hug and it would hug you back and do adorable penguin things and okay, I've answered my own question - the height increase totally makes them more loveable! 

Unless they were rogue penguins. Like maybe penguins that had some really horribly traumatic thing happen to them when they were little. And then they start to bully other penguins and then those penguins got scared and that will lead them to the dark side because fear leads to anger and anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering and did you penguins learn nothing from Star Wars??! And then there was a penguin apocalpyse and they all fought each other but the smallest and smartest and maybe bravest of the penguins refused to fight, and they fled to start a new life on their own. A brave new world. And that's how we have modern day penguins and why they are so loveable. Because they are descendents of penguin pacifists. But if I had a time machine I would totally still go back to meet the 5-foot tall penguins. Because maybe I could get there in time to help those penguins with troubled pasts, because at 5 foot 3 and a half, I could give them awesome hugs. And then penguin war would never start. And we'd have wonderful 5-foot tall penguins that everyone could love and hug and invite over to your house to play "Don't Break the Ice" because you've really always kind of wondered if penguins are good at that game.

But really that's just a dream because I know better than to use a time machine because it would mean risking messing up the space-time continuum. But a girl can dream. A girl can dream about loveable, huggable, 5-foot penguins all she wants.

The end.

Well, not the end of the post. I just didn't wanted to somehow distinguish that we were not leaving the main part of the tour and heading for the wrap-up.

Those were some thoughts. Long post, maybe? But this is the kind of post you can stop and come back to. The bolded words separate thoughts. Maybe I should go back and leave a note about this up top, but I'm probably not going to. Because sometimes we learn best from experience.

There's a lesson in that. You are now a wiser person, and you're welcome.