Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ category

Guard Well Your Treasure

November 4, 2016

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.”
•~~George Sand

Tonight we took my son and his friend to eat at Taco Bell, before hitting Whole Foods. While the two boys ate, a young lady who worked at Taco Bell sat near us in the corner. She was sitting quietly eating a burrito on her break.

Once the boys were done eating, we all got up to head out. When I turned around toward the door, I noticed another young woman behind me. She had come in from the rainy, dark night while my back was to her.

As I passed by, I looked at her life strewn across two tables. She had laid out a brush, lotion, a book, and several other things. What got me, was the packet of Ramen noodles because I was sure she had no home to go to. I thought… “does she even have a pot to cook those in?”

She was wet and looked tired from carrying a huge, old backpack. I’d say she was 100 pounds. She didn’t even notice me because she was stuffing herself with what I assumed was Halloween candy. Walking out to the car, I asked my son “did she even eat?” I didn’t know since my back was to her. He said “no… she didn’t.”

I turned right around and walked back in. When I approached her she looked worried… like I was going to tell her to leave. I asked her if she wanted food and she got a huge smile and said “yes! Please! Can I get a chalupa?” I laughed and said “of course, get whatever you want girl.” She got “a meal” too.

While the young girl who worked at Taco Bell rang it up, the other girl asked me what my name was. I told her and asked her hers. She thanked me and shook my hand with a smile. I told her “be careful out there girl. It is dangerous and it’s getting cold.”

I feel good about doing nice things for people, especially those in need. What made me feel even better is what happened after that. When the young girl working at Taco Bell gave me my card back, she said “can you give me a moment?” I said “sure,” but was thinking… “I thought she gave me my receipt?”

She disappeared then came back with a bag. I said “what’s this? I didn’t order anything else?” She had given me a free bag with dessert and told me “that was really sweet of you. This is for you.” I thought that was cute. I guess you never know who’s heart you’re touching with a good deed.

An Accidental Meeting with Ant-Man

May 30, 2016

I push it so hard in the gym that I rarely acknowledge regular schmucks, much less someone uber famous staring at me. Call it blind focus or sightless drive or maybe my iron blinders are just soaked in sweat? Some may not understand that kind of focus, but those who are serious gym junkies always will.

Over the years, there have been a few infamous, several famous and many quasi-famous people walk through the doors of my gym. I’d say Mandrill’s is on top of the short list of top gyms to visit in New Mexico. Most of these visitors have been easy to spot out, looking much like their movie version selves. The quasi famous are easy to spot out. They feed on recognition and usually have a parade of people following them and many, many flashes.

On Friday, there were two new, quiet faces lurking around Mandrills Gym. At the time, that’s all they were to me… two new faces. I was off from work and hitting legs hard! I was also being my usual unapproachable self. The two new guys seemed to be circuit training. One, the obvious trainer and the other, the heavily bearded trainee. I know that for at least 45 minutes, these two saw me with a I’m in an ass kicking mood look on my face.

And so goes the story of my accidental meeting with Ant-Man. I was hack squatting and he was benching when our eyes actually met for the first time. The placement of these two pieces of gym equipment made it hard for me not to notice two bulging eyes staring at me from the bench. It was his turn to burn a set and I started thinking… “this guy looks familiar as fuck. Did I go to school with him or what? What’s he looking at?”

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I realized I recognized him because he was a movie star somewhere after I saw him buried under 225 on his first attempt. Poor guy. I was resting between sets and felt so sorry for him that I actually took my headphones off and told them that they had the heavy bar. His trainer seemed a little unhappy about my input and confused about the bar, but I made the lifter feel better. He told me… “this isn’t a 45 lb bar? I actually did better than I thought then!” I told him… “no and you did. You could have hit that for one.”

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•• My son Daryn, Paul Rudd and Daryn’s best friend Richard ••

I realized it was Paul Rudd that very moment. Maybe it was his voice, because it surely wasn’t his burly beard. For the first time, I felt famous, maybe even infamous in the presence of someone who was actually famous. Rudd has been in at least 50 movies. He was shredded as shit in some of them too. I felt like he was impressed with my workout. I’m far from the hottest gal he has seen, but he wasn’t staring at my butt. He was staring at my drive.

He is here filming a movie. Ant-Man did have his LA based personal trainer, Brendan Johnston with him, but that day, I showed them how New Mexicans do it. Even though I felt bad about my scowling looks, I broke down and asked if he’d take a photo with my son. How could I not ask? My son would kill me if he knew Ant-Man was there and I didn’t tell him. When I asked, they both seemed like they weren’t really into it even though Rudd said yes. Do you blame them? I seemed like a total bitch. Here is a text from my funny ass nephew if you don’t believe me

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I walked out of the gym thinking “I blew that one.” My son and his friend were waiting for me outside. I told them about Ant-Man, but had decided I wouldn’t take them in. I told them that he was training in there, but wasn’t really wanting to take a photo with them. They were disappointed, because we like Ant-Man. To my surprise, Rudd’s personal trainer actually ran out of the gym to get me. I was shocked! He asked if we could come inside with him. We were psyched!

I will credit that turn around not to my scowling face, but to the respect I earned that day during my workout and my accidental meeting with Ant-Man!

Lemme Guess

October 6, 2015
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~Following up my leg workout on Sunday with hyperextentions for stretching, strengthening and spinal decompression~

Lately I’ve been more than the usual firework in the gym. I can’t think of something that pisses me off more than a woman who doesn’t put her weights away. I’ve never really seen men do that, so I can say without a doubt that it is 99% women who are guilty of this laziness. Why do I turn into an extremely evil beast when a woman does this? I get even more ticked off when her ridiculously whipped man servant trails behind racking her shit (and no she’s not fine). I don’t let any man rack my weights. If I use it, I put it back. That’s part of lifting ladies!!

I got mad about this not long ago and felt like rolling someone, but on Sunday, I literally felt like breaking someone’s face. I scare myself in the gym sometimes. I guess my irritation with said group of 4 individuals started not this past Sunday, but last. There are two couples that have been going in together on Sundays now. Last Sunday, these two lady clowns were in the corner taking pictures of each other bent over doing stiff legged deadlifts with less than average weights and poor form. It takes a real friend to take pictures of you bent over ha? In all my years and all my gym pics, I’ve never done that!!

That said, I decided to get into a friendly competition with the one clown who had the guts to challange me during a leg workout. She was working legs too (as usual~ like the majority of women in the gym who lack upper body strength). I actually think her man servant pushed her to match me, but she got smoked. I had 4 plates on the leg press when her minion came over to load the same for her while he looked at me. She got on and did it for 10.

I recognized the challenge, hit 4 for 25 then threw on 2 more plates. Bendy chick summoned her boy and he matched me. I pushed 6 plates for 20 and she got it for 12. I think she should have realized that moving to 8 would be her final valiant move. Both of us had 8 plates on the leg press. I got it for 15 and she got it for 8. She then slapped two dimes on and I laughed. Feeling extremely cocky, I put on not a dime, but 2 more 35z and two quarters. There was no way for her. She backed down and watched me push 480 pounds for 12.

After that, I decided I’d ask her if she was done with the weights she had left out. Seems polite of me right? Ahhhh… not so much! She had left the squat rack loaded and weights all over the floor. I thought… So help me God, if she leaves the leg press loaded, I am seriously going to break her!!! The second I actually opened my mean mouth to bendy chick, her man servant was there by me unloading the squat rack while she unloaded the leg press. Since he bugged me, I turned to him and said “are you using these?” Clearly he wasn’t.

One day I seriously may end up in a fist fight and I would totally win. I get that ticked off in there sometimes. Needless to say that when those four left this Sunday, all the weights had been reracked. I can’t wait until this coming Sunday. I decided to hit chest. Time to show this double duo what a real, strong woman looks like in the gym. Let’s see what she gots!!!? Lemme guess? Legs again?

 

TERRITORIAL Gym×Rats

July 15, 2015
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•Digital composite by Felicia•

Everybody hates showboating… well… everybody except for the showboats that is. Isn’t that the truth? Don’t believe me? Check out this comedic, perfect lesson about the unintended karma associated with showboating. Yep. It happens. If you act a fool, you will get treated like a fool. If you need more proof about how much people hate showboating, you can always ask your friends or even visit this #showboating feed for reference.

I must say you could be the hottest, most fit man or woman on this planet and for me your showboating will immediately kill that. If you aren’t Ronnie Coleman, Iris Kyle or Dorian Yates, for God’s sake, please don’t act like it. Winning competitions in New Mexico does not make you legendary. That takes hard work and love from people!! You earn that! Most people in my gym who are built and cut stay humble. Shoot… they even stay covered.

There is nothing worse than people who parade through a gym acting like they own that shit when they aren’t even locals. They just get in the damn way! It is an easy way to piss the local rats off. My gym has never been a showboating gym and it never will be (thank God). Unfortunately, in the past week, showboaters out of Albuquerque have made their way here calling my gym “the best in New Mexico.” Mandrill’s does have a solid reputation.

We are hard hitting, iron eating, sweat laden, rabid rats, so I can see why people would drive here just to have a photo session. I don’t think these showboaters wanted a Planet Fitness backdrop eh? Of course not! They wanted people who were worth a hell and a gym that is worth a hell as a backdrop. I actually think these boaters and their photographer got more than they really wanted that day. Let me put it diplomatically, their flash filled, disruptive visit was not well received. Game faces were on lock!

These people have placed in some competitions, but again, they aren’t Ronnie, or Iris or Dorian. Nobody wanted tripods in the way, flashes in their eyes (about 300x), or to see mediocre fitness buffs hanging upside down, flexing every two seconds or making human pyramids. Go do that shit outside and get the hell out of the way. Even though us “regulars” compete with each other day in and day out, that day we pulled together like never before against the foreigners to show them who really runs shit here.

One of the visiting showboaters in the click of two men and one woman was recently featured in a magazine about the fittest people in Albuquerque (hence his illusion of complete stardom). A while back I posted about that magazine because I was extremely disappointed in the fitness of the selection of fit people. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe these people are all really down to Earth? That would be a good thing and it is so much more attractive.

I will say that the showboaters had every person in my gym talking mad shit. From one shredded black man ripping off his shirt to “show them what abs really look like,” to a high ranking military man calling the visit “a freak show,” to another saying it was “all straight comedy,” to lots of evil game faces, to most of us rats pushing it further than to the limit, we made it clear we run Mandrill’s. If these people would have come in strong and humble, they would have never been noticed. I’ll bet they would have actually been accepted!

Just don’t come into our gym and showboat your ass around here *expecting* respect. Here… we earn respect. Here… we don’t play. Here… we work. Here… we are sum territorial gym rats!

Cherry on Top: Tribute to a Not So Lovely Day

April 6, 2015

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Don’t you just love the sweetest toppers on lovely days? Aside from a million and one things on my mind in my personal and professional life right now, I just had to add four more! Right after a long and super busy work day, a cop pulled me over on my way to my son’s flag football practice in 5:00 traffic. The terrific cop so generously gifted me with not one, but four tickets! (likely because I was less than a scared sweetheart).

He was in front of me and dropped behind me to pull me over because I have “a cracked windshield.” (ticket 1) Lovely right? He made me put my driver’s side window up and down a bunch of times and then whipped out a little square machine. Putting it on my window he exclaimed… “Ah ha. Just as I thought! You have illegal tint on these windows!” (ticket 2) I said “I bought this 4-runner in 1998. It’s old. I’m sure it wasn’t illegal at the time, and in all the times I’ve been pulled over, no one has ever bothered to mention that.”

Ticket 3 and 4 were legitimate. Of course I had my new insurance card and registration paperwork at home on the counter, so I couldn’t hand them over. Great place for them ha? I’m just lucky like that! When the cop pimped a cocky stroll back to my runner with my gifts in hand he said “you want the good news or the bad news first?” I’m sure I didn’t have a look on my face which screamed “I feel like playing games with you,” so I went ahead and said “whatever. It’s already been a lovely day.”

I got handed four pieces of crisp white paper (hot off the mobile police printing press~yeayyyy) and two court dates. Great ha?! When I got to practice, my mother-in-law said he “just wanted to pull a pretty girl over.” If there is one thing about me, I don’t flirt with just anybody… especially to get out if a ticket. That’s pathetic to expect a woman to do so, and pathetic for a woman to do. Did he really use a little machine to check my tint? Unbelievable. Last time I was pulled over, the cop told me if I was nicer, I would have gotten a break. Ommmm. Neah.

While I was getting a ticket for my tint, I swear I saw a man robbing a 1/5 of whiskey from the gas station I was stopped in front of. I understand that business is business though. I guess the cops have to solve the bigger problems that really matter like dark tint and cracked windshields on old 4-runners. The other two tickets should be dismissed because I do have insurance and my registration. Oh and his good news was “you aren’t getting your vehicle towed.” God bless him. What an angel ha?!

Just #GiveMeTheTickets with a big fat #CherryOnTop of my already awesome day officer!!! These are the days when I need people who love me. You know… the people who love my body, but keep me in mind and heart? These are the days when I need love to get me through.

Something Magic

February 13, 2015
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••My son was out there somewhere~ at his 1st dance!••

There is something magic about music. It makes the body and the mind react in ways that are somehow inexplicable. You just have to feel it sometimes. I can’t really remember a time in my life when music wasn’t there. This story isn’t about me though. This story is about my son, the secretly talented dancer.

On Monday of this week, my son brought home a 3×5 mini flyer with two hearts on it. The sweet little flyer was an invitation to the Valentine’s Dance. I noticed it read “4th thru 6th grade only,” and I immediately thought… “Omg! My son’s first dance.” In that moment on Monday night, I decided I would make sure he went.

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After we ate dinner, I questioned him about the dance. I said “you going?” He quickly responded with a “no.” I said “but why? You’re good at dancing!” I know he is because we dance all the time. As a matter of fact, he and I had a dance off on New Year’s Eve and he won! D didn’t say yes that night, but he did say “it’s a glow in the dark dance,” which seemed to intrigue him.

On Thursday morning I woke him up for school with a “get up baby! Today is your dance!!” He stayed very quiet and shuffled about in our regular morning routine. The dance started right when I arrived home from work. He was already playing “Clash of Clans.” When I walked in I said, “comb your hair. Put on some cologne. It’s time to go!” There was silence.

Being that we love to dance, I insisted that he go. I laid down by him and we argued back and forth. I said, “commmme on! It will be fun!!” He shook his head. “I don’t want to. It will be dumb. None of my friend are going,” he said, “plus…nobody invited me!” I couldn’t believe he would pass it up? Finally, after 10 straight minutes of arguing, I used my bargaining skills to convince him.

On the way to the school he was silent as a mouse. I’m positive he was thinking “what the heck did I let my mom get me into!?” He didn’t make one peep on the 15 minute drive. We pulled into the parking lot and parked. There were three cars and he seemed relieved because he thought we would leave. I said “baby…it’s not in the gym. The lights are on and you said it was glow in the dark.” Hum? “It must be in the cafeteria,” he murmured softly. 

We drove around to the other side of the campus. Ahhhhaaa! There were all the cars! At that point he was so nervous he could have jumped out of his skin. Opening the front doors to the building, we both heard the faint sound of bass. As we got closer to the glass entrance of the cafeteria, the music grew louder and the lights were flashing brilliantly. His mouth seemed to drop in awe.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen my son so amazed. There was a smoke machine, strobe lights, spot lights, colored lights, glowing balloons, glow sticks, and the DJ was actually playing songs we all liked! The bleak cafeteria was transformed into a twilight zone. The sound of heavy bass and a sea of screaming kids with glow sticks made him feel right at home. Before he ran off into the crowd, I yelled “told you!!”

About 1/2 hour into being there I just had to tease him because he was clearly having a blast. I sarcastically yelled over a hawt Jason DeRulo song “are you ready to go now?” I’m sure you know he gave me a firm no on that one! As it turned out most of his friends and all the boys from his basketball team were there. He fit right in!

The last song of the night drew everyone (including parents) onto the floor. We did the cupid shuffle and laughed a bunch! I told my boy, “yo momma got it still!” On the drive home we talked. He explained how he never thought it would be so much fun. I guess that made me happy that I twisted his arm to go. I always loved dances when I was young and was actually the drill team captain in high school.

Thursday night may go down as one of my best nights in my history of parenting. It was a win for both D and I. As a parent, I convinced my son to venture out of his little box and he enjoyed it. Extra curricular activities are extremely important to education because they inspire children to grow mentally in unconventional ways.

Before D went to sleep, I kissed him on the cheek and smiled at him. I whispered, “always trust your mother! There is something magic about music.”

~°~ The Spirit of Place ~°~

September 23, 2013

The morning was crisp and I could feel the winter slipping into my bones. On Saturday, I got up while the stars were still twinkling. All night long I had various dreams about the special gathering I knew I was going to attend that morning. After making breakfast, I poured up the last cup of flavored coffee and headed out the door into the darkness.

The drive to the valley seemed different. The Pojoaque Valley looked peaceful early in the morning and I really couldn’t remember the last time I had that thought. During my descent I wondered what the Gathering for Mother Earth would be like? My cousin Jessica had invited me to the gathering last year, but I never made it. She insisted it was something I would love. I was happy to be on my way down to my home town. At one time, I said this was the place where I grew up, but I actually grew up several years later. I still continue to grow.

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Upon approaching the gathering site there were several invitational signs. The signs carried depictions of the sun and moon. There were also handmade signs which featured the symbolic turtle totem, one of Creator’s creatures who burrows into Mother Earth. The gathering is held not far from my childhood home. I would say maybe five miles away. There was a long, bumpy dirt road leading to the sacred space amongst the moon, trees, and the spirit of place. 
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~° Photograph of the moon in the Pojoaque sky by Felicia Lujan °~

When I got out of the vehicle, the first thing I noticed was a painted sky. The sky was alive with shades of pink, purple and blue and had two beautiful teepees in the distance. People were shuffling and beginning to gather. I was hoping I hadn’t missed the ceremony to usher in the sunrise. My cousin had told me that “the grandmothers would sing the sun up in Tewa.” I made it just in time. The moon was still high west in the Pojoaque sky.

I walked up a small embankment into a large circle of rocks. The grandmothers called to us and invited us into the circle. Within that circle there were two centered small circles of rocks. One of the small circles contained a pile of dirt which was likely symbolic of Mother Earth. The other had a fire burning. There were offerings of wood, corn meal and water near the fire. During the course of the gathering handfuls of these offerings were tossed into the fire in prayer and to ask for blessings.

There were about 40 people gathered into the circle. The ceremony started with the thoughts and prayers of the grandmothers. All of those in attendance were spiritually cleansed with a smudge stick. The smoke smelled like a combination of sage and lavender. One woman went around and ran smoke up and down each person’s body. Some people gave thanks. Some people stayed silent. Some people pushed the smoke into their lungs with their hands. A few different people spoke thereafter. They spoke about respect for Mother Earth and fostering an appreciation of her gifts.

When the rays of the sun started shooting over the mountains to the east we were asked to face that direction. While I waited for the sunrise, my heart heard the most beautiful prayers, songs and instruments. The drum, a rattle and a flute complimented each voice. The song of one particular woman brought tears to my eyes. I was moved and touched in ways which seem indescribable. I experienced overwhelming warmth once the sun was in full view. It seemed as though I was seeing the sun for the very first time. In a way, I was.

When I turned back to face the fire, I looked right past the flames. I was overcome by the enchanting beauty of the Black Mesa. The natural light cast a surreal glow from one end of the mesa to the other. Again it felt like the first time I had seen the mesa that I have seen a million times. It is hard to explain how all of this lifted my heart. I felt connected to the strangers experiencing this beauty with me. Lastly we participated in “a short version” of the cinnamon roll hug and then we were released from the circle with blessings.
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~° Photograph of the sunrise and the spirit of place in the Pojoaque sky by Felicia Lujan °~

This may be one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had. It made me feel good. It made me feel connected to people and place. It made me feel complete. The experience was nothing like my dreams. It was so much better and more beautiful than the mind of the creative could imagine. When the sun came up, I took a picture. In my photo, unexplainable red markings appeared around the sun. There is also a glowing red orb directly below the sun. I don’t know about you, but I believe I captured the spirit of place that day. I believe. The Gathering for Mother Earth was so amazing.

~° Natural products made by my cousin Jessica °~
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Inspired by Poison

February 15, 2013
~Cover of my new comic book~ Batman & Poison Ivy~ Her mind controlling pheromones don't work on him.

~Cover of my new comic book~ Batman & Poison Ivy~ Her mind controlling pheromones don’t work on him.

Poison Ivy has been my favorite super villainess from DC Comics for a while now. Last weekend I couldn’t resist picking up this new comic book which features Batman (the super hero and Dark Knight) and Poison Ivy (the super villainess with a PhD). Batman may be immune to this toxic woman, but he still played some part in her story. I used a page of the comic book on my security badge for work. Of course it was just a picture of the queen of green~ no Batman.

As a writer, I can’t help but dig that the Poison Ivy character was inspired by a short story written by the great Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864). I learned that last week. Hawthorne is a classic literary hero, but I had never read his short story **Rappaccini’s Daughter.** Tonight I discovered a copy of the story in the Electronic Text Center with the University of Virginia Library. Of course I read it and it is an awesome story! Wow… Just wow… I love Nathaniel and I love that this story inspired the creation of Poison Ivy. Now I see her as a good symbol for me.

Following are a few of the excerpts I found particularly powerful.
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“Soon there emerged from under a sculptured portal the figure of a young girl, arrayed with as much richness of taste as the most splendid of the flowers, beautiful as the day, and with a bloom so deep and vivid that one shade more would have been too much. She looked redundant with life, health, and energy; all of which attributes were bound down and compressed, as it were and girdled tensely, in their luxuriance, by her virgin zone.”
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“Night was already closing in; oppressive exhalations seemed to proceed from the plants and steal upward past the open window; and Giovanni, closing the lattice, went to his couch and dreamed of a rich flower and beautiful girl. Flower and maiden were different, and yet the same, and fraught with some strange peril in either shape.”
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“Approaching the shrub, she threw open her arms, as with a passionate ardor, and drew its branches into an intimate embrace — so intimate that her features were hidden in its leafy bosom and her glistening ringlets all intermingled with the flowers.”
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“For many days after this incident the young man avoided the window that looked into Dr. Rappaccini’s garden, as if something ugly and monstrous would have blasted his eyesight had he been betrayed into a glance. He felt conscious of having put himself, to a certain extent, within the influence of an unintelligible power by the communication which he had opened with Beatrice. The wisest course would have been, if his heart were in any real danger, to quit his lodgings and Padua itself at once; the next wiser, to have accustomed himself, as far as possible, to the familiar and daylight view of Beatrice — thus bringing her rigidly and systematically within the limits of ordinary experience. Least of all, while avoiding her sight, ought Giovanni to have remained so near this extraordinary being that the proximity and possibility even of intercourse should give a kind of substance and reality to the wild vagaries which his imagination ran riot continually in producing.”
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“He made a step towards the shrub with extended hand; but Beatrice darted forward, uttering a shriek that went through his heart like a dagger. She caught his hand and drew it back with the whole force of her slender figure. Giovanni felt her touch thrilling through his fibres. ‘Touch it not!’ exclaimed she, in a voice of agony. ‘Not for thy life! It is fatal!’
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“By all appreciable signs, they loved; they had looked love with eyes that conveyed the holy secret from the depths of one soul into the depths of the other, as if it were too sacred to be whispered by the way; they had even spoken love in those gushes of passion when their spirits darted forth in articulated breath like tongues of long-hidden flame; and yet there had been no seal of lips, no clasp of hands, nor any slightest caress such as love claims and hallows. He had never touched one of the gleaming ringlets of her hair; her garment — so marked was the physical barrier between them — had never been waved against him by a breeze.”
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“Farewell, Giovanni! Thy words of hatred are like lead within my heart; but they, too, will fall away as I ascend.”
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Giving a Sparkle

November 28, 2012
Salvation Army Bell Ringer

Salvation Army Bell Ringer

Today my son had a scheduled field trip. We spent the day visiting the Museum of Indian Art and Culture in Santa Fe. It was a long day full of learning, but the best part of my lesson was absorbed while sitting in my vehicle later in the afternoon.

Once the field trip ended, my son and I headed into town. I had a few errands to run. We were both really tired from the day so by the time I pulled into the store parking lot, D was asleep. Since I wanted him to rest I decided to be still and just sit and think.

I shut my engine off. The first thing I remember hearing is the faint sound of a bell ringing. I turned down my music and sat quietly. It was the sound of the Salvation Army bell ringer. He looked cold and discouraged standing near his “traditional red kettle.”

I sat there and watched the man for over a half an hour. From around 3:45pm to half past 4:00pm, only three of 22 people stopped at the kettle. Frankly I was rather surprised. Most didn’t even bother to look at the man. Each passed right by and the ringer watched them walk away.

Two young women did stop. I heard change drop into the kettle. Each exchanged a sincere smile with the bell ringer. Finally a woman came along that did something that I didn’t expect.

This woman came out of the store and stopped to talk with the man. She reached into her purse to hand over a bill. The bell ringer immediately turned to deposit the bill into the kettle, but the woman stopped him. I listened while she explained why she would like for him to keep the money. She told him “it is for you so buy you something nice.” Wow! I was amazed. While the woman headed to her car the man waved at her. He looked revitalized and happy.

I am far from wealthy. I do understand that things are hard for people now. Still, I believe that if you give you shall receive~ even if all you can give is yourself. I myself only gave what I could afford today. It wasn’t much, but it was something. As an anonymous donor maybe I am “helping those who would otherwise be forgotten” by giving a sparkle.

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Here are some things I learned tonight about the red kettle. The information was available on the Salvation Army web site.
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There are “millions of dollars donated each year to aid needy families, seniors, and the homeless, in keeping with the spirit of the season.”
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The tradition started in 1891 when “Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry.”
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That year, Captain McFee made a commitment and lost sleep over “feeding 1,000 of the city’s poorest individuals on Christmas Day.”
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The number of people helped was at least “150,000” in the 1900s and “today in the U.S., the Salvation Army assists more than four-and-a-half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.”
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A Rough Diamond

November 14, 2012
~Earrings I purchased from a woman in need of warmth on 11.11.12~

~Earrings I purchased from a woman in need of warmth on 11.11.12~

The wind was blowing hard on Sunday. I could feel the icy fingertips of old man winter clawing on my back. It was just another day. Another day to tread the cracked pavement of old parking lots. Another day to push my heavy basket of groceries up that same steep slope. Just another day to walk fast looking blindly on to my next task~ and then I saw her.

She was walking from person to person in the blistering cold. Her box of trinkets was wrapped tightly in her arms. I noticed her from a distance. She has a kind face. Under the dirt and tangled hair, there is beauty. Even with her best smile she was getting a solid “NO” from each person she asked.

The woman has approached me a few times over the last year. She carries a fancy little leather box filled with handmade jewelry she declares as her own. I have turned her down a few times under the summer sun. Sunday was different because I felt bad for her. She is likely addicted to drugs and homeless. I could have sworn I saw track marks once, but self induced paranoia can get the best of us. It was just so cold that day and it will only get colder.

Sometimes I wonder how we can stay warm when it is cold if we continue to cherish stone hearts? I lied to her at first. I told her the same story I tell all the others~ that I had paid with a check inside. She smiled at me politely, said thanks and walked away. When she was walking away, I noticed how red her face was. It was tarnished by the wind. She held on to her fancy fur hat when a gust almost snagged it away.

At that moment I realized I could afford to help her out even if it was just this once. I didn’t care what she would really use the money for. All I knew was that I was acting in good faith with a warm heart. Quickly rolling down my window I called to her. She came back and opened her case for me. I paid for a set of earrings that I didn’t need, but it made me feel good.

She was probably someone once~ yet she is still someone’s daughter and she may be someone’s mother. Now she has slipped into the shadows. It can be cold there~ but I must have faith that one day she will feel the warmth on her face again.

When Someone Touches Your Heart

October 25, 2012
Singing Justin Bieber Doll for a Little Girl Who Touched My Heart

Singing Justin Bieber Doll for a Little Girl Who Touched My Heart

I remember the first time I saw her over a year ago. She had long red locks of hair which I spotted from a distance. Every morning it was the same routine. The hallway of the charter school my son attends is always filled with bustling children. I can say that for me it is rare that one face ever stands out from hundreds. That small fireball had a special smile and a sweet, welcoming face. I never knew her name then. The girl was simply the nameless, cute, chubby, polite, happy, little girl with vibrant red hair, elaborate freckling, and eyelashes that were so blonde they seemed invisible. I guess since then, I knew that she seemed special. She never failed to deliver me a genuine grin- even back then. As it turned out, this year the girl is in my son’s class. Now I know her name. I am still impressed by her upbeat and friendly personality. This story is about her. She is the little girl who touched my heart today. To tell the story I have to go back to Columbus Day. I was off from work so I had volunteered in my son’s classroom for the day. That morning as the children piled in for school and put up there backpacks, I was distracted by ooohs and aaahs. When I turned around I saw “Star” touching the backpack of another little girl. She squealed in delight “Justin Bieber? Oh- you are so lucky. I love Justin Bieber.” I got a big kick out of that. Ever since that day, I wanted to get the girl a backpack. That afternoon after spending the entire day with the class “Star” asked me for my autograph. Flattered, but not really understanding why she wanted it, I penned my name as fancy as I could on her small pink notepad. This brings me to today. The class had a field trip to the Museum of International Folk Art, so I joined them. The museum educator planned an art project tied to Dia de Los Muertos for this trip. All of the children made beautiful memorial nichos for loved ones they have lost. “Star” apparently recently lost her grandfather, so her memorial was dedicated to him. On the way back to school from the museum, “Star” elected to sit by me on the bus. It was really the first time I had the chance to talk with her one on one. She asked about my son and how I liked the museum and I asked her if she would ask Santa for a Justin Bieber backpack for Christmas this year. My question sparked painful answers that I really was not prepared for. Today I learned that the sweet and kind little red head stays positive in the face of some of the toughest challenges. I was saddened to learn that: her father was fired after attending the recent funeral of his father and her grandfather; she doesn’t really see her mother because she is addicted to drugs; she lives with her grandparents; she is afraid of the dark but is trying to be brave; and she is an only child. Wow… I was floored by her revelations. I pride myself on being the best mother I can be and it chills me to think that some mothers are not there for their children. I turned to the girl and assured her that things would get better if she had faith. I assured her that no matter what problems her mother had, there was no doubt in my mind that she loved her. She seemed to find comfort in that. That was the moment- the moment I knew that I met the little girl with red hair for a reason. I cried thinking about everything on the way into town. It gave me the opportunity to talk to my son about the importance of appreciation and kindness. He too was shocked to learn about “Star’s” mother. I took my little man to have frozen yogurt and then we immediately went to buy something for the girl. I searched for a Justin Bieber backpack and couldn’t find one. There is no doubt that “Star” will be ecstatic when she discovers I did find her a singing doll. I can’t wait to see the look on her face in the morning. It will be a happy look on the face of a child who taught me a lesson and touched my heart. Now it all made sense to me. The day the girl asked for my autograph, I signed as a mother.

11*****Posted using WordPress for BlackBerry*****11


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