Beautiful Banyan

Banyan trees
Storybook greens
Fairies reside
In your village of leaves

If I were a child
I’d be lost in your places
Playing for hours
In your cracks and spaces

I sink like stones
Pleasure in your groans
Strange beauty of your bones
In this place I am known

Cradled by your arms
Rocked by your shade
Sing me to sleep
In sheets of memories made

There is peace here
Though stillness is rare
Protection from fear
Relief from care

Thank you, Banyan
I’m inspired by your reach
Exposing your roots
Is a graceful way to teach

 

Wild Kingdom

Anyone remember Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins? Well Mutual of Omaha sponsored our beach day yesterday! Saw all kinds of wildlife.

At 8:06, I was in the parking lot, ready to ride my bike. Rode 1.1 miles to the city beach, took some pix and headed back. Made it home by 8:40. So I went 2.2 miles in approx. 30 mins. I stopped for a short break on a bench. So I have already upped my game! It took me twice as long last time. Woot! So that’s like 4 miles an hour-ish.

Woke everyone up when I got back, then we headed to the beach. Water was clear and deep! The shore was up a few feet and the drop-off was steep. It’s nice because you can stay close to shore, but stand up just a few feet from the waterline. Very relaxing. The temp of the water was cool and the sun shining down was warm!

We toed around for shells. We bobbed around in the very mild waves. It hasn’t been that calm until yesterday. We giggled and relaxed. We goofed and joked around. It was amazing.

Then! We saw a freaking manatee! Sea cow! Whatever you call them. They are adorable!!! Squee!

I haven’t seen any large fish or mammals that close to shore yet. I think because the water was so deep and all the tourists have gone, we are seeing more marine life. It was unbelievable! Every time I don’t take my camera, I see something remarkable.

So, we were just sort of wading and swimming around, just a few feet from shore, and two people who were walking up and down the beach came briskly back to our position.

“There’s a manatee!” the woman shouted.

“Stay where you are, they are very docile! He’ll come right to you.” the man called.

My mouth was hanging open and I could only utter, “No way!”

All I said after that for a few minutes as the manatee passed by was, “Omigosh, omigosh, omigosh.” I wanted to cry.

The water wasn’t clear enough to see the manatee just a few feet from us, but we saw his/her shadow. He wasn’t very big, but he was big. I’ve seen a full-size adult manatee and they’re about the size of a small car. This one was slightly smaller. But still. BIG! He was probably Manatee Jr. I tried to dive and watch him pass, but the water was just a bit too cloudy.

I wanted to jump on his back and hug the stuffings out of him, but I restrained myself. I wasn’t sure if I should get up by him, so I stayed back. It was hard to stay still. He was within 6 feet. EEEE! But I decided NOT to molest this harmless sea creature.

He didn’t breach by us, I wish he had, but he breached for air just a few yards away and we saw his cute, little brown snout and tail. I was stunned.

Then we saw a few rays leaping out of the water. Again, stunning! Then my husband saw a black snake on the way back to the apartment.

For those of you who didn’t read, I saw a bobcat the other morning on the same path. Dangerous little walkway that is! We were on safari yesterday! lol

Lots of little fish in the water as well. Darting around us. Plus, I want to go at night sometime because we have sea turtles on our beach. I wouldn’t touch them, disturb them or bother them, but I would love to see them.

This is a very cool place. Hope we see another manatee sometime soon. They are so majestic, magnificent, marvelous! But does that mean a shark could come that close to shore? YIKES!!


If you just relax and let the world come to you, you will see amazing things.

Heart for Sale

This heart’s on sale.
Nobody’s buying.
Discounted deeply
Because it’s dying.

It’s been around the block
Beat-up and hard-used
It needs an overhaul
But everyone’s refused.

It needs a careful owner
Someone who knows hearts
Not a casual mechanic
Who doesn’t have extra parts.

I’ve tried to fix it myself
But I’m helplessly confused
I don’t know how to mend
This heart that’s been abused.

If you’re looking for fresh and new
And something that isn’t well-worn,
Then this heart is not for you
Or the love that it has borne.

312.4 lbs.

I had a very difficult month in July for weight loss. But I’m back to losing! I weigh 312.4 this morning. I’m down 7 lbs. this week so far and that feels great. I’m not exercising either. That’s the weird part. It’s strange not having to exercise to lose these pounds.

I do have to climb the stairs to our apartment several times a day. So maybe that’s helping. I haven’t been back on my bike lately because I have some strange foot pain. It feels a little gout-y, but I’m taking my gout medicine every day. I’m sure it will work out and I’ll be back on my bike in no time.

I really buckled down on sticking to no-calorie drinks and paying more attention to what I was eating, when I was eating it and how much. That’s paid off. It’s not just a matter of eating 3 squares. I have to space it out. Eat small meals. Slow down. Eat more protein. Take my time. Eat enough of the right kind of food. Sometimes I don’t eat enough! Recalibrate my diet and adjust! Get back to the basics. I know what to do, it’s easy though to slip back into old routines.

Glad to be going down again. I was getting a little nervous there. πŸ™‚ Probably just one of those plateaus that we all hit and I had to bust through. Phew.

Weight loss since surgery=144 lbs.
Total weight loss since 2012=201 lbs!!! Can you believe it???

Wooden Fence is Broken

If you walk this path,
The fence is broken.
Wood is rotting.
Hurt is spoken.

On this side,
Weeds grow tall.
Rails are split.
No flowers at all.

I don’t mind disrepair
And it doesn’t seem to fix.
But love wanders away from me
If I’ve got no tools or bricks.

I’m tired of trying
To mend this fence.
It’s hopeless work.
It doesn’t make sense.

I try again to build it up–
Have something strong.
But people come to kick it down,
Tell me that I’m wrong.

I’m done trying to mend it.
Best to let it fall.
After all, what’s a fence?
If not just another wall.

Now if you walk this path,
The fence has been removed.
The hurt is still securely there,
But the land is much improved.

Get me out of here.

tina in cabinet

Why am I in the cabinet? LOL

1974. I am willingly sitting in the cabinet. Under the stove, from the looks of it. I think this is where the Cheetos were kept.

This is my favorite place to sit. Hide. Eat. Play.

Some days I wish I could go back there and shut the door.

How could anyone be mean to little ol’ Me?


Plastic lids and drooling kids.
Baby blues and blondie ‘dos.
Slack-jawed, already flawed.
Only 1 year. How’d I get here?
Shut the door, please!

Eating Popsicles in the Bathtub

Eat your treat in the tub, please.
That should make clean-up a breeze.

It’s okay if your pop drips.
It’s okay if you’ve got messy lips.

You’ve chewed the flavor clear to the stick!
Splinters on the tongue if you take one more lick.

Just don’t leave your wooden handle
On top of my aromatherapy candle.


Old pic of Lilli-2009. Another shot for film photography class. Love this shot. Candid. And I like the composition as well. It’s a bit washed out, but I don’t mind. πŸ™‚ I like the contrast of the dark shower wall and her dark features with the bright, white tub and curtain.

Doxxed

You want to wave your Nazi flag?
You want to scream “Nigger” and “Fag”?
You were taught to fear the Jew.
Prepare to be brought into full ugly view.
Prepare to be doxxed.

You should have somewhere learned
Grace and freedom is not burned.
Someone should have taught you love, not fear.
Someone should have made that clear.
Prepare to be schooled.

You want to privately hate.
You want to march and congregate.
But you don’t want anyone IRL to know.
You don’t want your bigotry to show.
Prepare to be fired.

It’s not okay to hide behind
A blazing torch of hatred blind.
You want to stand up for your rights?
But you want privilege for Only Whites.
Prepare to be rode out of town on a rail!

Tarred and feathered online.
Exposed as a racist for all time.
We don’t cotton to your kind.
A safe harbor you will not find.

Prepare to be doxxed. Exposed. Fired. Rejected.
I would never share your information, but I will remember your face.
Americans, don’t let it happen again.

Tough Love

I hate being the Mom. Being the Mom sucks sometimes.

I love being the Friend. The Goof. The Lollipop Fairy. The Boo-boo Kisser. The Cheerleader. The Philosophy Teacher. But I hate being the Mom.

The Mom–defined as the Law Giver. The Layer Down of the Law. The Disciplinarian. The New Sheriff In Town. The Obliterator of Fun. The Queen of Rules.

When my child comes to me and has a problem, my first inclination is to care for her emotions. Natch. But when the behavior continues without benefit from a pep talk or correction, I have to buckle up and hunker down.

My child is an easy one. She’s open to correction, soft-hearted, fair-minded, vulnerable, caring and intentional. Except when she’s not.

And when she’s not? I’m at a loss.

Lately, she’s been resisting change and challenge. This is a normal sign of teenage growing pains. Right? The urge to resemble a couch. I should know, I was a teenager and very much resembled our living room sofa.

She’s almost 14 and showing all the signs of impending, hard-core teen-tric lethargy. It’s concerning. I’m worried about her slipping off into depression if we don’t combat her lack of motivation.

That was my problem. That is a problem of teens, IMO. My freshman year was my most vulnerable. I tried to commit suicide my freshman year because I felt so isolated. Living by rules, wanting independence. On the cusp of adulthood, but still a child. Wanting total acceptance from EVERYONE, including your parents, NO MATTER WHAT!

These unrealistic desires could make any person frustrated, confused and DEPRESSED! Not to mention dealing with complex societal and peer group issues with a not-fully-matured frontal lobe. Suffering from inexperience, lack of impulse and emotional control, and hormonal imbalance.

With my mental illness history, I feel justified in being, at the very least, concerned. And she herself said, without prompt from me, “I’m unmotivated.” That’s awesome self-reflection and honesty. Great sign for us as we tackle her dissatisfaction.

Honestly, she has no reason to be dissatisfied. She has a nice, cozy home. Food to eat. Clothes (nice clothes) on her back and a good school. She has all the conveniences of modern society. I take her to school and pick her up. I am here for her in the morning and when she gets home. She is emotionally supported. And by Dad as well. But dissatisfaction is lying just under the covers of her more-than-adequate, queen-sized, Princess-and-the-Pea mattress.

Why?

It also doesn’t seem to matter that I remind her of her blessings. Put her life into perspective, in sharp contrast to those who have very little and have no opportunity to receive an education or are shot trying to get one. That has no lasting effect. I realize in my attempt to give her the finer things, I have denied her appreciation and gratitude.

We as a society are suffering from the same plight. Teenage apathy. Things are so nice that we forget how lucky we are. We are so dissatisfied after achieving some degree of success that we have to buy a therapist to figure out why. I’ve realized this, but my daughter hasn’t achieved any level of enlightenment in regard to privilege. And even so, do we act any differently? Or do we still chase those materialistic dreams of apparent success?

In my own life, I have accepted the ups and downs of luxury and deprivation. Some days you will suffer and at other times you will have plenty. Days with money aren’t stress free. You have to manage that money. No one has a money tree in their backyard. Any amount of money requires management. It helps when there’s enough to manage. I will say that’s less stressful. But having enough is only slightly less nerve-racking.

I try to be thankful for whatever situation I find myself in and remind myself, no matter what, you’re still breathing. It helps when you’ve been near death to frame life in this way. But I don’t want my daughter to experience what I have to know her place and value and blessing. I want to spare her that. But am I denying her an education in the lesson of life if I try to shield her from any pain or suffering? I’m not sure.

Last night, I showed her frustration on my part. I tried to be soft and kind, but I also let her know how frustrated I was. We try to be honest about our feelings. I let her know, “I’m trying here.” This was in response to her growing dissatisfaction with home, school, life in general. I could tell she was checking out. I could tell she was uncomfortable and uneasy. And she was. We are pretty in tune. Our whole family tends to wear our hearts..well, all over the outside, not just on the sleeve! LOL

I let her know, I’m trying to encourage. Prepare. Provide help-physical and mental. Shop for school supplies. Walk her into the office to learn about lockers. Pick up and drop off. Attend back-to-school nights. Be here physically while she’s adjusting. Help with homework. Communicate. Ask questions. Love. Listen. Linger. Snuggle up at night and let our hair down. Let go of the reins, at times. But doing all the right things doesn’t always leave her happy, well-adjusted or satisfied. That’s tough.

My happy, joyful, outgoing daughter has turned into the occasional emotional lump of tears. That makes me anxious, nervous, concerned. Frustrated.

I don’t want to guilt her. But I’m beginning to understand the power of wielding this device judiciously. Ugh. I hate that. But. A little frustration and letting her know how exasperated I might be? May be the only medicine. And it’s a jagged pill for her to swallow. But it’s also a tough pill to administer. You know the old saying, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” Now I understand. Except my parents said that about spanking, not tough emotional love. LOL

Sometimes you wanna scoop your kids up. But sometimes scooping doesn’t work. Sometimes you have to be tough and show them, you got it pretty good, Kid. Appreciate it.

*Old man voice* “Back in my day, we rode a cow to school! And we liked it! Thankful to have a cow! And a school! And a butt made for cow-riding!”


NOTE: I did not ride a cow to school. But my mom did. LOL πŸ™‚


What I really want for her is to know God deeply. To rely on him. What I really want is to see her help and work hard and get dirty in the business of God service. I’m hoping after graduation, she and I could find an outreach to really help people. Maybe even overseas. But that scares me. Mission work. Would I be endangering her life with illness or violence?

The Bible says:
Romans 14:8
“for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

I have to trust that God will protect us if we are about his business. He has plans to prosper, not hurt. But she has to decide what’s right for her. I trust her in that. That is a good feeling! And I know, I never want to be separate from her. That much I know.

And I want her to decide what’s best. Not become what Mom wants, not just do what Mom says. I just want to be a good mom and support her in whatever she does, wherever she goes, whatever decisions she makes. She may want to be a full-blown NYC artist or LA Nintendo character designer or international aid worker. Or Floridian housewife. πŸ™‚ Whatever she does, she will change the world, offer kindness and show God through her spirit. That much I know.

I’m waiting patiently for her to make a decision about where she wants to go after school. It’s still 4 years away. Who knows where life will take us. Who knows what she will want in 4 years or what opportunities she will have. We have to be stable for the next 4 years to get to where God will have us. I think she deserves a 4-year period of stability to get through high school. To prepare her. To ride out this rough patch of frontal lobe and heart development! LOL

I’m ready for anything though. So is she. She has such a willing heart at times. She’s up for adventure, as I am, when we have each other to be brave. She’s my best friend. It took courage to get to Florida. Who knows what God wants for your life until you’re knee-deep in it, right?

After our come-to-Jesus moment last night, she had a pretty good morning. Praying that she has a great day. I pray that every day. But this morning I cringed at the thought of tough love after I dropped her off. But sometimes, it’s required.

Les is More

More from Present Tense, Vol. 2


Les. His name is Les–in bright, white, shiny-stitched letters on a red oval just over the pocket. Dark gray uniform.
Mr. Les. Our elementary school janitor/maintenance man.

Les has a smiling face even when his lips may not be turned. His eyes are perpetually up/happy/sweet/youthful. Light blue, effervescent, smiling icicle eyes. Mr. Les takes our tickets at lunch. He takes our tickets and gives out winks and smiles.
He pinches the small carnival ticket between his thumb and the fleshy lower section of his curled up index finger. He does this with kindness, gentility and ease; as if he’s softly
offering his hand to a nervous dog.
His job does not diminish him in spirit or in body. He energetically does his tasks even
though his perfectly white hair reveals his age. And his pride does not grimace at the simplest/basest of tasks. He sprinkles magic janitor dust on vomit, pee and all manner of stains. Dutifully.
He is friendly to all. He is especially nice to me. I respect him. I have no reason not to. His humility and warmth are rare. He is decent. He is tender.
He is an uncommon man. Hero.
The air is crisp. The wind is swift. He carries me from the playground when I twist my ankle and can’t walk. He carries me all the way to the healthroom. I’m at least 100 lbs.

The air is warm. The wind is still. He puts his arm around me, pats my back, reassures me that I am loved and respected when a girl threatens my friends and me at recess. “We’re going to miss you around here when you leave.” Tears.


I love you, Mr. Les. I don’t know where you are, or if you’re even still here, but you were/are a good man. And you made this child happier. Thank you.