Category Archives: Lemon Moment

Cube Walk On A Fake Spring/Winter Day

I rendered my walk goal as a cube root, expressed in miles. Think of it as a GED test for an exceptionally warm winter Tuesday afternoon. (I did the base number wrong on purpose, just to make the math not be even.) 70° in January? Mother nature must have had a glass of wine.

During this beautiful and energetic walk, I was imagining the most brilliant mathematics teacher. The hair would be in a mess, socks unmatched, and their communication ability equivalent to a horse tapping out Morse code. They probably know everything in the world about math. People looking at them and listening to them would be so distracted by their presentation that they would erroneously conclude that they couldn’t possibly be intelligent.

Which leads me to point out that people can have a surprisingly vast knowledge about something. But those around them don’t appreciate it. Or can’t see past whatever visual or auditory filter that’s blocking them.

It’s too bad y’all weren’t walking with me this afternoon. One of you could have carried the six pieces of chalk I exhausted on the various surfaces around me. We could have shared the music too. It was divine.

Even now I have to double check that it’s not spring. 

I climbed a pretty good-sized tree too. But the thicket that scratched and pulled at me that I traversed was much more interesting.

Pretty damn good day.

More than I have a right to ask for, but one for which I’m grateful.

Love, X

The Chameleon Of Nostalgia

To burn this bright all the time would be my demise. I awoke at 2:30 this morning, already feeling that sensation of otherworldly lightness. And so I navigated my day at work, my feet boundless. Even after work, both my mind and my feet were creative and I did a few projects as if I were two people, one focused on the task at hand and the other in my head, writing. But the sunlight streamed through my large front windows and the prisms danced and cast rainbows all over me and across the new rainbow light I made today.

So I decided to get 5 miles over my normal amount for the day. I grabbed my keys and headed out, even though I still had on my work shoes from 12 hours earlier. Lord, what a good decision it was. The breeze, sublime, the sun just warm enough, several dogs to stop and pet, and some good music. Though I am unlike most of my contemporaries and enjoy a lot of current music, I opted for ’80s rock. And the very first song was “Sweet Child Of Mine.” I had no choice but to sing part of it, my ears encased in prehistoric headphones. Had someone stopped and said, “You sound terrible,” I would have said, “…at least I don’t LOOK like Axl Rose these days.”

It made me think of my cousin Jimmy. He loved Metallica and copied most of the hairstyles of the band as it transitioned. He would have shaken his head at me and asked me to please stop the screeching. I of course would have ignored him. At which point he would have joined in, his voice equally absent any trace of singing ability.

There’s no doubt I don’t sing well. There’s equal certainty I enjoy a good day. I tend to have a lot of energy. Even when I’m sitting still. It’s why I annoy people and say I don’t get bored. I have to really work at it to feel the sensation.

But I walked and walked and watched the brilliant sunlight grow longer and cast increasingly somber shadows.

I can’t say that tomorrow I will burn as bright. I am fond of saying though, that I can own the moment and memory no matter what.

Maybe there’s a word to describe a simultaneous lightness of being rendered as a chameleon of nostalgia.

I can’t walk forever. And even so the number of days ahead of me is certainly much fewer than those ahead. If this were to be the last photo of me,.. even though I took it myself, it’s fitting. Please don’t “at” me for triggering any possible morbid connotation. Having lived it, no one can tell me that it’s impossible that it might be so.

I’m grateful.

What a beautiful afternoon..

Love, X

A Cup And A Walk

Earlier, the urge to walk in this beautiful weather overwhelmed me. Erika wasn’t as enthusiastic about the idea, but I sold her with the insistence that once we started walking, it would be both beautiful and enjoyable. My 5-minute Rule seldom lets me down in terms of procrastination and enjoyment. We went to the Carol Scypc Trailhead in Johnson. It’s proximate and like the rest of the trail, it’s gorgeous. For fans of dapper Don Moore, that’s where you’ll likely see him walking his dog Diego.

A couple of weeks ago as I entered the apartment, my cat Gùino overzealously ran in front of me to get to the anticipated plate of cat juice that he knew would be waiting for him. I had to let go of everything in my hands because of the certainty I was going to faceplant. My favorite coffee cup lost the battle with the ensuing collision with the floor. Pieces flew in every direction. On a whim I collected and kept the pieces. When the motivation struck me, I glued it inexpertly back together.

With that in mind, on today’s walk, I took the repaired cup and a piece of wire with me on the walk. The cup is one I made myself, inscribed with the reminder of, “Choose Your Hard.” I owe that one to my cousin Lynette. Her picture is also on the cup. The choose-your-hard motto simply put is a reminder that you’re going to have to put the work in one way or another, either at the front end when it’s easier, or after, when you face the consequences of poor decisions.

When Erika and I were most of the way back, we stopped at the last bridge junction so that I could hang the cup in a tree near the bubbling creek. I think she sometimes grows weary of me telling her how striking she is when the sun hits her face and shoulders. For those of you familiar with the trail, it’s near the spot where two ancient pickup trucks sit at the perimeter of the trail. It’s also where I placed a keepsake watch of mine a few months ago. I hated to let the cup go and sometimes that’s when I feel most satisfied when I part with something. Everything is going to go one way or another. It’s good practice. And I hope that people will look at it quizzically and with enough curiosity to occasionally walk over to it to investigate. I’ve placed dozens of things along the trails and the places around here in Fayetteville. Some obscured, some in plain sight.

A cup, a reminder, and a beautiful January Saturday afternoon.

Was it worth it to venture out and have the experience? Hell yes. Such a simple thing.

Love, X

Squirrel Lemon Moment

I descended to the trail with a bag of surprises, hopeful one of the squirrels of the local squadron by the creek would come down from the trees. 42° struck me as wildly warm. The sunlight was diaphanous as it penetrated the fluffy clouds. As soon as I poured the surprise onto the transformer the squirrel made two heroic and timed leaps from way up into the tree onto the surface. I stepped back so it could feast. It didn’t disappoint me. The squirrel stuffed its face ferociously. In less than 2 minutes, it had consumed and/or packed its mouth with every last morsel.

Why it made me happy? I don’t know. When I last lived in Springdale, I wasn’t nice to the squirrels because they destroyed everything. I think I’ve exceeded my karma for them in the last couple of years. I leave peanuts and food out for them and if they chew things they’re not supposed to, I replace them or fix them. As I walked away, the squirrel nimbly ascended back to the treetops. I finished my break and went back to work.

Christmas Color Column

I wanted to do something at work, a something that included everyone. Christmas is upon us after all. My first idea originated with finding pictures of everyone when they were younger. I mostly succeeded and especially enjoyed a few that were very difficult to find.  Erika prompted me to do something more ornate… which also coincides with my innate tendency toward ostentatious. It took on a life of its own. I loved the reactions of people who were tickled by both the display and the delight of seeing people differently than they had before. A reminder that we are not simply workers and that each of us has a road behind us. Each of us has our own idea of what Christmas means. I would trade it all if everyone substituted in its place a year-long effort to surprise people with small gifts and small affections. And yes, even pictures that make some people cringe at the way they once looked.

I looked at my Christmas column filled with pictures after I turned the warehouse lights off this morning to observe the brilliant color where such color is usually absent. A column of interconnected people. It might as well have been a tapestry of everyone on the planet.

I thought to myself, “I made that!” I took an idea and added a little work and made it a reality. 

… were that life were so simple.

People. Color. Love.


Lost On A Xmas Morning

Driving around in the dark in an unfamiliar place on a cold December morning was an adventure and quite unsettling. My front tire pressure was a little low; when I stopped in an attempt to air it up, the valve cap wouldn’t turn. I proceeded onward with my Santa surprise into Farmington. Santa never lets a fatigued reindeer slow him down, so it seemed imperative that I continue my quest. That was the plan, anyway. The roads had other plans. I’m sure my Google Maps location history looks like a fifth-grader drew it with a penchant for circularity. As I found my way into the target neighborhood, it occurred to me that I was indeed behaving suspiciously. I laughed and crept up to the house in question and attempted to leave the Xmas surprise as quietly as I could. My laugh was a bit loud in the quiet, still group of houses. Though it wasn’t as loud as my hyperactive imagination led me to believe, I might as well have been clanging an old discordant set of cymbals outside the house. A light came on a couple of houses down. Adding to my suspicious demeanor, I jogged back down to my car, which I had left two houses down. I imagined the owner of the light calling the police: “There’s a brightly colored clown car on the street, and whoever is driving it is jogging around and laughing!”

Familiar streets were a welcome sight as I made my way back home!

Merry Christmas, Leigh. And Merry Xmas to everyone else, too.

Give anyone behaving suspiciously a moment to do their thing. Sometimes the weirdos bring gifts.

Love, X

PS The picture is a designated Hug Zone I established at work. It’s obvious that many people aren’t getting the USDA-recommended number of quality hugs they need to be happy.

What Do You See?

Though it was cold and blustery after work, I walked alongside the store and around the back. I walked too fast down the steep concrete culvert. The leaves slipped under my feet and reminded me that I couldn’t fly. Had I fallen into the dirty water, I would have laughed. It wouldn’t have affected my day. My victory was that I resisted jumping from the lip of the culvert to the cart; I wanted to.

Although the picture contains garbage, it was a moment of beauty for me. A single bird flew to the broken fence and hollered toward me. I took out my phone to take a picture. The bird flew above me and away.

I don’t blame anyone for seeing only garbage. That’s where the observer in us filters what we see. The blue of the discarded shopping cart sitting derelict in the water was much more vibrant than it appeared.

The day started with sublimated subduedness for me. I’m not accustomed to that.

The 21st is the shortest day of the year for us.

I look out the window, past my cat atop the cat castle, and see the purplish-hued prism swinging in the wind. Behind it, the sun already sliding below the horizon.

Eyes to see, ears to hear, fingers to touch.

It’s more than many get.

Love, X

Lemon Moment of Xmas

When I went to the square, I got there early. There was only one street musician setting up to play. I dropped some money in his case and asked him if I could sing Feliz Navidad with him.  “Hell yes, you can!” And so it came to pass as he played his guitar artfully, he sang the bilingual version while I accompanied him purely in Spanish. None of my co-workers, both current and past, had yet arrived.

Sometimes, getting there early makes all the difference.

For reasons I can’t explain, I think I will always remember standing there near the inside corner of the Fayetteville square on a weird, warm December evening. Singing.

And waiting for friends.

If that’s not Christmas, I don’t know what is.

Love, X

A Lemon Moment And A Revelation

I stopped at the inconvenience store on the way home. The Nepali clerk was stocking the lottery scratch-off rolls. She had one loose one left that she didn’t want to place loosely in the holder. “Do you want it?” she asked. “No,” I initially replied. But then I realized I should tempt fate. “How much is it?” I asked. “$10 dollars.” Hmmm. “Well, okay, let’s tempt fate. Maybe this will be one of those stories of coincidence.” The guy behind me said, “That would be amazing!” I took it over by the self-scanner and scratched the reader strip without bothering with the top half. I won my $10 back. Though it sounds stupid, for just a moment, I had this feeling that perhaps the universe was about to open one of its rare surprise boxes for me. The clerk and the other man felt it too. We all laughed in recognition of thinking that maybe we almost witnessed a surprise.

As I headed to my car, two addicts approached, a man and a woman. I recognized the man from a previous encounter. He’s difficult to understand. They were walking a large, sweet-natured dog, which I kneeled and petted. I figured out the man wanted a cigarette, so I went inside and got them cigarettes. The woman was beyond appreciative. They moved to the side of the building to smoke. She held her back in a certain way, which I recognized as serious back pain. She’d seen better days. Her clothes were dirty, and her hair was probably a mess three days ago. But she smiled back at me, even as she seemed to understand what her male companion was saying. Though I grew up with the worst mumbler on the planet, my dad, I scarcely understood every fifth word her companion uttered. The woman looked at me again and made eye contact.

I smiled back, hoping an infusion of a bit of my energy might reach her.

You never know.

About any moment.


Earlier in the week, I received an unprovoked attack email that denigrated me with seething anger. Happy people don’t write words like those. I felt sorrow and sympathy for the author. I’m certain that the author doesn’t understand that the mere act of sending such an email telegraphs to anyone with an appreciation for human behavior and psychology that they are unhappy. Part of their motivation was to be a revisionist of the past; that’s normal, and everyone does it. People need to buttress their self-image. Revisionists are easy to spot because of their reluctance to admit wrongdoing or cast themselves in a questionable light. That’s not to say that some of what they wrote isn’t accurate! It is incomplete, however.

The other part was an attempt to silence me when I write about parts of my life that overlap. I go out of my way most of the time to avoid spilling people’s secrets or the things that they prefer to be kept hidden. Most people aren’t like me. They won’t share their warts, believing that people don’t otherwise know. This is one of the reasons I can’t be blackmailed. I’ll spill my secrets regardless of whether I need to. I’ll release nude pictures of myself after eating six Happy Meals. I don’t care. It’s hard to shame someone who willingly shares their life. I think back to dealing with some of my family, who spent years failing to dissuade me from finding out some of my family history.

As for convincing people that they have the wrong idea about me, that’s foolish. If people have only a partial story, it’s hard to blame them for listening to the person with the ax to grind. “Only the spoon knows what is stirring in the pot” is always an apt phrase to remember. As for the rest, slander is when you willfully and knowingly speak mistruths, and libel is when you write them. And if it is true? It’s neither.

It’s odd to see self-righteousness from someone who doesn’t share their full story. I don’t feel self-righteous precisely because I’m the first to say I’ve been a hypocrite. But I’m not ashamed to share the stupid things I’ve done. But I do know that I know a lot that would embarrass the hell out of people. It’s not my job to share it, nor do I want to. I write about this when I reference seeing behind so many people’s curtains.

I willingly open my curtains, even if makes you wonder if I’ve lost my damn mind.

I won’t open your curtains unless it overlaps with my story.

Go be happy.

It’s easy NOT to hear me or read my words. Change the channel, don’t look at my social media or blog, and just live a happy life.

Love, X