Category Archives: Lemon Moment

Give Them The Words

Less than a week before my emergency surgery, I wrote a letter to someone who needed a living eulogy and to hear that he was appreciated. The timing of me writing and giving him the letter seems prophetic to me now. I wonder what my words might have meant had things gone differently with my emergency surgery. The lovely thing is that I overcame my awkwardness by sharing my intimate thoughts with another adult, something we don’t do enough. I don’t have to wonder about the alternate future because I chose to silence the voice in my head that said, “Don’t give him the note.” I hate that my first reaction is sometimes to pull back. Over the last year, the barrier I have to do so continues to disintegrate – and I’m as proud of that as I am of my weight loss.

Yesterday, the person who received the letter proved himself worthy of my praise. He went beyond the scope of work and reached out to help another human being, one who was experiencing a difficult day. It’s the only thing that matters. We’re not going to remember bad decisions and particular moments if someone proves that they will walk that extra mile and outside of all their comfort zones. “Trust your instincts,” I told him. They’ve worked out well for him so far. And if they push him to risk reaching out to help someone else, they are the best possible instincts.

Life will continue to beat us all up in unexpected moments; it’s a certainty. Each of us needs to be the giver and the receiver of compassion and understanding when we can. It will be our turn on both ends of this spectrum when we least expect it.

Yesterday, at work, something else happened that I can’t specify due to privacy. All of us mobilized without a second thought, seeing someone suffering and needing both immediately physical help and presence. It lingered with me. The person I wrote the letter to was also one of those who went above and beyond again to jump into spontaneous action. Life and work would be so much lesser without him; that was one of the points I tried to communicate to him.

As I exited the convenience store this morning after buying multidraw lottery tickets, a young woman with bright xanthous hair (I love that word!) sat in her vehicle. She animatedly shook her phone. She was obviously upset. I crossed in front of her to go to my car. As I unlocked my door, I looked over toward her and saw that she was looking over at me. I smiled and made the universal motion for her to roll her window down. Had she not, I would have understood. Strangers are always a risk. Her passenger window went down. “Do you need anything?” The words popped out of my mouth as they often do. Being awkward didn’t occur to me. “I need a miracle,” she said, her voice uneven. “Do you like your mom?” I asked her. She nodded and said, “Yes, she is pretty cool for a mom.” I smiled again and then said seriously, “Well, call her and talk to her about it. Call her right now. That’s what good moms are for.” The girl with the xanthous hair seemed a bit bewildered. “Okay, I think I will. You’re right. This is ridiculous.” I told her to have a good talk with her mom and waved goodbye. I drove away and saw that she was looking at her phone, probably to make a call. I wondered if she’d tell her mom about the odd man in the vest and suit jacket at the convenience store, telling her to call.

I gave her the words.

Love, X
.

Life Doesn’t Wait

I stood in the gravel, looking toward a mixture of history and nature, my head overwhelmed with the fact that just twelve days earlier, I thought I might die. I watched the sunlight through the trees and listened to the background of insects and the bustle of distant voices. The blanket of joy at just being alive and in such a beautiful place flooded me so overwhelmingly that I could barely muster the strength to film myself talking. I stopped filming when I felt my breath catch and the certainty of tears choked me. I’ve watched the clip several times over the last few weeks; each time, I reconnect with the gratitude of such a moment. No one has seen this clip. It’s not because I’m worried about how I look or sound; rather, it’s because I know that no one would recognize how much it took to just say the words without succumbing to the emotion.

It’s 52 days since my surgery. It’s been a year of moments in the interim. But I go back to that Sunday afternoon, knowing I’d be around to figure out what in the hell I am supposed to be doing. My experience was just a blip compared to what others are struggling with. I am so grateful for that decision to visit the place in the woods, so close to so many people and history.

Nevertheless, here’s the takeaway: people are the answer. Not places. Not moments. Sharing your time with friends and loved ones.

Your surprise will come soon enough. It’s inevitable.

If you can, appreciate what you have, who you are, and who you’re with.

Love, X

P.S. I’ll put a picture I took of my surgery incision from the bed when I fully woke up in the comments. It motivates me to overcome my anxiety.

Fairy Lights & Foxes

At 2 a.m. I stood out on the landing, looking at the glow of the fairy lights I strung yesterday. Güino excitedly examined them with me. When I looked up toward Gregg Avenue, a fox was running South down the middle of the street. It was an unexpected sight. I hope to see more such things today.

.

.

When we went inside, I rolled him with a lint roller, still one of his favorite things.

.

.

Today would have been my brother’s 56th birthday.

Now Fondly Remembered

The fool on the far right with the fluorescent ‘X” on his jacket is me. I was the flower girl when my Mom and Dad remarried each other. They remarried exactly 29 years after their first marriage. 10,483 days have passed since this picture was taken.

My parents really were experts at drinking and driving. But for this moment, no matter how terrible the road behind them, they were happy. Dad died nine months later. Mom was not charged. (That last sentence is supposed to make you laugh.)

It is the only picture I know of where everyone was smiling. Even my brother Mike was smiling with glee. I wish I could always remember him, and Carolyn and Bobby Dean, like this.

Everyone in the picture is dead now – except for me. Dad died at 49, Mike at 54, and Mom at 67.

Fondly, remembered.

Love, X
.

A Home That Doesn’t Need Improvement

I don’t work for a home improvement store. This evening, for a few minutes, I did though. After getting electrical boxes, I wandered the store. A man was eyeing the work tables. Because I’d done the same thing before, I said, “You’re thinking about using that as a kitchen table, aren’t you?” He looked at me, surprised. “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m thinking. But I don’t have a truck to haul it.”

“This store rents a flatbed truck with raised sides fairly cheaply. They’ll help you load it. Buy it before you change your mind. I made that mistake.”

He didn’t take it wrong. In fact, his eyes lit up. “Sold!” he said. “My wife is going to love this. She loves this sort of industrial look. I’ll get it as her birthday present.”

I smiled, imagining him showing up at his house with a work table for the kitchen. And imagined a wife who’d love to receive that kind of gift. He already won the game, though he might not realize it.

I walked out of the store and stood in the parking lot, watching the advancing rain come toward me. When I got back to the apartment, I changed clothes. As the rain thundered in, I stood outside and let it baptize me in the way that only a good rain can. It was a chilly rain but it didn’t seem to lessen my enthusiasm.

Love, X

Judge Not The Book

After doing a lot of painting today, I cleaned. Because I’m a minimalist at heart, I also like to combine and discard. I headed out to the dumpster with my arms loaded. A black SUV drove in next to me. As I was throwing things into the lovely dumpster, population 13,436 flies, two of the three people in the SUV exited and walked over to me talking. It didn’t occur to feel like they were up to no good. “What’s up with your shirt, man?” one of them asked me. They stopped two feet away from me. “I sewed it that way. It’s custom. I call them ripshirts. If it tears, you just sew it again with another wild color.” They looked at each other. “Dude, you should totally market that sh*t. That is dope, for sure.” I laughed. “They take a lot of time to make by hand.” One of them said, “Well, then charge a lot. That’s one of a kind.” Though it’s not germane, I should say that they were young black guys. They both fist-bumped me.

As they walked toward a downstairs neighbor, I said, “You should totally bang on the door and shout ‘POLICE!.’ Both of the guys burst out laughing. The guy waiting in the SUV stuck his head out, laughing uproariously at my comment. One of the guys said, “Yeah, for sure, next time we’re going to do that.” I laughed. “Next time? Do it at every house you go to. People say they want excitement in life. Give it to them.”

I love my ripshirts and that they take so much time to make. That’s three times today someone has complimented me unexpectedly on my wild sense of color and creativity. I needed it today, believe me. Four, if you count the clerk who loved my brooch that I made yesterday. I took it off and gave it to her. She gladly accepted it and put it on her shirt immediately. I don’t know her name. I’d like to think it was Joy or Happy.

Love, X

P.S. I love random moments and I’d like to thank the universe for this one. My head was starting to be a cyclone of anxiety. I apologize for the selfies.

The Fire Inside

When I came home, I let the cat prowl the deck as I painted two metal birds. The sky darkened and the wind grew a bit chillier. As the traffic increased due to the hour, I could hear the approaching train as its horn crescendoed. It was the Arkansas & Missouri excursion train, its middle cars dotted with observing faces. I waved like Forrest Gump. This time, several people returned my wave.

Went I went inside, someone wrote me a message through my blog: “I hope you don’t mind. I made a poster out of your picture after you posted it the second time. There’s something about it that just hits me and reminds me to stop worrying about being so weird.” I smiled as I read the message. What a small world it is, where I can make a picture and have it resurface periodically on the internet. They went on to mention another picture, similar in composition, that they have printed in a smaller frame. I’ll put it below the sign-off.

I’m going to go back to the landing with Güino and watch the slow rain dampen the October air. And I’ll think about the importance of not hiding my light under a bushel, even as time pours increasingly fast into an invisible funnel.

Love, X

.

.

“It’s not just about language; it’s about the futility of not expressing your thoughts.” – X

Ghost Prank!


Modern ghosts use higher thread count – and certainly more stylish colors.

I pranked my neighbor by carefully walking across the apartment landing and triggering both of her cameras as I wore my stylish ghost costume.

Long live Halloween. (And goofiness, too!)

Love, X

P.S. My cat Güino has commandeered my ghost suit. I was going to go to the other end and knock on the neighbor’s door and say something clever.

Another Wallet

I walked a few times today. Though the sun beat down on me for the third walk, it was a beautiful day. Work is speeding toward me. Walking along a side street not far from the trail and Gregg, I saw what I knew to be someone’s wallet. This was one of the slim-design ones, with a narrow band to contain cards along both sides. Because of the volume of people passing through, I knew that the wallet had recently been dropped, most likely out of a cyclist’s pocket. This is the third wallet I’ve found this year. In both of the previous cases, I had to investigate their whereabouts on the internet. Both owners were very pleased that I’d found them.

Today’s wallet had a bit of cash, a driver’s license, as well as the person’s social security card, and two credit cards. Luckily for me (and for the owner), an internal slot had a couple of business cards. I called the number on the business card because the last name emblazoned on it matched the driver’s license surname.

When he answered, I said, “This isn’t a car warranty call! Do NOT hang up.”

“Okay,” he said. “Good pitch. What are you selling?” He was half-laughing.

“Car warranties,” I said, and laughed. “But no, really, if you’ll describe your wallet, I’ll tell you.”

He was silent for a couple of seconds. “Thank god. You found it?”

“Yes,” I think so. He described the wallet perfectly. Just to be funny, I said, “One last question: why do you have a punch card for Chuck E. Cheese in your wallet?”

“What? I don’t think so.” He was perplexed. I felt a flash of guilt for amusing myself, even as I laughed again.

“Where did you find it?” he asked.

“Over near Poplar and the trail. I assumed you lost it while riding your bicycle over here?”

“No, I think I left my wallet and drink on the toolbox of my truck and drove around with it. I can’t believe it fell there!” He laughed. “I don’t ride a bike. I’d crush the rims.”

We both laughed.

“If you can meet me right now, I’m going to walk past the Pack Rat Outdoor Center in a few minutes. Is that okay?”

“Yes, of course, thank you.”

A few minutes later, I stood in the parking lot of the store and watched the pond in front of the beautiful building. It’s a serene corner to observe.

He pulled in. I walked up to the vehicle and reached in and shook his hand as he thanked me. We exchanged a few pleasantries and jokes.

“You can get a bicycle you know. Go to Lewis And Clark and ask for a deal for a beginner.”

He smiled. “I just might. What can I give you as a reward?”

“Reward? No. Just pay it forward and that’s cool.”

“Do you want a ride to your house?” he asked me.

“Nah, that’s why I don’t need a bike. I walk a lot.”

“I’m glad you do,” he said. “Otherwise, I would have lost the money, the credit cards, and probably my identity.”

His name is Dan.

I’m going to take another walk now and enjoy the darkening, cloudy night. I hope it is as exquisite as last night’s stroll. \

And I hope you’re warm and loved wherever you are. If I find your wallet and call, don’t be alarmed by my car warranty joke.

Love, X
.

A Moment Tonight

It’s dimmed and obscured tonight
because I swallowed the moon

I will cough it up at dawn’s break

I stare up at the streetlight
It’s shape resembling the moon

I amble along atypical streets
smiling and whispering to strange dogs

I observe people unfamiliar
as they wind down their mundane days
Unknown stories written all around me

I slow my impatient feet
to see the transformed world in the evening light

As I pass an irregular reflective window
It serves me as a mirror
I stare at my reflection
not for reassurance but rather a revelation

Such a small moment
but one so sublime and tenuous
It’s both fragile and forceful

Whatever anxiety previously held me captive
has abandoned its hold

Because all journeys must end
my feet reluctantly turn back to home…
…to home
It’s never really a place

The October air holds its chill
yet it does not touch my heart

I wish you were here, whoever and wherever you are

The moon requested that I release it
so, I do, with these unskilled words

As you sit in your cocoon
look around secretly at those around you
Capture the moment

And the next time you witness the moon
Thank me for reminding you

That the world is large
and you are surrounded