My beloved friend Christi was getting groceries and got carded for her wine. With great glee, she reached into her wallet to produce her ID, confirming her over 40 status.
“Nevermind,” said the clerk. “I don’t need it.”
“What?” she asked, clearly miffed. “Why?”
“Well,” the clerk stumbled. “I mean, once you smiled, I could tell…” He realized his misstep and handed her the receipt without making eye contact.
Christi’s husband, like any wise man, threw the last bag into the cart and hauled ass out to the car, wanting to avoid the entire scene.
She called me immediately afterwards, in a foul mood. “WTF? The checkout dude gets to comment on my crow’s-feet? He thought I was borderline 21 until I smiled?”
“There’s only one thing you can do,” I replied somberly.
The Oracle of Delphi had her hallucinogenic vapors. The ancient Eastern mystics had their hashish. Sherlock Holmes (and likely his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) had his cocaine. Alice in Wonderland (and likely her creator, Lewis Carroll) had her mushrooms. I have my Malarone.
Malarone, a drug combination of atovaquone and proguanil, is an antimalarial medication used in both the treatment and prevention of malaria. Twice this year, I have traveled to subtropical locales around the world where outbreaks of malaria are still prevalent — notably the headwaters of the Amazon and East Africa. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in life, it’s Don’t Mess With Malaria! Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that typically includes high fever and mind-numbing headaches — and in severe cases, coma and death.
We have so many things to come to terms with in regard to people. Are we a people person? Are we a people pleaser? Do we recharge ourselves by being around other people or by taking time to be alone? Do we prefer melting into crowds, standing in front of crowds, the company of small groups or the intimacy of one-on-one?
A recent chapter in our Bible Study (I have been with the same gals for eight years, so you can run but you cannot hide.) highlighted the significance of other people in terms of our growth. It seems that we can only truly grow in community with other people. This was disheartening to me because I feel like when I have something major to work on, I want to turn inward and quietly get ‘er done. But no — it’s the other people around us, the ones we choose to be close to, the ones we cannot escape, and the strangers strewn into our paths that solicit the heart-level change we’re after when we really want to grow.
City of the Violet Crown. Austin, Texas isn’t the only city that lays claim to this colorful sobriquet. Turns out Athens, Greece may own the original bragging rights. O. Henry, you may have met your match!
Pindar (522-443 BC), an ancient Greek lyric poet, wrote of his beloved Athens: “City of light, with thy violet crown, beloved of poets, thou art the bulwark of Greece.” William Sydney Porter, writing as O. Henry, was a Johnny-come-lately when he penned these words in Chapter 2 of Tictocq: “The drawing rooms of one of the most magnificent private residences in Austin are ablaze with lights. Carriages line the streets in front, and from gate to doorway is spread a velvet carpet, on which the delicate feet of the guests may tread. The occasion is the entrée into society of one of the fairest buds in the City of the Violet Crown.”
I have always admired anyone with a gift for the arts — people who can paint, draw, sculpt, make music, dance, craft, imagine and create. The Bible says we aren’t supposed to covet anyone else’s gifts so I try to be grateful for the gift of words. But if God had asked me in advance, and if I were feeling bold, I might have had the nerve to tell him that I would really like the gift of a beautiful voice. Or if I were being really greedy, I would actually like the gift of words and the voice so I could write my own stuff.
When I was young, I didn’t know what gifts I had, and in my audacity I figured all of them were up for grabs. I wondered if I could maybe be a singer, so I put albums on my old Sanyo stereo and turned the volume way up and sang at the top of my lungs. Luckily for everyone else in my family, my room was above the garage.
I spend my days designing for a company that is both conscientious and innovative. I am passionate about music and enjoy creating art that has been inspired by a lyric or mood from a song. I truly love what I get to do everyday and enjoy the balance between working for a corporation and being able to have creative freedom through illustrating and freelance work. O: 512. 767.2377 | firstname.lastname@example.org
"Impenetrable " is a word used to describe someone’s eyes that cleverly mask their inner feelings. Fort Knox, rumor has it, is virtually impenetrable. But nothing prepared me for the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
My family and a couple of close friends recently ventured to East Africa to track mountain gorillas. Jostling down a deeply rutted dirt road in the pre-dawn fog, I wondered why they called the forest impenetrable. The reason, I would soon discover, is simple: At nearly 10,000 feet,the upper reaches of the Bwindi mountains are not for the faint of heart. Our gorilla guide, Gorette, explains that “our trackers will find the gorillas, our porters will carry your backpacks and our gun-bearers will protect you from wild forest warthogs, leopards and mountain elephants.”
I have lived in the same home since 2003. That’s eight years — absolutely unheard of for me, the consummate “new kid” who moved every two years as a child due to my father’s IBM career. I lived in this house when I was brokenhearted over my divorce and family life as I knew it was falling to pieces. And we pieced our little family of four back together again, over time, within these walls. There are pencil-scratched measurements inside the bathroom closet door, showing varying heights of Mommy (never changing, damn, I want to be 5’10”), Luke, Grace, Isabelle, our old cat Chemo and four different dogs. When I look at the toddler height of my girls, it occurs to me that the first measurement must have been when they could first stand up. The mark is impossibly close to the ground. Were they really that small? There are chips in the trim reminding me of when my girls learned to rollerskate, making loops through the house.
Our culture is a wasteful one.
IRONY IS, well, ironic. In 1773, Boston colonists dressed like Indians tossed three shiploads of British tea into Boston Harbor to protest “taxation without representation.” A little over two centuries later, British scoundrels dressed like businessmen are spilling millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico to protect “drilling without regulation.”
British Petroleum, or as they prefer to call themselves, “bp” is a British global energy company and is (or was) the third largest energy company and the fourth largest company in the world. Their clever advertising slogan defines “bp” as “beyond petroleum.” We may all be wise to adopt their kitschy nomenclature, establishing a new dating system that mimics B.C. and A.D. We’ll call it, B.P. Beyond Petroleum, indeed!