Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.

First Grade - Rosslyn

Cute, huh? I would be the one with the really blonde hair. At this age of my life I wouldn't have been caught dead in anything remotely resembling a skirt. Tomboy! I will respect the privacy of the other individuals by not naming them. Know this - I am still in contact with all three of them and it has been over 27 years since this photograph was taken.

I find myself thinking of home (Kenya) more often in recent weeks as the turmoil regarding the elections in December deepens. I am asked daily if I would return. My response? "In a heartbeat!" Yes, even with the tribal wars and 'ethnic cleansing' that is now taking place ... I would still rather be there than here. This is not my home, it just happens to be where I live right now.

"Home is not where you live, but where they understand you." ~Christian Morganstern, German author & poet

Only the Lonely

I think (actually, I’m pretty darn sure) that I have located the source of my self-diagnosed funk. I assumed that it was highly weather related as it has been incredibly cold and gloomy and just plain “icky” outside. I am never well in such cruddy circumstances. Well, no – that isn’t it. Of course not. My solutions could not possibly be that simple. Stupid bloody emotions.

It begins. What is “it” exactly? Well, I have come to the realization that I am beginning to have a wee bit of a yearning for companionship. That is not to say that I have to find myself a man in the immediate future (although the inkling for that sort of attention is creeping in as well) … this can be applied mostly to local friendships. Here, I am surrounded by acquaintances. Friends? True Friendships? Not so much.

My closest friends, like many others who grew up overseas, are scattered from one end of this planet to the other. Yes, the internet has drawn us even closer together but sometimes a girl needs someone to talk to in person: face-to face … not just over the phone or through Facebook messages or on instant messenger. I hate to think that my entire social life resides within this box that is conveniently connected to the internet. Crap! It does.

“The first half of life is spent mainly in finding out who we are through seeing ourselves in our interaction with others.” ~Dr. June Singer

Seeing as I am self-diagnosed, I guess I’ll have to handle my own prescription as well. I hereby resolve to go out at least twice a month (starting slow) … not to the movies or some other such isolated place, but to a place where there are people (not business related) and conversation is imminent. This should help solve some of the hunger pains the people-person inside me has been experiencing. At this point, I am grateful for my recent business trip out of town as I believe it was this excursion that brought this realization to light. How I could forget how much I feed off of interaction with other people is beyond me, but forget I must have done.

Here we go! This won't be as easy as it sounds in this small town where I live, but here we go anyway!

“We're all lonely for something we don't know we're lonely for.” ~Unknown


“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” ~Gene Fowler, journalist

I am in some sort of personal funk and it is affecting my ability to write. In the beginning my poetry benefited, but the creative spark seems to have diminished there as well. What does one do in cases of severe writer’s block? This is a new for me. In addition to my blog and my poetry … I also journal regularly. I haven’t even done that this week.

I have a new, dear friend in Scotland who has sent me a couple of poetry prompts to try and help pull me from my rut. “Let us write a poem together,” he says. I am sent two lines. Amazingly … I managed two lines of my own and sent it back to him. My lines did not come easy to me and I am still trying to determine if they are even print worthy. I think my perception of my own ability is lacking.

What say you?

“The freedom to create is somehow linked with facility of access to those obscure regions below the conscious mind.” ~Loren Eiseley, anthropologist

Boats, Boredom, Football & Psuedo-Celebrities

There you go. My business trip to Shreveport, LA in a nutshell. Should I elaborate? I suspect I must seeing as I have been absent for the better part of a week. If your eyes begin to droop in reading this and a snore escapes your lips – please know that I forgive you in advance.

The purpose of our (my coworker Linda and me) trip to Louisiana was to work the boat show sponsored by one of the local television stations. It is a well publicized event and a number of boat sellers and manufacturers are present to sell the next greatest thing in boat design. In addition to the boats, vendors such as ourselves are there to represent additional outdoor activities and the like. The show is open to the public for a nominal fee. Seeing as we represent the largest state park in the state of Arkansas this show is a good opportunity for us to push information on DeGray State Park and the pristine 13,800 acres of DeGray Lake to those who are both buying and selling boats. Parker (another fellow from Arkansas there to represent Suzuki) pointed out to me that we needed shirts that read, “Let me show you where to float your boat!” Nice. It would not have done any good seeing as the flow of traffic throughout the show never elevated itself past the point of a trickling stream. Advertising aside, there were no waves of individuals in attendance like there have been in the past. Trust me, it takes a lot of patience to stand in a convention center for ten hours with very few people coming and going. Boredom. I had nothing better to do than chat up the hot boat salesmen which, despite the fact they were all married, was quite entertaining and made the time go by a bit quicker.

Sunday, the last day of the show, finally came and attendance was even smaller than the days prior. To top off my frustration it was game day … NFL playoffs (National Football League for my international readers) … and I was stuck behind a booth. Well, Linda’s husband agreed to text the scores so I could keep track and I finally found a television in another vendor booth that was broadcasting the first playoff game between the Patriots and the Chargers. Patriots won (duh) and the show ended. We sped off to a local pub so I would not miss the beginning of game two. After some excellent fish & chips we sprinted back to the hotel between the first and second quarter in order to finish out the game between the Packers and the Giants.

“Football is an honest game. It's true to life. It's a game about sharing. Football is a team game. So is life.”
~Joe Namath

I will choose this moment to merge the football and pseudo-celebrity portion of my weekend. The Shreveport, LA area has become quite the location for film production. Apparently it has been dubbed “The Hollywood of the South” which seems appropriate considering two years ago stars like Sandra Bullock and Kevin Costner were in town while we attended the same show. This year, there were a number of pseudo-celebrities staying at our hotel … you know them – those people that are in a ton of films, but always in the background … you know their faces, but you can’t think of their names. Pseudo-Celebrities. Having met them, I could now give you their names, but I will not be the one to invade their privacy and plaster current locations across the internet for all to see. Several of them teeter precariously between being a pseudo-celebrity and the real deal. There was a leading man much shorter than expected, a funny man even wittier and more sarcastic in person, a bona fide hottie who has been in a Shakespeare adaptation (which is always a good thing in my opinion) and several others I could never quite place. Each evening we would stop by the hotel bar between dinner and bed just to see who was about, but it was the final night … game night … before I ventured forth into conversation with the pseudo-celebrities that were present.

Apparently, I was the only individual in the vicinity routing for the Packers and I am rather vocal during football games. A competition of sorts developed between me and one or two of the pseudo-celebrities regarding the game. Linda had removed herself to the room so I found myself in the midst of these guys as we yelled and cheered and … ultimately … the game ended with me pissed and them rubbing the win in my face. At some point a group of young girls showed up with paper and pen in hand looking for autographs. I laughed aloud and received a quizzical look from one of my new pseudo-celebrity acquaintances to which I responded, “Don’t worry! I don’t need your autograph to know who you are.” Celebrities are people just like the rest of us … they just have much cooler jobs.

Well, there it is … my rundown of the week and why I have been much more silent than usual: boats, boredom, football, & pseudo-celebrities. All in all it was much better than sitting in the office or alone in my apartment.

“Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety.” ~Daniel J. Boorstin

Conquering the Christmas Tree

December 1969 – Two new missionary families in Swahili language school at Brackenhurst Baptist International Conference Center decide to plant the evergreen tree that had served its Christmas purpose. I do not think there was much fan fair regarding the planting and I suppose the evergreen was not expected to actual live … let alone thrive, but it did. In fact, it grew to be the single tallest tree within the compound and, at the equivalent of a three story building, it practically begged to be conquered.

“If you climb up a tree, you must climb down the same tree” ~African Proverb

Sometime between 1981 and 1983 – I stand staring at the overgrown Christmas tree, knowing that a boost from a friend is going to be required in order for me to get my short self even slightly close to the bottom most branches, but resolute that today will be the day that I climb this tree. John will do and I venture off to find him. We return shortly only to have a typically childlike argument over who gets to go first – knowing that the tree will be climbed alone as there will be no remaining helping hands on the ground to assist climber number two at the beginning stage. As I rarely give in to any argument and because it was my idea in the first place it is decided that climber number one will be me.

John has willingly laced his fingers together and leaned down allowing me to place my foot in his joined hands. Combined with a little hop from me and an upward thrust of his hands I am able to grab the lowest branch. My arms barely reach around the large appendage as I dangle there, hugging it … cheek pressed against bark and fingertips barely touching. Now what? I am going to have to swing. I throw my legs to the left … right … left … right … left … one final swing to the right and I throw my right leg over the branch pulling the rest of my body with it. I pause, rubbing the scratches on the inside of my arms and adjusting my weight on the branch to make sure I don’t topple back to the ground where I would be forced to start all over again. I am up. I am good. I give John a grin and give him the thumbs up.

Now that I am in the tree – I look straight up contemplating my next move. The branches are incredibly dense. That is okay. I am incredibly skinny. Mentally plotting my course from branch to branch and bark scraping against skin – I begin my ascent. I climb for a few moments before looking down. I am already losing sight of John’s blonde head in the midst of the foliage between us. The climbing has become easier and I am simply stepping from branch to branch. I stop to survey my progress. To the right I am eye level with the red roof of the closest cottage. To the left I am equal with the door to another cottage … one that is perched on a steep hill. John has moved away from the base of the tree and stands in the open with head raised – hand shielding eyes from the sun – as he squints to make out my location. I wave. He waves.

I resume my climb and it is not long until I have passed the rooftop of the cottage perched on the hill. My progress is slowed now as the branches are not as strong and must be chosen carefully. They are woven tightly together and grab at my clothing and pull at my hair as I continue rising higher and higher. As my head pushes out of the densest mass of twig and branches I realize there is no where else for me to go. I am several meters from the tip. Alas! I do not think the remaining branches can hold my weight. I cling to what is left of the tree trunk (the width of a small branch itself) and survey my surroundings. I can see the entire conference center as the people bustle to and fro and the cars come and go. John sees me and I can make out that he is waving. He is possibly yelling something as well; but I can hear nothing but the wind in the trees. Like the pendulum of a grandfather clock I am caught in the breeze as the tip of the tree sways back and forth and back and forth and back and forth … I am thankful I do not suffer from motion sickness. I wonder briefly if the tree tip might snap under my weight only to decide not to concern myself with such thoughts. I stay a while. I am at the top of my childhood domain. This is where I belong with my skinned knees and scratched arms and wild blonde hair … swinging in the breeze. Now – how do I get down?

“So was I once myself a swinger of birches;
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.”

~Robert Frost, Birches (lines 42-50)

People Watching

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” ~Ryunosuke Satoro

I have this passion and I have had it since I was a little girl: People Watching. I absolutely love my fellow man. Humans, of every sort, are absolutely fascinating. This is one of the reasons that I adore meeting new people and why I have been able to work in the hospitality industry for so many years without tiring of it. I love people. I love getting to know people. I love people watching.

In fact, I have a list of the best places to watch my fellow humans in action. Without a shadow of a doubt the number one location on that list would be any one of the thousands of airports that we have on this planet.

I love airports and, trust me; I have been in my fair share. From LAX (Los Angeles, California) to JFK (New York City-Kennedy, New York) to LHR (London-Heathrow, England) to MXP (Milan, Italy) to NBO (Nairobi, Kenya) … I have traveled far and wide and spent an astounding amount of my precious time in the many airports of our world. (No wonder I made a decent travel agent.) What better activity to pursue than to people watch?

Watching people was a game. I would stare at those around me and make-up stories about who they were and where they were going. The stories always hinged on what airport I was in at the time: a fiancĂ©e returning to her love, a family moving from one country to the next, friends going to lose themselves in the wilderness for a few weeks, or even a couple on their honeymoon heading to a villa in Tuscany. Who knows? At some point – I may have even made up a story about you.

My mother has always said I would probably introduce myself to a brick wall if I thought it would respond. With that knowledge it should come as no surprise that I, even as a young child, would introduce myself to those travelers near me that I found fascinating. I forged brief friendships with complete strangers and added knowledge to the database in my mind on what people like and how they want to be treated. It is amazing what someone will confess to you in an airport when they assume you will never be seen by them again. Ditto for airplanes. Although - people tend to be a bit crankier once on an actual flight and less open to conversation. I do remember faces and, in a few instances, names of those with whom I shared a fleeting airport friendship. Occasionally, when my mind wanders into the past, I wonder what has become of these individuals and where they are today.

“There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.” ~James Nathan Miller

Airports have also demonstrated to me that this earth is, indeed, “a small world after all.” Not once from high school years to present day have I been in airport where I did *not* meet someone that I know or someone that knows someone I know. I once met up with my former high school principal and his wife in London’s Heathrow airport. In (MEM) Memphis, Tennessee I bumped into another MK (missionary kid) from East Africa who I hadn’t seen in over five years. I have encountered a number of individuals at DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas) including a church deacon who had met my father at a conference a few years before. I spent over an hour helping him layout his itinerary for his next big family vacation (giving him the list of “can not miss” and “must do” items) … which just happened to be a Kenyan safari. Small world? Indeed!

Yet, times change. I no longer have to visit an airport to remind myself of how our world is incredibly small. This is a good thing as my current situation does not afford me the luxury of traveling. I do not enjoy the fact that I can not travel as I used to, in fact my wanderlust is in full gear, but travel is not a possibility for me at this time. Traveling physically or not, the internet has effectively made our world even smaller than it was to begin with. Still – I people watch. Yes, it can be done online. I watch others lives unfold online in the words they write and share publicly. I know there are those that also watch me and read what I write. Unfortunately, there are only a small number of my readers that I have had the privilege of meeting … a handful or two. The majority of my visitors are from the United States. A lovely group of new friends originates in the United Kingdom. Still, most of you have come and gone anonymously and you hail from very different areas of the world than my own. Stop. Pull up a chair and stay a while. Leave a comment. Otherwise, I am forced to resort to my old airport game and make up stories about who you are, where you come from and where you are going. I would rather have the opportunity to introduce myself.

“Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?” ~Walt Whitman

A Rare Picture

I do not typically add pictures to my blog, but this is the main building at Brackenhurst Baptist International Conference Center (aka: my childhood domain) in Tigoni, Kenya ... the location of many adventures.


My Childhood Domain
Perfect Playground
Tea Time

Perfect Playground

Yes, it was an actual playground.

Located at the hotel and conference center that doubled as my childhood domain the playground was cut into a hillside. It was not perfect because of the swings. It was not perfect because of the merry-go-round. In fact, none of the equipment was worthy of elevating this small plot of earth to the level of perfection necessary for a child to reach optimum levels of playtime imaginings. No. It was the hill. The tiny hill and two enormous trees.

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” ~Elizabeth Lawrence

As the playground was nestled into a graduated hill, two sides of the square that made up the play area were level with the surrounding earth. The side with the steepest cut had been reinforced with a rock wall. The distance from top of wall to bottom was approximately ten feet (3 meters). The third and remaining wall needed little support as the earth was held in place by the roots of the aforementioned trees and a small stone stairwell in between.

The first tree was located at the highest point overlooking the small escarpment. This was not a climbing tree. In fact, there were no branches that could be reached although someone … at some time … had managed to make it into that behemoth of nature in order to attach an astoundingly fat rope in order to create a swing. The seat of the swing was nothing more than a large knot in the rope. As far as I knew the rope had always been there. Yet, it was not easily reachable and entirely too heavy to be affected by wind. In order to swing on the rope it took a smart kid finding a long branch in order to hook the swing and pull it to the top of the wall. Or, it took a really courageous –or stupid– child (like me) to back away from the ledge and then run full kilter while launching oneself into the air with amazing precision in order to grab the cable and allow the momentum of collision with said rope to swing you forward and then back onto safe ground. It did take great accuracy to pull this off or one faced a free fall to the playground floor which, though covered in thick grass, was not often cushioned enough to prevent mishap. While hours of enjoyment were spent on said swing … a fair number of broken bones had to be set for those who missed the jump or simply lost their grip. Thankfully, none of those bones were mine.

The second tree was, without a doubt, the perfect tree from roots to branches.

The labyrinthine root system twined down the smaller cliff and created, with a little childhood imagination, the most ideal city of caves and streets. We would spend hour upon hour reinforcing roadways and digging deeper tunnels and constructing mud abodes and building elaborate traps, yes … traps. Once completed we would play with our toy cars and G.I. Joe figures and Star Wars figures (I was a tomboy if you haven’t figured that out yet.) for the better part of an hour before the urge to destroy took over. Then, like Godzilla to Tokyo, we would drive our cars into every trap or bury our figures in mock landslides … only to begin rebuilding all that we had destroyed. Good times, I tell you. Good times!

While we created wonderful worlds in the root system it was the branches of the tree where our imaginations truly took shape. The tree was huge and some of the branches resembled a ladder moving up the tree. Hidden in the leaves were pockets of growth where we could all make our own little individual offices or, more importantly … battle stations. Yes, battle stations. This tree, more often than not, represented the Millennium Falcon in our own Star Wars galaxy and we would stay suspended in this made up world for an entire day … breaking only for meals … and then come back in the morning to do it all again. With me as Chewbacca (I was always the Wookie because I didn’t want to play a girl character) and my closest friends as Luke, Han Solo and Princess Leia we took on the imaginary forces of the Dark Side and triumphed to battle another day … and another … and another.

No assembly required. No electronics. No playground equipment.

Just a small hill, two great trees, and … imagination!

“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” ~Jamie Paolinetti, American Cyclist

Drowning out the World

pho•bi•a [foh-bee-uh]
a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.

Do you have a phobia? I do … and it frustrates me that I can not banish it.

“The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Right now our entire region is under a tornado watch. I am at work with my ipod on my head as I do everything in my power to drown out the world outside. I am terrified … I repeat, TERRIFIED, of thunderstorms. This is not a good phobia to have seeing as I can not control the weather and it does seem, as the definition suggests, to be completely irrational.

I know what you are thinking. I should go “see someone” about my problem. Well, I have. My therapist at the time traced this particular phobia back to an evacuation from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi that took place due to Hurricane Frederic (I think) in 1979. We were in the States that year and my parents own a home in Gulfport, Mississippi. I have strong recollections of packing quickly and beginning a drive north to avoid the storm … but my father stayed behind. To this day, I do not understand that decision, but apparently it made a huge impact on me and my childhood psyche. Twenty-nine years later and I am still shaking in my boots in the midst of this bad storm.

Does anyone else out there have an unexplainable phobia that you are willing to share?

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." ~Frank Herbert, Dune


“Consider your origin...” ~Dante Alighieri

As revealed in Parental Units I am a product of adoption. It is not something I think about on a regular basis as my adopted parents will always be my parents and I find no fault in that logic. I have, however, been considering the idea of origins … my origins … a lot this week.

I was born in San Antonio, Texas somewhere around 3:00 a.m. on August 15, 1974. I do not know why my birth parents gave me up for adoption and I do not particularly care as there could have been no better set of parents than those who raised me. I know little about my birth mother and father … just a couple of paragraphs of a letter sent by the adoption agency that convey a bit about the individuals from whom I came:

“Her biological mother was in her late teens. She is of Irish, French, German and English descent. She is 5’5” in height and weighs approximately 130 pounds. She has blue-green eyes and brown hair with a fair complexion. She has always done well academically and was in the National Honor Society in high school. She has a great deal of leadership ability, having been active in many extra-curricular activities in school and church. Her hobbies and interests include reading, writing, swimming and sewing. 
Her biological father is also in his late teens. He is of Scotch and German descent with dark brown hair and brown eyes and medium olive complexion. He is a quite capable young man. He is especially talented in art and enjoys working with his hands.”

Well, there you go - basic origins: Irish, French, English, Scottish and a lot of German as it comes from both sides. My ethnic background amuses me as European tourists in Kenya consistently asked me if I was Swedish. Obviously, I am not Scandinavian at all. Simply put: I am your basic, garden variety, American mutt. I do ponder where my blonde hair came from as it was almost reflective for most of my life and both birth parents sport brown locks. My eyes were blue until I was five or six when they turned an interesting shade of hazel. Sometime during high school they changed from hazel to full on green and have never returned to either previous shade. I was never in the National Honor Society, I am not a strong swimmer and I can not abide sewing. However, I do love to read and write and I have a small collection of artwork although I do not consider myself an artist. I also seem to carry a tad bit of that ‘leadership ability’ mentioned in my birth mother although those are stories for another time perhaps.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.” ~Seneca, Roman Philosopher

I am an American and I was adopted by Americans. From my adopted parents I inherited much. I don’t know how many times others have exclaimed, “You are just like your father!” I look nothing like him, of course, although - I do favor my mother a bit. Perhaps it is all the German blood as she is of German descent as well. I am stubborn like my father. I drive like my father. I am a people person like my father. I am extremely analytical like my father. More than any trait or behavior, my parents exemplify the origin of my faith more than anything else. From them I learned about my God and came to call him Father.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” ~African proverb

I'm an African too... and why am I wearing this bonnet?

I am an American … and yet, at the age of six months, I was transported over the big blue ocean and transplanted in Kenya. Home. It will always be. Scientists say that the origins of man come from this region. I doubt their evolutionary theories, but the origin of who I am today lies in the equatorial soil and air of Kenya even more than the biological traits handed down to me through the DNA of my birth parents. I was raised by my adopted parents, yes, but I was also raised by two distinctly different villages.

The first was the missionary village. It seemed to be an unwritten rule to collectively keep an eye on all the children. Subsequently, I have been disciplined by almost all of my missionary “aunts” and “uncles” just as my parents have done their share of parenting my friends. It was a system that worked and my missionary family was (and is) closer to me than most extended family here in the United States.

The second village in which I was raised was comprised of those who were hired to work at Brackenhurst, the conference center where I grew up, and their families. Considered to be the “staff quarters” by most, this was still an area that had all the elements of a traditional village: the wazee (elders) would sit and smoke and watch over the village, the women would cook in the open air and half the young children ran around naked while being minded by older siblings. As I have previously referred to this place as My Childhood Domain it should come as no surprise that I spent much of my free time playing made up games with the children of this village or drinking chai and eating the ugali (cornmeal and water cooked until stiff) that was offered. They, too, were my extended family. Because of this, I have followed the news of my home country closely throughout the years and I am sickened today by what has been happening there over the last few weeks. Still – I am helpless. I repeat: I am an American. I am not Kenyan. I never carried dual citizenship. I can not vote in Kenyan elections in order to make a difference. All I can do is weep in anger when I see photographs of bodies piling up in the morgues of Nairobi and wait for emails from those in country telling me they are well and pray for peace.

“Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.” ~Ulysses S. Grant, 18th U.S. President

The Kenyan people are strong and passionate and caring. It is these qualities that brought them to independence and yet racist tribalism and corruption is threatening to set the country back in its progress. It has been thirteen years since I have been home and I wonder how much of another piece of my origin is left. This would be the British influence. I bet it is still there. I remember vividly celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kenya’s independence. Still, much of the infrastructure was very much influenced by the years Kenya spent as a British colony. The main form of currency is a shilling … that word definitely stemmed from colonial times and is just one example in many.

I can not deny that I, too, am much influenced by English society. Many of the words I use are considered extremely English. Heads turn when I refer to someone as being “mad” or when “bloody hell” escapes my lips in a moment of pain or anger. It took me years to begin spelling “colour” without the “u” as is expected in this country. I also have a rather irritating habit of correcting the grammar of those around me. (We may be able to understand one another, but American and English are two distinctly different languages in my book.) My focus in university was English Literature. I adore English film-making. I follow the football scores and, yes, I am a fan of Manchester United. My favorite city in the world (to date) is London … aside from any given location in Kenya … and I have traveled a lot. I have ex-boyfriends in Great Britain. I have friends in Great Britain (who are well overdue for a visit). I am a sucker for a man with an English or Scottish accent (little known fact – but true). Like it or not (and I do not mind) my origins are also found in the remnants of English society on modern day Kenya.

Still, I am an American. I have origins on this continent as well. Somehow it all mixes together and makes me who I am. I happen to like myself. I may be a bit complex at times and it is difficult to understand me in full if you have not set foot East Africa or the United Kingdom, but there is a lot about me to like. Personally, I think my origins did right by me. From the biology I was given by my birth parents to the values instilled by my adopted parents to the sense of community I gained in Kenya to my unexplainable addiction to fish and chips … my origins have made me who I am.

"This above all,--to thine own self be true …” ~William Shakespeare, Hamlet

I have no complaints.

Resolution & Resignations

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” ~Bill Vaughn

It has happened: a new year … and, yet again, a new beginning. I have never quite figured out why we all make such a big deal about this event. Time resolutely progresses forward. The New Year is no different than any given day coming to an end and moving into the next one.

“The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards; they will be dissipated, lost and perish in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence” ~Marie Edgeworth

Inevitably, I have been asked repeatedly on what resolution(s) I have made for 2008. That response is easy. I haven’t. I do not believe in making annual resolutions. For that matter, I am not resolute enough to make resolutions. The majority of humans on this planet are not steadfast enough to stand by their resolution(s) which is why those well intentioned but inevitably doomed goals end up shattered within a few weeks. I do have a type of mental “to do” list, but the items (eat right, work out, become more organized, etc.) on that list accompany me always. They are a piece of my daily survival and I do not add new items simply because it is January first. I add things to my “to do” list as they become important to me and carry them around with me as a continuous reminder that it is good to strive for the betterment of oneself each and every day that I continue to walk this rock.

“New Year's Day - Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” ~Mark Twain

I rang in my new year at a late night movie with a friend from work. We had emailed earlier in the week and were resolute in our plan. Therefore, I was in the cinema as midnight came and went without notice or fanfare. It should have been accompanied by a lot of yawning considering the late hour, but I was in the middle of an insomnia streak. This one lasted the better part of a week. Last night I finally found sleep. (I should be grateful that my insomnia does not last weeks or months as it does for some unfortunate individuals.)

It takes a couple of nights of not sleeping before I resign myself to the fact that staying in bed is doing me no good. This time it was Wednesday night and I had been attempting to sleep for well over an hour before I finally resolved to get up, brew a pot of coffee, do a bit of straightening up and some writing until morning came. I dislike giving up. I hate quitting, but sometimes resignation is inevitable regardless of how much we may dislike it.

While I may give up on my ability to sleep from time to time … I still know that my body can only take so much and nature will eventually take over for me and sleep will come. When it comes to resolutions Mother Nature will not step in and get them accomplished. I suppose my dislike of resignation is behind my flippant view of resolutions.

Here, is my list of resolutions for those of you who feel that every human must have one of some sort:

1. Do not make any resolutions.
2. Resignation is not an option.

Happy New Year!

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Feelings, nothing more than feelings ...

Does anyone else out there absolutely abhor that song? Do you even know the song of which I speak? Yes? No? Either way – I hate it. This is one of those songs that lyrically and melodically should never have been written, let alone recorded. It makes me want to vomit. I know that was a phenomenal mental image you needed just then, but it does.

A good friend shared with me an interesting theory about myself last night. “You are afraid to feel,” she said. Interesting. It was a comment definitely worthy of more than just a moment of thought. Obviously I am still pondering the phrase or I wouldn’t be writing about it.

Am I afraid to feel?

In all likelihood … I probably am. Maybe. A little.

“To repress one's feelings only makes them stronger.” ~Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Film (2000)

You see, I like to think of myself as a pretty low maintenance woman … emotionally speaking. I do not like a lot of melodrama. I do not like to talk about my feelings. I do not like mushy feely-feely situations. I get uncomfortable in a room with a bunch of women who are all teary eyed or weepy discussing highly charged emotional issues. I hate ... absolutely hate to cry. I have come to harbor total disgust for the movie ‘The Notebook’ which apparently makes me worthy of being ostracized from my own sex.

I do not like feelings, but does that make me afraid to feel?

Feelings can not be trusted. Feelings have led me far astray the times that I have chosen to heed them. Feelings forgo analysis and rely on instinct and well, my over-analytical brain really has a hard time with that fact. It is possible that I analyze things way too deeply, but if I had proceeded as such through the earlier stages of my life I would have saved myself a lot of trouble … trouble caused by listening to my feelings.

"Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend," observed Poirot philosophically. "You cannot mix up sentiment and reason." ~Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles

I suppose the goal is to find some happy medium between one’s analysis of a situation and then incorporate those decisions into how one feels. Still, it seems like an awful lot of work. That’s it: ding, ding, ding!!! Work. Emotional work.

I am not afraid to feel … I am simply too emotionally apathetic to deal with it. Most have my feelings have been dutifully repressed for quite some time and bringing them out would likely cause some sort of chaos. Yep. Too lazy.

Well, I am quite sure that is not the healthiest realization of my lifetime … discovering that I am an emotional slug … but for now it will have to do because I do not feel like looking any deeper at the moment.

" . . . Natural affections and instincts, my dear sir, are the most beautiful of the Almighty's works, but like other beautiful works of His, they must be reared and fostered, or it is as natural that they should be wholly obscured, and that new feelings should usurp their place, as it is that the sweetest productions of the earth, left untended, should be choked with weeds and briers. I wish we could be brought to consider this, and remembering natural obligations a little more at the right time, talk about them a little less at the wrong one." ~Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickelby


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