The other day when I went to get a haircut, I was feeling grand. My day was going along just fine and I had no complaints. It was good, you know?


And then I arrived at the salon. I was about ten minutes early, so I grabbed a book of photos from a rack and settled in. Within seconds, I realized the book I was perusing contained photographs of international aid installations and personnel. Some of the photos were beautiful. Some were devastatingly harsh. It occurred to me that I should simply return the book to its spot on the rack and find something more banal. But I didn’t. I thought that perhaps I had chosen that book for a reason, and that its contents deserved acknowledgement. So I kept turning pages, studying photos and reading captions. Before I realized it, I was quietly bawling. I looked up and two other patrons, both seated nearby, were staring at me.


People don’t be going to fancy hair salons on Melrose Avenue to cry. They also don’t be going there to see other people crying. But hey – at least I was quiet. My tears lasted only a few minutes, then someone came to tell me I should change into a smock, as my appointment was nigh. I was so grateful for the timing, I nearly hugged the messenger.


After getting color applied to my hair (and a fantastic conversation with Fernando, the colorist), it was time to have my hair washed. “Little Mama” is so good at this, y’all, that I look forward to seeing her as much as I do to getting my hair did. At some point, as Little Mama was massaging my scalp, I looked up at her and told her what a blessing it is to be touched so kindly by another human being. She commenced to tell me about how she has to read clients, in order to know when they’re receptive to a few extra minutes of scalp massaging, as not everyone cares for it. As she spoke, I fought back fresh tears. Her words gave me focus and allowed me to really listen to her and not drown in the wellspring of emotions I was having. She soon finished her job and I moved on to see my stylist, Carla.


I’ve been going to Carla for at least a decade and I love catching up with her. She’s a good, decent person and she is also immensely talented. (She ain’t cheap, either, so I only see her a few times a year.) By the time she had finished working her magic, I was ready to stroll the avenue to my car and make the drive home.


Sometimes I know I’m emotional. Sometimes it sneaks up on me. And once the pump is primed on my tear ducts, it’s hard to stem the flow! The other day reminded me of this and as challenging as it was, it was also pretty wonderful. I am susceptible to the pain brought on by harsh imagery. I am also susceptible to the joy brought on by human connection. I am able to soar so very high because I am able to sink so very low. It’s reciprocal. My emotions are just rigged that way.


One last thing… Just as I was about to leave Melrose Avenue to walk down a side street toward my car, three cute-as-could-be Japanese tourists asked if I’d take their photo. The three girls posed before a painted wall and I snapped a couple of pics. After thanking me profusely, I walked away. But not before hearing their joyful giggles when they saw the photos of themselves. As their laughter faded behind me, I realized I was smiling wide enough to let bugs in. And that’s when sweet tears began to fall once more…

Heavy Telly



My telly watching has seen an emotional couple of days – Sunday night’s “Game of Thrones” and the season finale of “Call the Midwife,” which I watched last night.


I’m okay with emotional television. I’ll take that over flat-line shows any day. But I guess I’ve gotten used to being able to sense when the old heartstrings are about to be tugged. That gives a gal a chance to prepare, if only a little. But the two shows I watched the last few days, well, I didn’t see it coming.


I am a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, I know and freely admit. Still, these fine shows (and two of my faves, opposite ends of the spectrum, though they may be) really brought it and wrenched me apart this week.


And I am heartbroken.




The other night I found myself at The Ebell for a round of storytelling. And let me say upfront that I adore stories and yet I don’t attend nearly enough readings, and I have no excuse for that. When someone tells a story – and does it well – it is riveting. The subject can be light and humorous or dark and deep. It doesn’t matter. I simply love a good story. All that being said, you never know what you’re gonna get. And I had no idea what to expect from the six people assembled this week.


Crickett Rumley was the curator and host of the show. She was funny and serious in her own right, and I particularly enjoyed learning (through Crickett) about the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker. So not only did Crickett entertain, she also educated. And she put together a great line-up featuring Erika Green Swafford, Emilia Serrano, Craig Lincoln, Bambi BamBrogan and Amy Louise Sebelius. I cannot begin to tell you what a roller coaster ride these writers provided. Those six storytellers took me around the world from the American South to Munich, Germany. Emotions ran the gamut, too. I was so tickled my body quaked, and a few minutes later, I found myself so overcome with shared grief that I was wiping at tears. (As were grown men in the audience, I might add.) By the time I was driving home, I didn’t quite know where to focus, what to process first. And those stories have stayed with me, days later.


It’s true that I didn’t know what I was gonna get when I headed to The Ebell for a night of storytelling. And that will be true the next time I head out to such an event. But this past week was exceptional. And I won’t soon forget that. If ever. This is why I adore stories.

Tough Week



This week was a tough one. I mourned and mourned again. Then I rose to lovely emotional heights. A lot of ground was covered and my soul took a beating.


Life is like that sometimes. Ups and downs, downs and ups. And let’s be honest here. Me mourning someone as a fan is way different from the experiences of the families and loved ones of the dearly departed. And this past week’s downs could have been much, much worse. I mean – I have my health. Mister’s well. The roof doesn’t leak. For god’s sake – we have a roof!


It’s okay to have a tough week once in a while. And it’s okay to remember what’s right in the world. Hope your world is filled with more right than wrong. I really do.

Soul Music



So here’s what happened. A UK buddy sent out his holiday card, which was a disc of downloaded podcasts. The downloads were from a BBC Radio 4 program called Soul Music. Each program covers a single piece of music, be it a pop song or a classical piece, and delves into the song’s origins and impact. Sometimes writers and performers are interviewed. Sometimes regular folks chime in on what the song means to them. It’s fascinating, yes, but it’s also incredibly moving.


As we’ve been listening to various programs, I’ve found each half-hour segment to be utterly engrossing. And that’s the minimal effect, friends. When I listened to 2 back-to-back programs on Soul Music – “Send in the Clowns” and “Simple Gifts” (the basis of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”) – it was a bit too much for me. I happen to love those 2 pieces of music and my emotions took hold and shook me senseless. Granted, it was beautiful emotion and I willingly rode its wave. But it was wrenching, just the same. And that’s part of the appeal of listening to Soul Music. I never know which half-hour program will affect me the most.


I’d never heard of this particular program before my buddy shared the disc, and now I’m fairly addicted. Mister and I have been parsing out our listening sessions, but now that I have the link to all available programs, I’m feeling pretty good about my supply. And I’m incredibly grateful to have received something so wonderful from across the pond. It’s amazing what joy can arrive in one’s mail.

The Final Countdown



If you’re like me, you’re dealing with a lot of regular life, while also getting ready to celebrate a New Year. Even if that means settling in at home and keeping it low-key.


If you’re like me, you’re probably going over the past year and thinking about the good stuff (and maybe avoiding the bad moments), while looking ahead at some of what you’d like to accomplish as you move forward into 2016.


If you’re like me, reading the number “2016″ is awkward with an almost sci-fi feel in the craziness that is the passage of time.


If you’re like me, you realize that the passage of time is such a gift, and you know you could start crying if you let yourself think about it too much.


If you’re like me, you acknowledge you’re somewhat of an emotional nugget, and you don’t hold it against yourself.


If you’re like me…


You know what? Be like you. The world has enough of me. The world needs you. For reals.

‘Twas The Day After Christmas…



It’s Boxing Day. A few gifts have been opened and I’ve now seen the new Star Wars movie (fab-o). I’ve eaten Christmas steak, participated in Christmas debauchery and am ready for a post-Christmas rest. But only briefly, as life marches on and I love a good parade! Wouldn’t want to miss anything.


Actually, as the year’s end approaches, I am experiencing my usual feelings. There’s a bit of processing going on and the occasional tear falls. I am an emotional cuss, I know. But I happen to like me, so I think I’ll keep me around for a while.


When you think about it, coming out of such a charged holiday with one’s self-worth intact is fairly remarkable. I know it doesn’t always turn out this way – not for me, nor for many others. So this year feels danged good. So far…


Let’s all try to love ourselves for the next week, shall we? Honestly – doesn’t that sound more appealing than using our own souls for punching bags? I’ve been on the receiving end of my psychological left hook and it ain’t pretty. For the short remainder of the year, I think I’ll hang up my boxing gloves and give me a break. I really mean this when I say it: I deserve it.


And so do you.

Deep Breaths



There’s a lot going on right now in my little world. First and foremost – my health issues. I’ve not fully recovered from whatever the heck it is that’s plaguing me, but I do feel the recent holistic methods are having an effect. The crazy stuff I’m doing seems to be moving the chains, so I guess I shouldn’t really complain. (As I’ve been unwell for several months now, I am well-acquainted with complaining.) Now the bills are hitting. I am grateful to have insurance, but this stuff still ain’t free. Oh, well. Bills will just have to get paid somehow.


And then there’s the stress of fighting city hall. As I said yesterday, I’ll share more about what’s going on with that at a later date. Right now, there’s quite a bit of work to be done on that front. So we and our neighbors have much to do. As the whole swirly mess revolves around our homes and our neighborhood, it’s personal. And emotional.


So how does a gal get through these things and vault over the stumbling blocks life throws at her? She deals. I deal. To the best of my ability anyway. A lot of the time I don’t fare so well. I disappoint myself (and probably those around me) in my absolute failure to rise to the occasion. My emotions get the best of me, then proceed to twist my best into unseemly behavior. Don’t believe me? Over the weekend we and our neighbors met with a representative of the very project we’re opposing. Before I knew what was going on, I had said – out loud – something about putting lipstick on a pig. After comments were made by the project rep, I may have gone on to say something about how a different shade of lipstick on said pig is still a painted pig. Oopsie. Now y’all – I did at least have the good sense to recognize I was losing it, so I forced myself to take a step back and did my best to shut my pie-hole. In that moment, it was the right choice.


Speaking of pie-holes – have I told you part of my healing process involves giving up sugar? I’m not a crazy-for-sweets person, so it isn’t the most difficult sacrifice I’ve ever made. Still – a little sugar now and then goes a long way.


Anyhoo – life continues. The layers of stress are, well, they are what they are. I’m doing my best to abide. More than once I’ve thought of the quote about knowing God won’t give one more than she can handle – and wishing God didn’t trust her so much. I don’t feel quite like that. But sometimes I do think the universe leaves me to my own devices a little more often than is wise. And speaking from my side of that experience, I would gladly accept more help. As I don’t exactly know what that help might look like, I guess I just have to keep my eyes open and pay attention. I mean – assistance could present itself in any form, any minute now.


Any minute now…