A Fragile Existence

We visited an ice castle in the mountains. Oh that sounds so wonderfully dreamy and fantastic and it was a site to behold. The castle was built over many days and includes slides, arches, towers, caves and tunnels. It took almost a month to create and about 10,000 icicles per day were harvested. The icicles were built and assembled alongside and over color-changing lights that created a breathtaking show. It felt as if the visitor had escaped to a far-off winter wonderland.

When we entered the castle, I tiptoed and carefully selected my steps so as not to disturb this frozen work of art. However, the size of the crowds were astonishing and as we proceeded through the castle I could see the influx of guests and hear the icicles fall and crunch. Some people even snapped off icicles to hold and for play. Of course this monstrosity of icicles was created for fun and enjoyment, not to whisper and tiptoe through but I couldn’t help noticing that while the structure was tall and massive and large enough to hold hundreds of people that it also was in another way much more fragile.

We too lead such a fragile existence. Over time and through our childhood and experience we grow and build a tough exterior. We do not come crashing down at every unkind word or hurtful conversation or broken relationship but it chips away. The hurt breaks off one icicle and then another and then another. Our core still stands however our being, our heart is changed one tiny moment or interaction at a time.

In the words of Holly Butcher, a 27 year old woman who recently lost her battle with cancer, “That’s the thing about life, it is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.”


A Good Book

2018 is here; ready or not. Ambitious goals are being proudly broadcast rampantly throughout various social media platforms. I have considered posting a goal to the effect of — I resolve to take my vitamins everyday this year. For who actually manages to do such a thing. It’s a lofty goal.

On a serious note, I am also contemplating tracking all the books I read this year. I suspect I read close to 100 and well more then 50 books annually. However, I do not have any written data or tracking to confirm said suspicion.

To ring in the New Year, I’m starting with a bit of non-fiction in the form of ‘Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy’, by Anne Lamont. I’m unsure how I “discovered” her writing but am pretty sure it had something to do with Facebook and we’ll see whether or not I am grateful for its unending mental pollution of sponsored advertisements and the like.

Pictured below is a chair that sits in one of my favorite local bookstores. I am curious if it would be referred to as needlepoint or an embroidered chair or something else entirely. I find it as darling and welcoming as the shop and I spent a few hours in it this weekend, perusing possible purchases. Since I spend more time in library then the bookstore, buying a book is a decision not made lightly. I came away with two and the shiny, untarnished covers and stiff, unturned pages are calling my name.

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ~ Oscar Wilde

The Swamp

West of New Orleans and South of just about everything else in America sits an oddly beautiful place, the Atchafayala Basin (I quadruple-checked how to spell it). Visiting the South is something I choose to do exclusively in the Fall and Winter months. When you’re married to someone from South Louisiana I don’t think its too much to ask to be taken on a Swamp tour and so my spouse and his family joined me for everyone’s first-ever Swamp tour. 

Google tells me that the Atchafayala Basin is the largest wetlands and swamp in the United States. A swamp tour in Louisiana is an amazing adventure. We rode in a flat bottom, tin-looking boat out on water that spanned for miles and miles. Our guide spoke English, but his accent was so thick I understood very little of what he said. We saw alligators, birds and I’m pretty sure I ate 1,000 calories in bugs.

What I didn’t expect was the peacefulness of this place. The Spanish moss covered trees that sparsely dotted the water were eerily beautiful. The water seemed to never end, which is one thing when you’re in a boat on the ocean but such a different feeling, view and experience on fresh water. Apart from the people and the food, this serene, scenic tour is one of my favorite things about the South and the pictures, although gorgeous, definitively do not do it justice.

Me Too…Said Everyone

To the surprise of some, a high-powered man in Hollywood was accused of sexually harassing and abusing women. Perhaps a little more shocking was the sheer number of women coming forward. The accusations of his crimes date back decades and the amount of women he injured is astounding. All of this time he happily continued an extremely successful career wielding so much power that his deeds went not only unpunished but unreported.

On Sunday an actress encouraged people to make their status on social media two simple words — Me too. Her purpose, to show the magnitude of the serious problem of sexual harassment and abuse. If you have experienced either of these, change your status and show the world the proof of this disgusting issue.

First, there is absolutely nothing wrong with shedding light on these actions and its noble to bring people who feel victimized together and show the importance of an issue. Shine a light in the darkness. I’m on board.

I remember the first time a man commented on my physical appearance. It was in 8th grade, my first day at a new school. I was wearing a white polo, blue and white checked shorts, and white Keds, no socks. The guy, while walking behind me, told me I had a nice bottom (only he didn’t use the word bottom). I cried in the bathroom stall and never said anything. How disgusting! Who do you even tell? How embarrassing!

Over the years, I’ve lost count of the comments regarding my physical appearance (I’m average-looking) and the things that guys would do with my body given the chance. Being in public or having a job meant sexual harassment. You stop thinking about it as actual harassment and it becomes part of your regular life.

It happens at the grocery store, on the street, at school, at your office. It has come from peers, mentors, strangers and subordinates. People voice their opinion on your appearance and oftentimes in an extremely crude and detailed manner. What’s the appropriate response when you’re grocery shopping and someone describes how they’d like to bend you over and what they would do from there? Call the police? The FBI? Or perhaps we could just fall back on the old adage of ‘boys will be boys.’

As my Facebook feed fills with the echoing of ‘Me too’s’, I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a woman out there who hasn’t experienced sexual harassment or abuse in some form. Are there still women out there who haven’t been on the receiving end of an unwanted advance? Woman who haven’t heard comments about their physical appearance? Women who haven’t been the recipient and an inappropriate touch a time or two or twenty? I hope so, but I doubt it.

And so, women everywhere can either change their status or simply hear the echo of those words in their own head ….. me too… knowing that tomorrow or next week or next month they’ll experience the same harassment. Knowing that most (if not all) women wouldn’t have to think too hard to come up with more then a dozen examples, some more heinous than I can imagine. Some so benign you almost wouldn’t consider the actions harassment.

Type it in your status or think it in your head….. you’ve experienced it …. Me too.



Do what you’re passsionate about and you’ll never work a day in your life. A sharp shift in the American ideal has changed what used to be a 9 to 5 society that punched in and out of work on a time clock to a country of travel bloggers making a living our of their upscale RV complete with WiFi and a slick WordPress site. I’m not upset. I’m befuddled…confused.

Being in a sales industry, I belong to multiple Facebook groups and click on way too many webinar links that fill my Facebook feed with online classes for the entreprenerial beginner filled with excitement and short on cash. Recently, I watched just such a video of a couple in their mid-20’s. Throughout the video, the couple promoted their online training series which would give you the tools to make money doing what you love. His and her trendy flannels, stunning good looks, and the rural residential setting illustrated their happiness and freedom from societal norms. Their work was their passion which led to wealth and a lifestyle completely of their choosing. Okay. Sure.

Me being me, I googled the lovely couple. The only information I could find out about them was that they help people discover their passion, build wealth and live a life without limits. Great. Is that a job? Do you have to accomplish anything prior to launching this career? Apparently not. Deep breath. I am not bitter. I’m so happy that they can make a living by talking about making an extraordinary living.

Passionate people are fantastic. My friend who wakes up four times a week before 5 a.m. to run and train for her race of the month. Musicians, artists, and dancers who have the dedication built by practicing their craft everyday of their entire lives. This list could go on – social workers, app developers, lawyers and others who are “on fire” for their work. But what about everyone else who is doing something  mundane?

Thank goodness for the nurse at my doctor’s office who never looks thrilled. I appreciate that someone works at my bank and the gas station and the grocery store. These are all services and goods that I need. I don’t think the cashier at my grocery store feels like he’s living out his life’s passion and reason but I don’t know what I would do without him. Here I sit, raised by parents who punched a clock looking at a younger generation creating vlogs on YouTube and feeling confused.

My reality lies somewhere between the classic desk job and a fashion vlogger on YouTube. As someone who’s done accounting for small companies, been an analyst, an event planner, managed a team and been an assistant, my career has afforded me opportunity and pays the bills but I’m not out on a yacht live-streaming my wild parties. I’m typical? Maybe normal is a better word. My work is my work, not my passion.

I see the non-fiction books littering the shelves that will teach you how to make money living out your passion and how to only work 4 hours a week. That sounds great. What if your work isn’t your passion? Or you don’t really have a passion? I kind of work out, take nature walks now and again, enjoy the library and like to read. Can someone pay me to read books at the library in my fleece sweatpants? If so, sign me up!!!! I’m passionate about those sweatpants (you would be too if you tried them on).

All that being said, I’m trying to enjoy where I am right now. I’m not hanging up my dreams (or my mysterious, nameless passion) and resigning myself to my life. My life is great. I have a loving family, resources to live a comfortable lifestyle including a vacation or two here or there, and I dabble in the enjoyment of occasional photography and writing and excessive reading.

I’m finding enjoyment in the here and now (don’t roll your eyes at that). In community, conversation and yes, some comfort. My job affords me the ability to provide for my family and throw in a few extra “treats” or “luxury” items here and there. Schedule flexibility is available to me when I need it and my boss understands that family comes first and believes it. My career choices have given me countless opportunities to meet people who have become dear friends and whom I’ve helped achieve their goals. Everyday I help people through a difficult process/transaction with as much knowledge, grace, expertise and kindness as I can and sometimes they’re even grateful.

Yes I’d love to be a millionaire who works 4 hours a week (although most of the reallly successful people I know work a lot more hours then that). For now, I’m going to put down the passion books and know that appreciating the present is important. Being grateful for the now is crucial. Perhaps my passion will dramatically reveal itself or I’ll go on a quest in search of it, but today I’m going to be extra nice to the cashier at my grocery store.