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Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Different Perspective

I started reading this book today, "Inside of a Dog" by Alexandra Horowitz. Only a few pages into the book, there's already a lot of insight to be gained. What struck me especially were the ideas of what it's like to live the life of a different animal.

The book uses the example of a tick, whose life cycle is strictly pared down to hatching, maturing, mating, feeding, laying eggs, and dying. Nothing else that occurs in its surroundings is relevant, other than what is needed to carry out its life cycle. Once it is mature, the one goal is to find a mate. Once it has mated, the immediately following task is to find a place to perch (a blade of grass, perhaps) and wait for its meal. While waiting, there are only two forms of stimuli that will cause it to take action: warmth, and the smell of butyric acid (a chemical emitted by warm-blooded animals, sometimes smelled in sweat). Any other occurrence is completely irrelevant to the tick and ignored.

There's nothing for it to see, ticks are blind. It remains indifferent to any sound. It completely ignores and may not even consciously sense the feeling of wind or its perch. Food crumbs go unnoticed. It only pays attention to those two things I mentioned before - and it remains VERY intent on those stimuli until it detects either one. At that point, it only responds to those two things that are relevant in its little self-world.

And this got me thinking about the effects of its actions - the open bloody sore on the host, left after it feeds: this must also be irrelevant to the tick. Is it even aware of its impact? Maybe. But it is certainly unaware of its lasting effect on its host - pain, possibly an infection, an infestation in a household. It knows only what it is there to do, and that it must do that and only that. This is its role in the world, and the only thing it knows.

So I started thinking about other bugs. They obviously don't know or don't care about the consequences of their actions. The giant welt on your arm means nothing to the mosquito; an ant really doesn't give a crap about your picnic getting ruined, or your son getting bitten. But they both cause harm to us. And that's just how it goes with them, they do what they have to do.

Then there's us, who definitely inflict harm upon them. We swat, kill, poison them, etc. But it's out of self defense in a way. We squash that mosquito as soon as we can, because no one wants an itchy red lump - its a form of harm. We spray Amdro on the anthills in the backyard to protect us from getting bitten (that would be harm, obviously) by accidentally stepping in them. Like I said, we're pretty much acting in self-defense there. Just like the bugs, we're doing what we gotta do. And that makes me feel like its perfectly ok to kill bugs - because their lives aren't relevant in our self-worlds as humans, we can inflict bad upon them because we're protecting ourselves.

But then there's something else to consider. Unlike the tick, mosquito, ant, etc., we as humans have more to life than merely eating and breeding. We have morals. We grieve over occurrences, even when they don't directly affect us. We can find a passion in something or someone. We react in millions of different ways to millions of different stimuli. We all have countless options and different possible paths we can take in life. All of those bugs are restricted to one basic life cycle. If there are any gaps between the stages, they do not fill that chunk of time with any other activities. That tick will remain right there on its perch until it finds it's meal; until then, it will wait. They must eat and cause harm to another animal in order to reproduce and carry out its life cycle. It knows no other way.

On the other hand, humans have infinitely various ways of handling challenges. We don't have to poison that anthill if we want to stay safe from bites. We could simply avoid it. Although this is the instinctive thing to do, it's not necessary that we squash a fly. We can shoo it away, or wear big spray, or light an anti-bug candle, or whatever.

We have those options. So, does it put us in the wrong to kill them when we have other ways to deal with them? Does it make it wrong of us to kill anything intentionally because we know morals, and we have the capacity to consider the consequences of our actions, and how it may affect our environment and the creatures living in it?

I would hope not, because I really, really hate bugs. Everything about them creeps me out - their legs, their buzzing, their wings, the diseases they carry, how they could possibly hurt me, where they go when I can't find them, and worst of all: the thought of then breeding anywhere in my house or yard, and multiplying by 3 million the chances of them doing any one of those things that give me nightmares. In other words, I hope I'm not sinning by killing bugs anywhere within a 100-ft radius of me, because then I would be a relentless assassin.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, June 9, 2012


The sky grew dark
The air went cold
A massive cloud
Blocked the sun's gold

The scent of wet earth
Filled up my nose
Out of the dirt
The earthworms rose

The storm was brewing
Before my eyes
A flash of lightning
Lit up the skies

The thunder followed
With a furious roar
Rattling my bones
And striking my core

The slow-falling rain
Had picked up the pace
It shot at the grass
And pelted my face

The wrath of the storm
Pulsed out all around
Nature's raw power
Free and unbound

Friday, June 8, 2012

Not gonna be a potato this summer!

I got the idea from a friend to make a summer bucket list. I know it's not really the correct use of the term bucket list, but you get my point. Here are my 42 goals for the summer of 2012:

1. Learn to play a piano accompaniment with song of choice
2. Learn to do proper 'A La Secondes'
3. Climb a tree
4. Find an easier way to dust blinds (they're the dustier things in the house, and they take forever to wipe off)
5. Write a song
6. Create a piano accompaniment to go along with the song I write
7. Write at least 5 poems
8. Post on this blog at least 7 times (this does not count!)
9. Take at least 10 photos on each vacation and trip
10. Take a photo of myself each day without makeup
11. At the end of summer, upload the self-taken photos into a montage, dates included (just to see change over time)
12. Read at least 6 books for fun
13. Finish Persepolis (high school reading requirement)
14. Finish reading requirement questions
15. Finish Persepolis book report
16. Take a virtual class
17. Tack on at least 10 volunteer/community service hours
18. Do Zumba Wii at least once a week while at home (so much fun, and a great workout)
19. Practice volleyball with the other chicks trying out next year
20. Practice dance with friends who are actually good at it
21. Come up with my own dance routine
22. Save up and buy a laptop
23. Write thank-you note to Grandma and Grandpa for the movie passes, recycled-juice box handbag (which I adore), and check towards laptop
24. Send random e-cards to parents every week
25. Go one week without cell-phone games (embarrassing to admit, but I'm highly addicted to them)
26. Go to a concert with friends
27. Throw a party
28. Smile and wave at a random stranger :)
29. Put post-it notes with inspirational quotes on them in at least 3 different public bathroom facilities
30. Keep finger and toe nails clean and painted at all times
31. Go one week without picking my skin ANYWHERE (for those who don't know, I have a horrible problem with picking me skin, and I am desperate to stop before it starts to permanently scar)
32. Wear retainer for at least 2 weeks straight (I always forget, and I can't let my teeth shift too much, or else it's back to braces I go 8/)
33. Sell iPod Touch, Nintendo DS, and DS games (they've been sitting unused in a corner of my room for quite some time now, and I'm pretty sure someone could find a use for them at the next community garage sale)
34. Upload at least 3 videos to YouTube (I love to rant, and if you lien you can visit my channel, OnMyWayToWherever)
35. Add at least one charm to Pandora bracelet
36. Walk the dog at least 3 times a week while at home
37. Stretch at least 3 times a week
38. Get into a full split on both legs (almost there!)
39. Learn to do a proper messy bun (feel free to call me stupid, I know this is a very simple task for those of you average humans)
40. Hang out with at least 2 different friends each week (determined not to stay holed up in my room this summer)
41. Learn to cook at least 4 different dishes (I am fairly self sufficient in every way except for cooking. That I have no experience with whatsoever)
42. Cook a full meal on my own for my family once a month

And there you have it, folks. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


This room is growing dimmer.
Dark will come upon soon.
All I see is the glimmer
Of the faint, cloud-covered moon.
All that’s left is the shimmer
Going, going, gone too soon.

This, too, is inevitably fading
Even as we speak.
All the while, I keep on waiting
For the evasive light I seek.
All the while, it continues to be
Too distant, far too weak.

Pitch black now, I felt around
For any sort of guide.
My hopes were being drowned
Ebbing like the tide.
I slid down the wall, sank to my knees,
Tipped back my head and sighed.

It was I who the darkness would swallow.
To the black, I prepared to give in.
But I brushed against something hollow
And metallic, sort of like tin.
Tilting the can, liquid sloshed around inside
And oil spilt from within.

New faith emerged in a flash,
The tide rising once more.
Swelling like a breaker and falling with a crash
Soaking the dry, sandy shore.
The oil could help me escape.
I could use it – but what for?

I rose upon my trembling feet
With outstretched hands that fumbled
For something else to aid my retreat –
Then onto a box I stumbled.
It held very little, for when it tipped over
Out a flint and steel tumbled.

The final piece to my puzzle,
The missing link in my plan,
Was worth the aching muscle.
It sat in the palm of my hand.
I knew exactly what to do –
And I made my way back to the can.
Dunking the steel in the oil,
I took on a resolute stance.
Into friction the pieces were embroiled,
And the sparks began to dance.
Then flame engulfed them both –
This was my only chance.

I threw the two at the box,
Setting the whole thing aglow.
The hue of an autumn fox
Took over the ground below.
It’s strange to think I was so helpless,
So discouraged, not long ago.

Wide open I kept my eyes
As I dodged the flames across the floor.
Keeping my eyes on the prize,
I headed toward the door.
Once upon a time, not long ago,
I was trapped – but not anymore.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I was restless.
Tossing, turning, and writhing
Under my fleecy teal quilt.
I was too hot, too cold,
Too fidgety to find peace.
Whatever attempts I made
At grasping this evasive
Thing called sleep
All proved futile.
As long as worry
Was my opponent in battle
I doubted I should ever prevail.
I felt trapped in this empty room.
The empty drawers
Of my empty dresser
Moaned for old memories
To fill their voids.
This old, blank mirror
Reflected my blank expression
- or, so it seemed blank.
There was so much more
Going on behind these bars
These bars I erected
To hide others from
My reality.
This mirror reflected
Only the mask
Of what I pretend to be.
But, it's known me long enough
To know that this is my disguise.
As it has wizened
Along with me
And the reflection feels as I do.
My eyes and mind
Wander aimlessly around
For a little while longer.
That's when I turn
And take notice to the shutters.
Iridescent moonlight
Trying to pass through -
But blocked by
The dark silhouettes of the blinds.
And after much thought,
I realize that
These squeaky wooden shutters
Reflect my image
No more, no less
That does that old, dusty mirror
I've looked into so many times.
And this is what they both show:
A mask, a disguise
A cover of some sort
Designed to conceal
What lies behind.
But somewhere, somewhere deeper
If you look closely enough
One can see the truth
Peeking out, here and there,
In any available gap.
Just then, a fist -
Could it have been my own? -
Is pumped forward
By an untamed power
Of release
Of freedom
Of madness.
Chunks of sharp, broken glass
Are crushed smaller and smaller
Until I have obscured any view
To the reflection they once showed.
I whipped around to face the shutters
Tore off the latch
And ripped them open
With a violent yank.
The doors flew open with a clash.
I stood there for a moment,
Allowing myself to be exposed
To the unconcealed light
The uncovered power
The fully revealed truth.
Magnetizing, it was.
It kept pulling, pulling
Pulling me in.
With one swift shove,
I threw up the sash
Extended my arms
And took to the open night sky.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

California ~ all it's cracked up to be!r

Unlike the overrated tourist destinations back home in Orlando, I've found that the Golden State isn't just all hype. I love how nature and development are so interspersed here, and how hills and buildings coexist so that the buildings jut right out of the earth. The weather isn't extreme in any way, the air is fresh, and the sun is always shining at an angle that seems to make everyone content. At least in San Diego. Residents would probably tell me otherwise, but as far as I've observed, it's been nothing but everything I want in city: sunny, modern, artistic, musical, and highly focused on preserving the environment. I love the culture here, the priorities of the communities, the architecture, the views from up high, the harbors, the seals, the foliage, the flowers, the cute little apartments downtown, how dog-friendly it is... I just love, love, love! I'd move here in a heartbeat if I could. One of my favorite things I've been doing here, other than checking out the clusters of tiny art studios of sculptors, painters, jewelry-makers and glass-blowers, has been taking pictures (of quite a lot!). I've gone through my phone (I promise, one day I'll get a legit camera) and narrowed it down to several favorites that I'll post here. Enjoy!

                                                                  I love Koi ponds.

                               How lucky I was to find this view completely empty of people!

 If you happen to notice the duck perched on an above-ground root just to the left of the base of the trunk, you can tell just how small it is in retrospect to this mammoth tree.

                                                              The botanical garden

                                                                 AMAZING view...

A very opportune moment, successfully taken advantage of. I caught this adorable baby bunny looking at me in the japanese garden :D
                                       I have no clue what these are, but I liked this close-up.

                                      Bonsai garden - another one of my all time favorite things.

 Liked this view

Newlyweds in Cali!

I've been in San Diego for the past 4 days or so for my uncle and his fiance's (now wife!) wedding. It was on St. Patrick's Day at the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park. In the spirit of the holiday, the bridesmaid's dresses were olive-leafy green (despite the hideous cost our matching J Crew attire, I will probably never wear it again due to the unusual color and suffocating fit). Not only was there an Irish theme to the reception, but the sunny coastal city seemed to have attracted some Irish weather to match (luckily, rain on your wedding day is apparently good fortune). We were all freezing out in the chilly wind and rain in our tiny dresses while the photographer took what seemed to be 50 snapshots of the same position. However, after we got all this over with, the fun part began. The gaggle of groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girls and the ring bearer ducked inside to begin the ceremony. This is when I began to see that side of my uncle I didn't know existed until he met his soul mate (I'll call her 'D'). Let me give you a little of his background history:

He's always been the goofy guy who lacked common sense, responsibility, and often needed a reality check. He's got the brains of an engineer and plays saxaphone like a pro. Great potential, really, but his music kept him from the lifestyle he wanted. He was always more of an "I can't" or "I don't feel like trying" person. I guess a better way of putting it would be that he lacked direction up into his mid-thirties. For some time after he divorced his first wife, C, he got into drinking and was caught several times drunk driving.

Until, while kayaking in Kuwait, he met her. The woman that gave him a reason to change. And she obviously brought out that rational, responsible, more sensible(ish) side of him. One that would even make a good father.

Anyhoo, the wedding was lighthearted, cheerful, and fun. Some of his band buddies played a few upbeat celtic ditties for which everyone went footloose and didn't hesitate to kick off their sunday shoes. I managed to keep my crazy little cousins under control (they didn't break anything! Props to me!). The wedding cake was exceptional, to say the least. Everyone had a marvelous time mingling with friends of family and family of friends. Back at the hotel, I flopped down on the bed, exhausted. I tore off my dress, shawl and heels, yanked on a shirt, and passed out under the covers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I had my moment.

Phew. I feel a bit better after getting all that off my chest last night. But since then I've become more secure with myself. The one thing I forgot and totally left out of the picture whilst pouring out the contents of my mind is how much time I still have. I have got to remember that I am still so young. Not even in high school yet - I'll just be turning 14 this month. The last thing I want to do is grow up too fast. Letting all those thoughts out made me realize just how tightly I am clinging to my innocence. Nothing gold can stay, I know, but nevertheless I will try my hardest to make it last.

Can I just say that poem is one that speaks to me more than any other? It's the story of my life. Reading it makes me feel... Closer to God, I suppose. The piece speaks of purity, innocence - life before it is hardened by knowledge and reality. It makes me think of Adam and Eve before they ate fruit from the tree of knowledge. Of young children unaware of and unexposed to evil. They get this baffled look on their faces when they hear of some horrible thing that someone has done, because they simply cannot fathom WHY or HOW it was done.

I think if the world could view itself through the eyes of a child, it would be in for a very rude awakening.

I refuse to leave this life without making my mark in this world.

I'm really not sure how to begin this. But if I don't then it will eat me up inside.

I read posts from the blog of an artist that inspires me. And what I've realized during the whole process is just how shallow I am in comparison.

He wrote about his dreams at night. His emotions. His daydream travels and internal idiosyncrasies. All so beautifully scripted and naturally flowing, as if he hadn't even tried . And the truth of it is, he didn't. It was his own personal release of things kept inside and never exposed to those outside his world.

I read everything, stayed up hours into the night, awestruck with how he poured his heart out. I was unaware that any human being had the capacity to bear such thoughts and emotions. I know I certainly don't, in spite of the fact that I've often been considered a girl of deeper, darker thoughts, with wisdom for my age.

The thing is... I want to have that capacity. I feel as if it is the only thing that let him get to the place he is now. It is what influences so many people to follow him, to admire him. It is what makes one desire to have a significant role in his life, in hopes that maybe you should be that one who caught his attention, the one he wants to figure out and get to know better. A foolish fantasy for many, but impossible to let go of.

I want to be that person who inspires others to look a little further inside themselves. However, I feel like in order to be that person, something has to traumatize me first. I mean, really, let's be honest - all those well-known people who are renowned for their wisdom, emotion, creativity, spirituality, raw talent, etc., and none of it is because of looks or any lucky privilege they had been conveniently graced with - they all had some kind of horrid tragedy happen to them. Or perhaps they had their own inner anxieties and conflicts that haunted them throughout childhood or began as they became a young adult. Either way, I've pretty much deduced that in order to be the person I desperately want to become, I have to have either been born a little insane (as much as I would liked to have been, this is not the case) or something will have to turn my world upside down - very soon.

Is it weird that I envy the people who are endowed with bursting emotion, thought and creativity, knowing that it is basically guaranteed to be served with a side of insanity from birth? Am I wishing something upon myself that I should feel lucky not to be automatically burdened with? In the words they put down, it is obvious that they are lacking in many essential areas: sleep, satisfaction with themselves, and, depending on the artist, socializing. These are all things that I have a little phobia of lacking. But even still... I want to make the impact they've made. And in the same manner as they have too - raw, effortlessly, without putting thought into what will please who, and without the constant worry of who they will disappoint, who will be left unimpressed. It is who they are that puts their followers in such awe and admiration of them - and what could be more effortless that being who you are?

But who I am is not impressive.
I am all too average to leave anyone "wonderstruck".

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Key West vacation

This vacation tops all others. Nothing is structured, yet you're still out and about doing the things you enjoy. Our little cottage is quaint and adorned with several paintings and plants. The beds are unbelievably comfy - once you sleep in one, you'll never want to get up. The culture is much more relaxed and friendly than that of our redneck town back home. Most of the good clothing shops sell things that make you feel as if you're wearing a work of art (the other ones make you look like a slut, douche bag or a bad parent). Most of the guys here are really hot, but unfortunately almost all of them are gay. But that's alright, gay men are fun to talk to. Out on Duvall Street at night, it's pretty amusing to see just how trashed everyone gets. The good thing is we haven't encountered a drunk person yet who isn't friendly. According to the locals, the best time to drink and party is "every single freakin' night". I can't imagine what it will be like tonight - happy New Year, party people! Apparently a drag queen is going to be lowered down on a rope from an oversized conch shell suspended in the air. Should be interesting. Anyway here's some pictures from the trip do far.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Church During Advent

We tiptoed up the steps
Onto the hushed balcony
Looming over the church worship center.
A band of young students
Instruments in laps
Sat silently awaiting their cue to play.
The conductor himself
An eccentric man indeed.
If ever a man could become one with the music, it was he.
He perched his hands
Above his head
As if the air would release them in time with the music.
The first bells rang
And the ode commenced.
The timpani boomed out to each and every ear.
The piano keys
Bobbed up and down
When two familiar voices rose out of the medley.
The guitarist man
And the lady in purple.
Their voices linked hands and sang out in unison.
His eyes were accented
With wrinkles from laughter.
His drawl that sounded of a slow-flowing creek.
Her eyes, like that
Of a mothering doe.
Round, wide, and seeing for miles.
They sang of the story
Of the first Noel
When God sent our savior in the form of a baby.
The hymn then ceased
And came to a close.
The last bits of music faded away with grace.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hate to say I told you so, BUT...

So, folks, I suppose that you remember my post about my wonderful encounter with Coach O'Niell when I confronted her about our group dance? Yeah. Well, based on the praise we received from the audience, it turns out that her highness - (gasp) - was, believe it or not, WRONG. My first thought we walked onto the gym floor was "all right guys, if we screw up, just laugh it off and act like nothing happened." As it turned out, we had nothing to fear. As soon as we began our first segment of the dance, the crowd of students erupted into applause. Before we knew it countless people were fist pumping to the beat, shouting out "WOOHOO" followed by one of our names. I was surprised to hear mine called out several times. Every time the remix (that I made and am very proud of) faded out and switched to another segment of a song, there was an immediate round of whooping and cheering. We undoubtedly received the biggest applause of all the groups. Coach O'Niell's expression when we were finished just made my day. Not one muscle in her face attempted to hide just how furious she was that the crowd had loved our dance so much, while she had spent weeks turning her nose up at it in any way possible. Every day something else was bad about it. Then we perform for the people whose opinions actually matter to us, and we get the most rewarding reaction we could have asked for. Coach can suck it.