Waters of Indifference

Little Skellig Ireland

I trawl through waters of indifference
to teach twelve-year-olds of Sirens,
but what do they know of longing?

Sneaking gum into class,
or texts at lockers,
they ride the waves of their impulses,

but can’t imagine
a lure that could destroy them.

#18 of 42 (Gargleblaster page)

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JellyPhish Salad

JellyPhish Salad Gargleblaster

Like jellyfish in a turbulent sea,
the crowd follows different trajectories,
yet pulsates to the same beat.

We ooze our way forward,
squeezing through momentary gaps
as this mass of jeans and t-shirts
expands and contracts.

At the stage finally, we dance.

(Link to Phish’s “Sample in a Jar” video)

{yeah writers: I put a different post on the supergrid, so here’s my Gargleblaster for the prompt, “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?”}

#17 of 42

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When the interviewer gets interviewed

101 things article
{Read the article: Part 1; Part 2}

When you’re a timid introvert, a perk of being a reporter is that you’re never the subject of the story.

Fresh out of college, I worked as a reporter for a small town weekly paper. That experience helped me for years. Although I’m bad at small talk, I had learned to go into “interview mode.” I would spring a few juicy questions about what made someone tick, imagining which quote could be offset in bigger type. Most people love to talk about themselves, and when I was an interviewer, I never had to be the center of attention.

Over the last few months, though, people encouraged me to reach out to the media about completing my list of 101 things in 1001 days. One woman told me how I inspired her to go back to college; another said she went to the movies by herself for the first time; still another decided to enter a horse show, something she had wanted to do for years. I still held back from sharing my story more publicly. It was one thing to write on my blog, my tiny little corner of the Internet where I am all-powerful, and quite another thing to hand over control to someone else.

irony too timid quotation

A few weeks ago, my friend Linda texted me that she saw a woman on Good Morning America talk about her bucket list, but that my list was more impressive. I looked up the segment, and while the woman impressed me plenty, Linda had started something. I half-heartedly sent a press release to my local paper. Within a few hours, a reporter set up an interview. In a moment of grandeur, I reached out to Oprah too.

During my interview, I sat on what felt like the wrong side of the table and chose my words carefully, knowing that any phrase I happened to babble could make me look bad.

The interviewer, Michael Torelli of The Cheshire Herald, had done his homework, clicking through my blog to find the most interesting tasks. He and I laughed over my scary trapeze class, my Dance Central ineptitude, and my suburban confusion about how exactly to milk a cow. He confessed a fear of heights himself, and we commiserated over mind-numbing moments trying to climb a simple ladder. I caught myself enjoying the attention.

I then had over a week to stew about the article. “What’s the big deal?” I asked myself, but I woke up in the middle of the night worrying. What if people misunderstood an offhand comment I made about not liking fasting for Ramadan? What if people thought I was obnoxious for bragging?

The irony wasn’t lost on me that I felt too timid to promote that I am no longer too timid or that I had to go out of my comfort zone to promote that I went out of my comfort zone.

On its publication day, I stopped into a convenience store and saw myself in full color on the bottom of the front page. My chest tightened in fear. I tore through the article, searching for anything that would embarrass me, but everything was positive.

Over the next few days, friends and family reached out to congratulate me. At one gathering, people surrounded me and poured praise over me like warm honey. I found it unnerving to be the center of attention, but this timid introvert found it exciting too.

Maybe putting myself out there isn’t so bad? If I hear from Oprah, I’ll let you know.

   Thanks to the Bronze Lounge at yeah write for critiquing the first draft of this essay. {Links to the article: Part 1; Part 2}

Cheshire Herald article part 1   Cheshire Herald article part 2

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Rich Relations

Amsterdam flowers

A day with rich relations
loomed across the state.
My state: annoyed.

They called us slobs
and the Addams Family.

So I ignored my flowery jumper
and wore my army green t-shirt,
bleach-splotched and torn,
truly insisting that it was my favorite.

army green

#16 of 42 (Gargleblaster page)

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It watched me like a hawk

Red-tailed hawk in Connecticut backyard

Red-tailed hawk

I spied a huge hawk and turkey vulture in my backyard. Phone in my pocket, I crept back there for a photo.

Turkey vulture and hawk

Hawk tore into the nasty remains of a baby raccoon I had seen it guarding two days earlier. I crept closer and closer. Turkey vulture alighted onto a tree. Hawk just kept tearing into the dead little lump and ignored both me and a cloud of buzzing flies.

(Red-tailed hawk video link: Eating amid a cloud of flies)

When I was within about 12 feet, turkey vulture got upset and with great, scary flaps took off from the tree.

Even though I was close, Hawk just looked at me like, “Hawk don’t care. Hawk don’t give a &#$%,” and I knew that my eyeballs were in jeopardy if I crept any closer. Hawk let out a call that said as much, the screaming “eagle” call that Stephen Colbert plays.

(Red-tailed hawk video link: talking to me)

After about 10 minutes, I backed away slowly, only to go into the house and return with my real camera.

Red-tailed hawk

I had originally planned to keep creeping closer until I recorded video of it flying away, but I decided that I didn’t want to scare it, that I wanted it to feel welcome in my backyard.

Yeah, that’s it, not that I was worried it would attack me and I would lose my eyeballs in pursuit of a sharper photograph of a hawk in my backyard.

Red-tailed hawk in Connecticut backyard

Are you looking at me?

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Play Tennis

Watch out for stray balls, US Open

Why are we here?

Is Prince Hamlet well?
(Non sequitur.)

Summoned from oblivion,
entrapped in a play,
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
play Questions,
trading their tennis shots,
sometimes slices,
sometimes smashes.

What does it all add up to?
(That is the question.)

(Video link)

  • #15 of 42 (Gargleblaster page)
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Fitbit to be Tied, Part 1

I was only two or three minutes into David Sedaris’s piece about his love for the Fitbit when I knew I had found it — the new gimmick that would motivate me out of my lethargy and get me moving again.

Last year, I had gotten so obsessed with keeping up my streak of walking 10,000 steps a day (for 1,043 days!) that I forced myself to break the streak. Then, my fear that I would instantly become a couch potato again was realized. The couch and I enjoyed our months together, to be sure, but some extra pounds joined us, my mood sunk, and my motivation vanished. All or nothing, how I hate it.

One winter years ago, I had started walking every day on a treadmill, when I relished “Sex and the City” reruns alone in my basement, a little me-time at the end of a busy day.

Who knows how my brain works, but just seeing online that my Fitbit is in transit was enough to get me into the woods, donning my earbuds and stepping over twisted roots as confidently as Carrie Bradshaw traipsing through the streets of Manhattan in her silliest hat.

'Sex and The City: The Movie' film premiere, London, Britain - 12 May 2008(Photo by Rex Features)

I paused to admiringly watch a Labrador retriever splashing in a muddy stream, admiringly, that is, until a minute later when it snuck up behind me and shook itself off all over me. I let out a scream and am pretty sure I looked like that same Carrie Bradshaw getting drenched by the bus in the opening credits.

Carrie Bradshaw splash (Source: sarahjparker.com)

Well, maybe not quite like that, but you get the idea.

At the end of the same walk, my husband and son were waiting for me in a pavilion and saw me bopping by, earbuds still in,  oblivious. My son snuck up behind me and scared me. I screamed, a terrified monster-is-attacking-me scream.

A man in a nearby pickup truck witnessed the whole thing. “I tried to warn you,” he said. “That calls for a punch in the head.”

I declined, but the man had a point.

Why in middle age I had to again relearn that regular exercise has its benefits I will never know, but I am ready to adorn my wrist with a geeky bracelet and wait for the magic to happen.

I’ll just have to be careful not to get a streak going.

{Update: Fitbit to be Tied, Part 2}

You may also like:

Any Fitbit fans out there? Any advice?

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La Fortuna Waterfall Costa RicaLittle fish
circled our feet.

“Piranha,” a local man said.

We laughed,
offending him.

We tried to explain:
No discordant violins
played as a horror scene
turned red.

Our apology lost in translation,
we watched and hoped
they wouldn’t take our flesh.



#14 of 42

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Beyond 101 Things: 13th Quarterly Report

13th quarterly report: April – June, 2014

It was a slow spring, but I had a blast with a Gargle Blaster, a bash on the Brooklyn Bridge, and a smash at a charitable tennis tournament. Plus, who wouldn’t want to pull a fire alarm?

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge Birthday on the Brooklyn Bridge

Pull a fire alarm safely An Alarming Desire

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster Ode to the Gargleblaster

Work on a charitable event The Filipek Tennis Tournament

In other news:

I set up two new pages:

The Grid: 101 Things and Beyond

Timid No More . Now in Paperback

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Yeah Write Interview Series

small_ywhustleThanks to yeah write for featuring me in their interview series. yeah write is a great community for “writers who blog and bloggers who write.”

Who’s on fourth: yeah write interviews Marcy of (Don’t Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

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