Real Paper Notes

Here I am at my coffee shop, sipping on a non-fat latte with an extra shot, or moosed, as our local chain likes to call it.

The damn dog woke me up at 6:30am on a Saturday morning. Lucky for him, he raced out to relieve both his bowel and bladder. It’s the mornings he goes out to bark at the birds that I could just as easily cut him loose. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who can effortlessly go back to sleep, and so like I said . . . here I am.

There was a time when I used this blog as therapy. I must have worked through several of my issues, because I just don’t seem to need it like I used to. This morning brought back memories of rising early,sneaking off for coffee and writing before Bubba wakes. And so it seemed only natural I should log in and click “Add Post” while the sun slides up in the sky.

A friend sent a note a week ago. Not electronically. She made it with real paper, with a hand-drawn fish on the front. She wrote a few words, not many. “How’s it going?” “What’s new?” but the card said so much more. It made me think about her. She lives on the coast, and fish are ever-present on her mind. Big fish. Like whales. Drawing a fish on a real paper card is so like something she would randomly do, eagerly dropping the envelope into a mailbox on the way to the rocky shore to look for shells, or jellyfish, or whatever the sea rolls in.

I can’t say for sure, but I imagine her finding the little oval cards with their matching envelopes at a humble second-hand shop or old-fashioned drug store. The price was right, and she knew she’d find some way to make someone’s day brighter; the thought of their smile involuntarily igniting one of her own. She has this crooked little grin when there’s something she’s thinking but not saying.

Perhaps she stared out over the waves when she decided what to do with the notecards, or maybe she was pulling weeds in the garden. But I know she spent some time contemplating. I know she thought about each person who would be on the other end while she drew. She undoubtedly laughed at her illustration of a fish swimming through the weeds. And she sent it anyway. Because that’s who she is.

And in this age of email and text messages, what kind of person does this random act of drawing a fish on a plain pink card and sending it in a matching envelope through the mail? It reminded me of how much I miss her unapologetically real and honest soul. If we asked her, she’d laugh and say she is quite unremarkable. And perhaps she’s right. Maybe we want to believe it takes a certain someone to make time for this simple deed. Maybe we’re afraid of learning that if we slow down for just a minute, we, too, hold the potential for honesty, love, following our dreams, and sending real paper notes through the mail.

This little card reminded me just a bit of who I want to be. When was the last time an email did that?

Peace . . .

Check out my friend’s Instagram Account to know her better:

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Coffee, a Good Friend and a Dog

As I sit in the quiet of my own thoughts, I am reminded of one of my best practices, “Be your own best friend.”  I love to sit on the couch before the house wakens and watch the sun come up.  The sky changes hues, the clouds shift, and the world comes alive.

There is no one else I would rather be with in these moments than my self.  We sit, the two of us, in our honesty and peace, and share a steaming cup of coffee, perhaps with cinnamon or cream.

“How delicious,” I say, as the warmth fills my chest.

I remember the week, with its lists and rush and habitual planning.  I wince.  “Remember what I said to that guy at work?”  My self smiles, and remembers.  “He knows you didn’t mean it like that,” she says.  “You probably didn’t sound as crazy as you think you did.”

My self is practical, and forgiving.  And she’s right.  The guy probably doesn’t even remember what I said, much less how I said it.  I reach for a doughnut hole that Bubba brought home the day before.  It smells delicious and pairs well with the coffee.  My self smiles.  “Don’t forget how well you’ve been taking care of yourself.”   I haven’t forgotten, and I promise my self that I will savor it and eat something healthier later.

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The dog lays her warm head on my knee.  Her brown eyes are irresistible.  I trace her forehead with my fingertips.  The sky is beginning to lighten.  The clouds are purple-grey.

Funny stories from the week return.  Bubba using foreign accents just to hear me laugh.  A coworker teasing me on the phone.  My self chuckles, and says, “What would it be like to see nothing humorous in the world?”  For a moment, I feel guilty.  “I suppose there is enough suffering in the world that I shouldn’t make idle fun at every turn.”  My self thinks this over for a moment and replies, “I suppose there is enough suffering in the world that one should find humor where one can.”

We balance each other.  Me, putting my best foot forward in the world, and my self justifying the way I do it.  She eases my guilt, my shame, my embarrassment.

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Blue is beginning to break through the clouds.  White, fluffy puffs race across my window, right to left.  Silhouetted branches dance in the wind.  Cars begin to move on the street.  Voices.  A stirring from the bedroom.

“I could take a walk.  You know . . . get a few steps in before I start the day.”

My self considers this.  “I’ve been looking forward to this time all week.  The peace and quiet.  Just the two of us.”  We guard this tranquility jealously.  I tuck my cold toes under my leg.

“We have all day to get more steps.  We can go to the dog park later,”  I say.  She smiles.

“I’m really happy with how my resume turned out.”

“You did a nice job.”

“I hope they think so.  I couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Nor I without you.”

I think about how far we’ve come, my best friend and I.  She isn’t always my best friend.  At times she is my own worst enemy, letting anxiety and fear mushroom to the surface.  But for all the times I’ve despised her, she is the only one who is with me every minute of every day.  When it seems the world is against me, she is there still.  When I’m in a crowd, or on stage, or in the dark, she abides.

Sometimes I see her looking back at me from the mirror.  If I could remember when I was a baby, I would remember loving seeing her there.   Babies gaze into mirrors, laugh at them, touch them, and sometimes try to kiss them.  When does that end?  Is it with our first bad haircut?  Our first pimple?

There is so much we share that the world will never know.  A random act of kindness is made more precious by keeping it between the two of us.  She is the only one I can trust with wicked gossip or spoken confidentialities.  My self even holds secrets from me too, revealing them only when I am ready to know — she can be very sly!

We celebrate together.  We never wait for others to acknowledge our birthday.  If she wants a party, I plan it!  If I want a special meal, she comes up with a menu!  If we want a gift, we go shopping!  No one knows how I want to celebrate better than my self, so why would I place that expectation on anyone else?

I value this relationship I have with my self, and make time for us.  It requires life to slow down.  It necessitates waiting and listening until her voice is clear.  It takes being honest with my self and accepting what she says with love and understanding.

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The dog’s wagging tail tells me that Bubba is waking.  My cup is cold and empty.  Heavy blue November clouds now hang in the sky.  Our quiet time is coming to a close.

I reach for another doughnut hole and my self says nothing, but I know she’s thinking it.

“What?”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“You didn’t have to.”

It’s true.  Best friends don’t have to say anything.  They just know.

Peace . . .

25 Songs, 25 Days (Day 13) A song That Reminds Me of a Former Friend

She was my best friend from high school, who I met on our first day of Junior High School Health Class.  That was the year I made a working model of lungs that looked like a triple-D set of falsies when I blew in a straw.  We sat at black lab tables, two per work station.  I can remember the penis the teacher drew on the board, with the dotted line erection that made us all giggle.

After graduation, we were still friends.  I attended my first real concert with her.  The year was 1981.  The venue was the Met Center, St. Paul, Minnesota.  Styx put on a great show.

We stayed close pals for a few years after graduation.  We were in each others’ weddings.  But as children and careers distracted us, the friendship waned.  We catch up now and the at reunions.  The occasional email is sent.  Yet get us together, and within minutes we are the same girls who giggled at science projects and chalkboard genitals.

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25 Days, 25 Songs (Day 6) A Song That Reminds You of a Best Friend

 

For years I hid myself under the wings of people who chose what was best for me.  I sheltered myself there where, looking out from underneath, the wold looked scary.  I eventually atrophied and became weak.

 

One day, I got a job at a mall, and was quickly promoted.  As I became more proficient at my job, I learned a lot about myself.  I found out I was wise, sometimes witty, and even strong.  I learned that when I was happy, I had a great smile.

 

 

Equal Opportunity Employment
Equal Opportunity Employment (Photo credit: pasukaru76)

I also realized the world wasn’t so scary.  Not the people with purple hair, nor piercings, nor tattoos, nor any of the people I had been taught were frightening.  In fact, I found out I kind of liked the world.

 

But more than that, I found out that the world kind of liked me too!

 

My new friends came in all different colors and cultures and ages.  Some of them were smart, some made me laugh, and some had interesting talents.

 

I have moved on from that job, but I still hold many of those friendships.  Some have grown, and some have waned.  All were important to me in so many ways.

 

This is a song that found me at that time.  It reminds me that my best friend is the one with whom I can be myself, and likes me anyway.

 

Peace . . .
 

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