Saturday, July 10, 2010

sweet 16

Humidity, like a magnet, pulling the beads of sweat from the pores of my skin. The fireflies are out in force, dancing to the rhythm of their own summer evening house party. It’s the longest evening of the year, and I’m sitting on a hard bench placed on the edge of a grassy knoll that covers the front lawn of the University, only a stone’s throw from my cottage. Summer session students stroll lazily across campus and down University Avenue, no doubt to escape the pressure of the classroom and the heat of the day. They are not as frantic and frenzied as they might be during any other semester in the year, but in a state of learning nevertheless. I ponder the history and grandeur of this institution that Thomas Jefferson birthed centuries ago. I wonder if I missed out on the experience of attending a traditional college on some historic campus, becoming part of a student body that thought they had the whole world figured out before age twenty. The elementary freedom and wisdom of youth, incurred at this pause in life: the undefined space between adolescence and, perhaps, the hum drum of a working world. But I did things differently. I exchanged my graduation cap and gown for fatigues and a helmet, responding to the call of Uncle Sam and the mystery of the Cold War’s climax. I grew up quickly. I soldiered by day and studied by night. And life rolled on by. And not too long after I had decocooned from boy to man, something else rolled on by: A baby carriage containing this beautiful bouncing little girl named Mariah. A questioningly curious Mariah: yearning for life and on a constant quest for meaning, justice, acceptance and laughter. And she changed my life forever. In an instant my identity had transformed me from who I thought I was. And that instant defines who I am today.

What a joy it was to be your father, Mariah. What an amazing God-given miracle. And now, 16 years later, I sit on this hillside, outside the Rotunda, sipping an evening espresso. I wonder what decisions you will make in the next 16 years, nay, the next year ahead of you. What university or walk of life will woo you? What calling or vocation will expose you to both the right and wrong of this consuming world outside your present bubble? What kind of woman will you become? The choice is yours, to some extent. I hope and pray you make healthy choices. Good choices. And that you learn from your mistakes…and mine. I also pray that you enjoy every amazing something that becomes your year of Sweet Sixteen: driving, working, advancing to the Junior class, and taking on so many more adult life responsibilities. I pray always that you will one day live a faith that is clear and real to you, that you will exude a heart that is golden, and possess a peace that no man can take away and that surpasses all understanding.

As 7/11 loom near, I wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARIAH!
Loving you still, Loving you always,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Boy meets girl. 
Girl wants to run like the wind.
But she stays.
So they both stay.
And they learn to trust.
And love. Again.
And that’s a good thing.
I think.
And I hope the girl will truly stay,
Because she means the world to me.
She is fiery.
And she’s smiley.
Infusing a radiant yellow back into my deepest of mellows.
She makes me laugh.  And blush.
And feel purpose in my veins again.
She challenges me to be translucently real.
And to live for something better than myself.
She complements me, filling in for my inadequacies.
She knows just how to smooth my rough edges.
She is quite beautiful.
Stunning, in fact.
Well I don’t mean to put her on some pedestal,
I just thank God for her.
And I want to know her even more.
And I want to lift her up and hold her hand.
And be her friend in fair weather and every ferocious storm.
Mesmerized in unity,
We’ll traverse the world from one end to the other.
…Or maybe we’ll just get lost on some far-off deserted island…
Only to find in quilted paradise,
Under pitter patter of rainy roofs
that two are, indeed, better than one…
Boy meets girl.
That’s a good thing.
I think.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Batman in Winter

Activities that encompassed my latest 3.5 day off-shift cycle include the following: Sleeping 12 hours, then remerging from vampire bat-like coma into the land of living daylight hours; driving 324 miles roundtrip to see a sparkly someone and achieving nourishment from the 2-for-one fresh Rockfish dinner special at iL Giardino down by the Beach; nearly accomplishing the so called “beast list”, exchanging a bad Epson inkcartridge at Cartridgepros without a receipt no questions asked, watching The Hurtlocker, and being thoroughly disappointed, finessing a recipe of Alaskan salmon with couscous and broccoli for the one I love (she made the deliciously cheesy sauce) and being thoroughly “Appointed”; terrain walk and reconnaissance along the beach at First Landing (yes, the place where They first landed), sitting in a Starbucks with my dear friend, Grande Cappuccino, and reading The Perfect Storm, while I watched the gale blow in over the bay {I may have once been a member of the Gloucester Fishermen (yes, I lettered on the Rifle Team), but there’s a reason I didn’t remain in that town and become a sailor or a fisherman. Me and the high seas don’t mix- which reminds of me of when my brother was taking sailing lessons in Hong Kong and I refused to leave the bay with him, so I jumped overboard and swam back to the beach). I do wish, however comma, that I could acquire the long line or netting skills to become a proper fisher of men}...back to our list…test driving many plush topped minimum 782+ coiled queen-sized mattresses to replace the lifeless futon upon which I’ve been resting my weary head and aching spine every night for the past 3 years {thanks, Matthew, for the replacement futon (yes the one that never left your side during your entire college career), but its finally got to go!); watching three episodes of The Office: Season 5; And on this unseasonably lion winter March day in Virginia: Yoghurt, blueberries, goat-cheese & mushroom omelet, really well-brewed (by me) coffee, snow, sleet, DRUDGEREPORTThe Alyssa Reeves Super Awesome Blog , laughing at the photo of Miles the cat enjoying his first yoghurt; laundry, lists, excel spreadsheets, calendars, and planning my return to the next cycle of Vampire Bat-life and sleepless nights.

Hearing the Seagulls

There is a seagull outside in the parking lot yelling in my ear.   Have you ever had your ears irrigated?  Last week Melissa irrigated my right ear canal which had become clogged and quite painful.  I had been trying to clean it out on my own using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water, but, I forgot to warm the liquid.  The extreme shock of sudden introduction of a cold substance to the inside of your skull messes with your equilibrium in a major way.  I finally bought a baby ear dropper and told Melissa I needed her to come over and play nurse (no innuendo intended).  She was quite reluctant at first, but when she started to see progress, in perhaps a grotesque sort of way, she became eager to continue to irrigate, to the point of drowning.  The peroxide solution was running out of my ear and into my nose and mouth.    I sort of wish we had recorded this for Youtube posterity.  It would have been rated up there along with the Toothpaste For Dinner guy:

Toothpaste For Dinner guy...


If life is like coffee, I, by no means, am a to-go-mug of filtered auto drip, set the night before and timed for a precise wake up call. There is no arousing aroma here. Neither do I find myself to be a carefully prepared sweetened double espresso macchiato is there anything else I can get for you, Sir, asks the Barrista from the drive-thru window java man. I am more of a French Pressed, tout le chemin bébé!, cobble-stoned sidewalk café on a Sunday afternoon individual. I sit in boiling water for four minutes with all my freshly ground junk circulating around me in a whirlpool of oily disaster. Then, I’m finally pressed down, releasing all those flavonoids and essential oils, and finally poured, leaving all the residual grinds behind.