Fun time adventure land

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The theme of February will be “On the Road Again,” exactly like the Willie Nelson song (you’re welcome for getting it stuck in your head for the rest of the day).  I can’t wait to get going and get to adventuring this year.  After some fun time adventures in the Pacific Northwest with Siri and Misha this past weekend, (first time putting snow chains on a car, after pushing the car around on the side of a mountain) skiing down a powder laden mountain this past weekend and living to tell the tale, instead of wanting to crash afterward and sleep for a few decades, I just want MOAR.

So moar mountains and oceans it is, in just a few weeks time.  Each work day is much more bearable knowing I have those trips lined up, like twinkling lights at the end of a very dark tunnel.  California and Colorado, here I come.

Moar later, I promise.  But in the meantime, keep up with my adventures here and here.  I’ll try hard not to disappoint.

Mountain time

Monday, January 25, 2016

The mountains are calling.

And I shall be there to answer very very soon.  Break out the adult onesie, wool socks, and snow boots.  It’s been almost a full year since I’ve seen the fluffy white stuff, which is utterly too long.  I’m sure those of you in the Northeast are shaking your heads at me right now, but this is Texas y’all.  The pellets of hail that we were showered with last week can hardly count as a snowfall.

I’m looking forward to seeing my breath against cold, clean, crisp air, painful as it may be to breathe sometimes.  I’m even excited about the dreaded scratching and scraping sound as you try to carve your way down an icy, frozen hill.  Getting on and off the ski lift will always be nerve wracking the first time of the season.  Do I remember how to push myself off at the end so I won’t end up riding the lift down again?  That first run (last year it was a mogul field) is a test of muscle memory and warming up my wobbly ski legs.

I’m loading up my backpack with bandages, snacks, and water.  Well, maybe just gummy snacks.  Iris and Misha will be practicing their floating leafs on the bunny slopes, and I’ll be making friends out on the catwalk as I’m sure to fall and lose a pole or glove.

Oh and then the hot chocolate and Baileys.  Or coffee with Irish whiskey.  Or tea and whiskey.  The combinations you can drink in order to keep warm are endless.  I'll be sure to try all of them, to stay warm of course.

I’m almost there.  Just a little bit longer.


Monday, January 11, 2016

My phone chimes, first thing in the morning, with an incoming text message.

“Good morning. How was your night?”

Mid-day, another one that asks,

“How’s your work day going?  I’m going to the gym.”

And then again, later in the evening,

“How was your day? I missed talking to you.”

I am ill-prepared and unaccustomed to sudden confessions of this magnitude.  Having frozen deer-like in emotional headlights, I respond with succinct one to two word responses.  

“fine” or “i’m tired” 

No need to get descriptive, to make small talk about the weather (freezing cold) or what I ate for lunch (the same thing I eat every day).  Each word is an encouragement and unfortunately there are no such thing as anti-words that would act as the opposite.

My heart grows slightly less hardened when he tells me about the mess that he is (his words), why he’s still living with his parents, trying to put himself back through school, and when he wonders out loud about why he’s alone and has been alone for the better part of a decade.  After several hours of scrolling texts, I have no good answer but a lot of guesses, which I also keep to myself.

“I’d like to come out and see you.”

By the time the end of the weekend arrives, I’ve responded to less than a quarter of the messages I’ve received and astutely ignored the request for a selfie.  Minutes later, I receive one, unprompted.  Those eyes that bore into my core, literal turquoise pools of sadness.  A drop leaks out of my screen and drops onto my keyboard.  I perfunctorily grab a tissue and dab it up before it ruins the electronics.  Quickly, before his face can burrow its way through the liquid crystal and read my reaction, I click the large red X and it’s gone.  All of the past and our history is gone.  I breathe a sigh of relief.

And so I click into the next message.

January Thaw by Rosalie Hickler

Monday, January 4, 2016

And yet again, we start anew.  I take it as a privilege to be able to do so every single day.  Each morning from the window of my office, I watch the sunrise and my heart does a little jig as the rays reflect off the glass of the surrounding buildings and beam onto my face.  It’s akin to how you feel  just before you scribble on a blank sheet of paper.  Sadly we'll be starting the new year minus one of our four legged family members.  This poem is for my buddy Ike who tore up the turf with the best of them and took me for a ride only a jockey could have known.

January Thaw by Rosalie Hickler

There was rain in the night, a dull delivering rain
That washed the air of sparkle and hard blue gleam,
And bent the frozen grasses in the meadow,
And loosed the stream.

Now is talk and laughter of running water,
Light imperious talk of water freed.
Indolent winds stray through the winter meadow,
Winter indeed!

Everyone knows that death is a season only.
Though laughter is hushed again, and tempests shout,
It is not long till fire runs in the maples
And ice goes out.

Bear with me

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It’s all been like a waking dream lately.  

My sister stalks rainbows cast by the morning light.  She leaves a path of gummy bears in her wake; we’re still finding them hidden in flower pots and perched on bookshelves.  

In mid-December, we run shirtless through the streets, laughing and shielding our eyes from the sun’s glare.  I blink, and suddenly I’m holed up in my closet surrounded by candles, Swedish fish, and books, riding out a tornado and thunderstorm that vanishes almost as quickly as it crept up on us.  

The full moon rises, and vampires, outfitted in black velvet, stalk the night.  I am not afraid but always wary, as you must be with all creatures of the night.  We all drink too much coffee, which does nothing to make me more awake.  Even the most action-packed of moments make me feel sleepy and ready to settle in for hibernation.  

Bruises dapple my skin, origins unknown.  Where do they come from and why won’t they go away?  

It will be January soon and a brand new year; it means new beginnings and a chance to reboot.  Except that every single day has been a blank slate, and I’ve been scribbling quite furiously.  Holidaze indeed.

A prisoner for the holidays

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The man staying at my parents’ house has been in prison.

People whisper in hushed tones about his incarceration and subsequent release.  The details are vague and hard to follow, particularly in a different language.  A white collar crime and a refusal to rat.  How scandalously delicious and atypical for the household.

He doesn’t look like a prisoner, whatever a prisoner is supposed to look like.  He wears worn jeans, soft flannel shirts, and a baseball cap.  In short, he looks like most every other dad in the world.  The prisoner speaks softly in low tones, asking me several times what I’ve been reading lately and if I take good care of my vision (a common Asian parent concern).  My limited Mandarin doesn’t allow me to hold much of a conversation.  My mom tells me that he has stories to tell, that that’s why his children seek him out and favor him over their mother, to hear those stories.

Later he accompanies my dad to the grocery store, where my dad explains the banality of grocery shopping in the US where every store is the same down to the tinny music piped through the speakers.  He takes pictures of the meal my dad makes and send them off to his children, receiving a multitude of emojis back as a response.

There are so many questions I want to ask him, most of which I imagine would be offensive and embarrassing.  I create a fake interview in my head, complete with Barbara Walters crying moment.  His daughter and son-in-law arrive to pick him up this weekend, and then he’ll be off on the rest of his whirlwind US tour.  So maybe it’s better left alone, a permanent air of mystery around the prisoner at my parents’ house.

My arch nemesis

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My arch nemesis lives upstairs.  She is the mirror image of me, but with carelessly shorn hair, a crazed look in her eyes, and a mouth permanently shaped in a smirk.

Some days she’s stealthy.  She’ll slip on an all black catsuit and pull a mask over her face (what’s the disguise for, we all know who you are).  She then slides silently downstairs, daintily tipping over carefully stacked jars and canisters.  If we’re unlucky that particular day, she’ll coyly bump over rows and rows of bookshelves, leaving behind a mountain of books behind to pick up and reshelve.

Other days, she’ll charge through with trumpets blaring, a stampeding elephant through the halls of my sanity.  Without a care of what she tramples on her rampage, she blindly picks a direction or all directions and bursts through with no regard of anything in her way.  The path that my enemy takes can vary, and most times she strikes without warning.  She can wreak havoc in the matter of seconds or take her sweet time.  Either way, the intrusion is complete and the damage is done.

After each instance, I spend hours crouched over, carefully setting everything back in place where it belongs.  It’s a tedious and tiring process and unfortunately, one that doesn’t get any easier with repetition.

I’ve gotten really tired of picking up after her.  These days, I feel as though I use all of my energy cleaning up her wreckage.  And perhaps the right answer is leave it be and let it alone, for the moment at least.  There are portions of my head that are delightfully cobwebby, unorganized, and disheveled, a sort of abandoned library.  It’s romantical and a little eerie, with floaty dust motes waltzing around in shafts of sunlight.

So maybe next time my arch nemesis makes an appearance, I’ll invite her in with open arms for a glass of wine or peanut butter cookies.  And after she wears out her welcome, give her the boot.

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