Tag: Commentary 2015

  • Smile

    It sounds simple and it is. Smile. Smiling is an incredible key to success in just about anything you choose to do. For some of us smiling comes naturally. For the rest of us, due to being shy or overly self-conscious, smiling is a challenge. Think about this. If a person smiles at you, are you more or less likely to interact with them? Or, conversely, if a person scowls at you, are you more or less likely to interact with them? Okay, not everyone you smile at is going to smile back. And, no doubt, there are those individuals who, because of their own shyness, might be put off by anything other than a neutral look on your face. However, by and large, if you smile when you interact with people they are going to be put at ease and feel comfortable in your company. In fact, simply smiling at folks will likely increase your likeability. We like doing business with people we like. We date people we like. We want to be around people we like. We associate with people we like. No one enjoys working with someone grumpy.

  • In Search Of Springerles

    At Christmas time my mind invariably turns to springerles. Those pale, rectangular cookies-- redolent with anise and embossed with charming floral and animal designs--never failed to grace the family tray of Christmas cookies. My search for the springerles of my youth has spanned almost 50 years. Although I did not know it at the time, this cookie originated in southwest Germany, in what was then 15th century Swabia. This area was the origin of many of the settlers in my hometown in Pennsylvania. In the case of my own family, my great-great grandmother Dorothea came from Zwiebruchen, in the Black Forest, where--a German scholar once told me--they are famous for their cooking. My mother, however, usually got her springerles at bakeries where some of the clerks added up your purchases in German. The stores had names like "Sontheimer" and "Rusterholtz." When my children were born in Mexico, I was keen to perpetuate the customs of my own culture, so I brought with me a carved rolling pin and experimented with a recipe from the afamed Joy of Cooking. The results were dismal. Instead of producing the light texture and fragile top crust with a well-defined design, I got uniformly hard and blobby-looking rectangles. (I recently read that the name springerle means “little jumper,” referring perhaps to that pop-up top I was unable to achieve.) My husband nicknamed my leaden cookies “piedras” (stones), and cheerfully dunked them in his coffee, requesting that I make more, adding lime zest.

  • Chester Buys a Beanie, a Tale

    Chester was not your average goat. No. He was far more stubborn. In fact, he was said to be more stubborn than four donkeys and three mules. Now that is stubborn. Anyway, Chester lived in a mountainous area as goats often do. He enjoyed climbing up and down the mountains, getting exercise while developing different perspectives of what he saw below. Depending on where he was in the mountains, the town in the valley below looked somewhat different. Chester took this as a metaphor for life itself. He believed that how we perceive reality is predicated on what our vantage point is. And as he often explained, that vantage point could be physical, yet it could be emotional as well – based on the unique experiences and interactions we have had in our lives. Anyway, the weather was getting cold. It was December. The holidays were fast approaching. While many of the other goats began to do less climbing, owing to the cold, Chester persisted. However, the cold was taking its toll on him. Specifically, his head was getting quite cold as he climbed.

  • A Chill and Then, a Poem

    There’s a chill in the air. I sit and I think. I am a bit cold. This is that time of the year. A time for hope, a time for fear. Desolate winter nears, with the hope of renewal once it clears. There’s a chill in the air and I feel it. This is a wondrous time. Yet it is a time that also makes us wonder. Will we live our dreams or will they be torn asunder? Where is the blanket that I will wrap around me, keeping me warm from the storm of existential doubt? This is what I want to shout! There are different types of cold -- the kind related to temperature and the kind relating to habits that have gotten old. Call it a form of spiritual cold. Will a blanket work? Is my search for one merely a quirk? Life is about growth in right measure. We are here to evolve. We are here to be enlightened. We need warmth from the sun of divine truth. A sun we cannot see but a sun we can feel. Surreal? Perhaps, but that is the sun that will help us set our ontological maps.

  • Thanks Grandma

    My grandmother lived to be over 100 years old. Her life was not just long but healthy. However, by her mid-nineties her eyesight began to fail and she spent most of her days sitting. This was a departure from what she was like for most of her life. She had previously been a virtual ball of perpetual motion. My grandmother was always working at something in the home. When she was not cooking, she was tending to any number of things. Except for her custom of sitting down to have a cup of coffee and a very plain cookie or cracker, I cannot remember her off her feet. She was a hard worker and a good person. I miss my grandmother. I miss all my grandparents.

  • Playground of the Mind; a Poem

    (*Inspired by the painting Señorita Kreativitet by E. Quevedo.) I was swinging from a branch in my mind. Going back and forth. A wild ride. Playground with unlimited space and no space at all. Imagination the only landlord. The mind. A place to be free or enslaved to the habits of bad thought. The mind, a frontier beyond all frontiers. A place that brings us joy. A place that retains our fears. In the sun, running on the beach. Blue sea. Blue skies. Smell of salt air. Funny. Outside it is cold and raining. But, in my mind, something else. And that is our mind. Whether we are in it or out of it. Hmmm, the phrases “out of my mind” or “out of his mind.” Do they even make sense? We are always in our minds. If someone does something apart from the norm, perhaps we should say, “Hey, he’s really in his mind.” Just a thought. Maybe I am thinking too much, as such.

  • You Left Me, But…, a Poem

    You had me dazzled. I wasn’t paying much attention. The flash came. I looked. Drawn to the sun. Pulled to the stars. My feet came off the ground. Silly me. But, but, but, I regained my composure. My feet came down to earth. I walked again and realized I was not flying. Ah, the return of level headedness. What a come down, emotionally. You confused me. I thought I knew but I didn’t, but I thought I did. I think. Or, well, I thought. I think. Whatever. I was unsure and looking back I knew I did not know, though at the time I was sure I did. You made my head spin. I was positive of, hmmm, of nothing. Now, I am sure I knew nothing. I think. You charmed me. Your words, your walk, your ways. You wrapped me in a warm, snug blanket. I fell softly asleep to the melody of your soothing song. I snored. I rested. I was warm and felt safe. You gently stroked my forehead. I was in a magical, mystical dreamland. And then I woke up. Boy did I wake up.

  • Walk It Back

    I remember going to the doctor when I was a kid. Some things stand out, like the doctor saying to me, “Stick out your tongue and say ah.” Going to get checked out for a cold was never something I found unpleasant, but waiting in the waiting room could get boring. However, it was not boring if my favorite magazine was available. In the back of the magazine was a maze. I would be in the waiting room of the doctor’s office so absorbed in doing the maze that when I was called to go in it was hard to get me to put down the magazine. I liked doing mazes. I found them engaging. Some were harder than others. One day, I discovered a shortcut to doing the mazes I found in this magazine. I did them backwards. I have never investigated the reason why, but doing a maze backwards – meaning starting from the finish line and tracing it back to the beginning – was always easier than starting from the beginning.

  • Sunshine Hope, a Poem

    Obliterating sunlight, casting out the demons of the night. Destroying fear. Restoring hope. Golden rays to bring us home. Home to our aspirations for a better future and a productive now. Obliterating sunlight, pulverizing our fears. Reminding us of what is dear. A source of strength. A source of renewal. The sun, our golden jewel. Talked to a guy the other day. He said, “There is no hope.” I restrained myself from calling him a word that rhymed. I figured he’d come around in time. That the sun would show him the sublime. That he would come to see the goodness of man. That he could understand a greater plan. But if not, not.

  • Consejos breves para aprendientes de idiomas

    Aqui tienen unos cuantos consejos breves para quienes estan aprendiendo una lengua. Un momengo, alto! De hecho todos estamos aprendiendo un idioma todo el tiempo. Y este es primer consejo. Aún su no estamos aprendiendo un segundo, tercer, o cuarto idioma, siempre estamos constantemente aprendiendo nuestro primer idioma. Leemos y escuchamos nuevas palabras y patrones de palabras casi a diario. tomar nota de ello nos puede ayudar a mejorar nuestras habilidades lingüísticas. Ente mayor conciencia tengamos de que estamos aprendiendo, más podemos enfocarnos en las nuevas palabras que encontramos, etc.para poder ponerlas en práctica.