Admissions of a Birthday Girl

Tomorrow marks another year closer to three decades of my existence on Planet Earth. Admittedly, there is, and always has been a strong contradiction between the number of birthdays I’ve celebrated, the age of my face, and the age of my soul. If everyone in the world forgot the year I was born, I would be very confused about my age.

A few months ago, I gazed in the mirror one day to see my first noticeable signs of aging. Before that, I had a face as smooth and white as a baby’s bottom. A baby face, that took at least five to ten years off of my chronological age. When I was pregnant, people gazed at me in shock and horror, as if I were a teen mother. I went to complete paperwork at the bank for my name change, and the teller was taken aback. “I swear, I wouldn’t have thought you were old enough to get married.” I got that, a lot.

Tick - tock.

Quite the oddity, I was actually excited to see the fine lines across my scarred forehead and around my mouth. I may be the only woman on the planet that was excited to see my face start to catch up with my chronological age! I despised my youthful appearance. I have never felt as if my chronological age fit, nor did I take it as a compliment when someone thought I was a teenager.

I will make an admission; I am one of those people that typically loathes their own birthday.  Yes, I find it absolutely pretentious.  Except, I do not detest my birthday for the same reasons that everyone else does.  As previously stated, I like the aging process.  I have always been excited about gaining more numbers.  My birthday just falls in a bad time of the year.

Growing up, I secretly envied peers that had birthdays during warmer months.  Pennsylvania has reasonable temperatures between March and November.  My friends would have all kinds of fun parties, because they weren’t all trapped in the house, buried in four feet of snow, and huddled around the heater in subzero temperatures.  Camping parties, pool parties, outdoor parties, indoor parties where we could run around the yard, parties in the park, and every other conceivable party I couldn’t have.

As an adult, the problem grew worse.  In the last ten years, I have had two nice days on my birthday.  My 22nd and my 24th.  Neither of those birthdays had anything planned.  I can’t plan a party.  Every year I have tried, I was doomed for especially bad weather.  My 23rd had to be moved to the weekend of Superbowl Sunday, when the Steelers were playing.  Living in Pittsburgh, the Steelers in the Superbowl is more important than anything.  When they win the Superbowl, the city gets shut down for two days, because everyone is too busy celebrating to go to work.  If they’re not going to work, they sure as hell aren’t going to my birthday party.

People don’t want to come out in January if they don’t have to.  I have been cursed with ice storms, heavy snow, and subzero temperatures.  So, I stopped planning parties.  I stopped planning anything, actually.  Because each year, I have been brutally disappointed.  Those disappointments mounted into resentment for that day.

Not this year!  I don’t especially care what the weather is like.  It does not matter if my friends or family notice the date on the calendar or not.  I like my birthday.  I am celebrating me, and everything my life has amounted to.  I am happy with myself, and all that I’ve created and become.  There is no need for anyone to justify my thoughts or emotions about me.

I love that it’s on a Saturday, because there are no expectations.  I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.  And, I have all of the time in the day to do anything I do want to do.  I will go out and have a lovely dinner on the house.  (I already have the voucher).  Then, I will buy myself the things that I actually want for my birthday.  No expectations, no disappointments.

This past year has been one of the harder ones, but not the hardest.  I have made so much progress in all aspects of my life.  I am managing my physical and mental health well.  My marriage is solid.  My career is taking root.  And my son is growing.  My family is happy and healthy.  I am happy and healthy.  Those are all of the things I’ve ever wanted. This birthday, I have them all.

The best birthday present ever is the pride that I have in myself.  I have walked through fire to get to this point.  I may not have done it all gracefully.  But, I made it out stronger, wiser, and better for it all.

Bipolar Inspirations

When I attempted to make the graphic media additions to the Original Graphic Media page, I made a discovery. It wasn’t practical to showcase my graphic media in a hidden page anymore. It had outgrown the tiny mention on Pendulum. It was time to build a new home for all of my graphic media.

A new home for Lulu's original graphic media

All of my graphic media will eventually be moved to the new site Bipolar Inspirations. As avid fans of Pendulum, you may have noticed many posts have graphic media associated with them. That will not change. However, if you have a longing to know the stories behind the pieces, Bipolar Inspirations may be exactly the place you’d like to visit.

Shameless self promotion alert: Don’t forget to hit the “Follow” button at the top!

Thanks to you all for following Pendulum! Posts will still remain frequent on Pendulum, but may be a little less frequent on Bipolar Inspirations.

As The Pendulum Swings

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my blog and the psychology of color.  We are all aware that colors around us alter our perceptions about the place, people, and situations we encounter.  I live in Pittsburgh, and I experience The Grey Season throughout months primarily between November and March.  Part of this is also known as Winter.  In The Grey Season, my perceptions are altered.  Everything is just more, well, blah, for lack of a better word.  It’s depressive but not necessarily depression.

Here’s a run-down of the psychology of color.

  • Black: considered to a serious color.  Usually is representative of any subject that is exclusively serious.  It usually revolves around death.  Invokes feelings of seriousness, gloomy, and despair.
  • White: considered to be a color of purity, cleanliness, and impartiality.  It can be thought of as a clean slate and new beginnings.  White bears no judgement.
  • Grey: thought to be a color that represents mediocrity.  It is not a moving color.  It is absolutely uninspiring.
  • Red: is considered to be a color that represents aggression and anger.  Think of the bullfighters holding the red drape.  The bull naturally feels aggression when seeing the color red.
  • Orange: is a vibrant color and typically represents change.  Orange is a color that is found most in the fall.  It is the color of pumpkins in the harvest, and leaves falling from trees.
  • Yellow: thought of as a joyful color.  Yellow is the color of the sun, and the light that it brings into this world.  The sun brings warmth, and is necessary for plants to grow.  It is considered a high energy color full of happiness.
  • Green: is thought of as an intelligent color.  Green is the color of money, but also the color of plants.  It is often representative of fertility and luck.
  • Blue: considered a color of serenity.  Blue occurs naturally in the world as the largest entities.  The sky is blue.  The oceans are blue.  Many people don’t realize that the water represents the fluidity of our emotions.  Blue water is calm water.  It is healing for the mind in nature.
  • Purple: is a regal color.  The robes of kings and queens were made from precious and rare indigo dye.  It represents wisdom, respect, and stimulates the brain for problem solving.
  • Brown: thought of as a stable color.  It is the color of the very earth we walk on.  It is reliable and constant.

As you may have noticed, my banner changed.  The banner was a hand-crafted graphic of hand selected clocks.  Each clock represents a frame of mind.  And every clock represents the seconds that are passing in our lives, during this very moment.

As the Pendulum Swings is a term that represents a number of ideas and concepts.  First and foremost, it represents the swinging of a pendulum in relation to the nature of bipolar disorder.  For every swing in one direction, I experience a swing in the opposite direction.  Whether they are long swings, or short swings, the pendulum will never stop until I am dead.

As the Pendulum Swings is also a play off of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum”.  If you are interested, the link will take you to the entire text for your reading pleasure.  Poe’s writings have always resonated with me, even as a young teen.  There was something in there that seemed to describe my very nature.  I felt the title of my blog was an appropriate reference to this work.

And finally, As the Pendulum Swings represents the swinging of the pendulum as it ticks our lives away.  Each swing is a second we have either gained for ourselves, or forever lost in the folds of the fabric of time.  It is a constant reminder that we should be constantly aware of our precious mortality.  Our physical lives are actually not exclusively owned. Rather, they are on lease, and we cannot be sure when that lease will expire.  We may lose our mortal flesh, but our souls are ours to keep.

What will you gain today from your mortal seconds to assimilate into your undying soul?

Tarnished and Golden Friday

Lulu Quirk #5 – extreme claustrophobia. Large crowds in tight spaces are the easiest way to set off a panic attack capable of anything. Black Friday might be the scariest day of the year. Every year, I reserve this day for hunkering down in the bunker and waiting it out, like people wait out a snow storm.

The Suit Strikes Again
The bad news started early that day. C.S. spoke with our lawyer. The plaintiff lawyered up, and now, the driver of the vehicle is claiming personal injury. (The owner and the driver are not the same person).

What bull! When I arrived on the scene, C.S. was sitting on the curb with and unfocused stare. His glasses had been lost, and no one even bothered to attempt to locate them! One leg was extended and swollen with bruising. It was clear he was hurt, and yet they let him just sit on the ground.

And she’s claiming personal injury!? Complete lies. When I arrived, she and her male friend (still not the owner) were jumping up and down in the attempt to get the convertible roof down. I saw her up close. There wasn’t a scratch on her. This lawsuit has become a circus.

I am not at liberty to discuss the next course of action. But, it wasn’t the most fabulous news of the morning.

Karmatic Vindication
The day was completely redeemed. Yeah, like all humans, especially women, I am petty. I don’t hold active grudges because that takes more effort than I have to give. But I will never forget someone who mistreated me. That includes all of the catty girls who treated me like I was some kind of outcast trash.

I was bullied and picked on. I was overweight. I wore glasses. I lived in a poor, completely dysfunctional family, in a bad neighborhood. My fashion was gothic, standard funeral dress to celebrate every miserable day of my teenage existence.

Eventually, I rebelled against social norms by challenging them at every turn. I started an extremely popular clique called, “The Anti-Clique”. I was an inspiration to all of the wonderful kids who were cast out. Kids with quirks, nerds, geeks, creeps, weirdos, goths, etc. Most everyone was welcome, with few exceptions. Some people were just beyond help. Eventually, I became a household name. I was practically a cult leader.

I was also particularly smart and incredibly talented. I was an honor student who was Chorus vice president and president. I was accepted into the very exclusive Select Chorus by audition. I was section leader in both classes and section leader in band. And I was also accepted into the extremely exclusive music technology pilot program.

I may as well have had a target on my back. Being in the public spotlight with massive support to mock conformity put me in a prime position for attack.

I have mostly forgotten all about it. When it comes up, it’s all rehashed, but with a certain amount of emotional detachment. I don’t really care about what happened. It gave me the drive to become the beautiful, vibrant, educated, and fulfilled woman I am today.

We had a late night. When C.S. and I were dating, we used go to restaurants for half-priced appetizers all of the time. We went to a local restaurant that is rarely ever crowded. When we arrived, we stood at the hostess table for quite awhile. I was becoming irritated. The only thing worse than bad service is inedible food.

But, when our hostess greeted us, I knew exactly why we had an extended wait. I immediately recognized her and I knew that she had seen me from afar. Likely, she ran around begging others to cover for her and came up empty.

Macy was one of those girls. This girl had been a snobby bitch since Kindergarten. We had neighborhood schools, all except for mine. And we were shipped to an adjacent community school. We were outsiders. No matter how nice I treated this girl, she always turned her nose up at me. Her mother even treated mine like dirt. Her mother was the PTA President.

We spent three years in Select Chorus in opposite sections. She was soprano and I was alto. We sat directly across the semi-circle from one another. She was nothing. Not a section leader, and never picked for solos or competitions. But, she’d stare at me with a permanent snarl on her face with her nose propped in the air.

There Macy stood, as a hostess / waitress at a local restaurant with an ass that she could rent as a billboard, and the color of an Oompa Loompa! She was so clearly embarrassed that she couldn’t even make eye contact with me! And once we were seated, she mumbled something about our waiter, and made a beeline for the kitchen!

Ha! Karma’s a bitch! and you could tell she was getting it three fold. I’m hardly arrogant. But I knew what it looked like on the outside. I’m in stylish clothes, thinner than in high school, with lovely skin and brilliant blonde hair. C.S. is gorgeous. (I can say that with confidence because he bears a strong resemblance to Robert Pattinson, or Edward Cullen from Twilight). And T.D. is beyond cute. And overall, we are a pretty happy family that appears as if we have money.

I texted a high school friend who texted me earlier in the week to ask if she was being catty over her pleasure in watching all of these other girls become wide and miserable. “Absolutely not!”, I answered, “You didn’t do it. They’re paying for all that they’ve done.” I had to dial this back to her and she laughed. I don’t usually bathe in other people’s misery, but in certain cases, I can’t resist. She assured me it was totally justified.

A little after midnight, I receieved a call from my friend. Excitedly, she asked, “Did you see Macy’s recent status?”

“No, we’re not FB friends. She’s private. What did she say?”

“Apparently, you must have given her a serious blow to her self esteem! Status: Goals for December: 1.) Get in shape, 2.) Get a second job, 3.) Be happier in life.”

And the smug laughter ensued.

I didn’t have to say a word. I didn’t even have to make eye contact. All I had to do was be myself.

Revenge is like a fine wine. It gets better when aged.

Eleven, Eleven, Eleven

I am completely luck impaired. If I had luck as a stat like in role-playing games, it was be a -3. I swear.

But today, on the luckiest day of this millennium, I thought that I would acknowledge all of the luckiest things that have ever happened to me.

  • From what I understand, some people search their whole lives for that one special person. I met him in my teens. I became romantically involved with him, and nine months later we were married.
  • I am blessed with a wonderful son. Many women have fertility issues. Even if this surgery results in infertility, I still have T.D.
  • I was lucky enough to have a mostly uncomplicated pregnancy with T.D. and a complication free labor. He was born healthy and beautiful.
  • Through pure chance, I fell into the job of my dreams. This was the spark that started my passion for education and love of children. Some people search forever for the job they love, and I received mine by chance.
  • I am naturally gifted in many areas. I was afforded so many different chances to hone my abilities.
  • I am lucky enough to have a permanent home.
  • By chance, I have found a mental health community. Here, I find warmth, comfort, guidance, and camaraderie.
  • C.S. was lucky enough to walk away from a potentially fatal accident. I am lucky to have him alive.
  • Through absolutely random chance, I met a stranger on the bus who helped me save the big spring musical. It saved my job, gave me work over the summer, and promoted me to Music Director.
  • Once, I found $123 on a sidewalk with no one in sight.
  • And best of all, I am the luckiest gal on the planet to be surrounded with people who love me for who I am. This one goes out to you.
  • Maybe I’m not so unlucky after all. Happy 11/11/11!

Books Speak Louder than Words

Yesterday was not a complete loss.

After the episode detailed in I’m Not Okay, C.S. suggested we go to Half Priced Books. We dressed and headed out in an unusual October snowstorm. The ride was enjoyable, although I was too anxious to sit still. It’s always a wet day outside when we go to the bookstore. That’s the last weather a person would want when transporting books.

Between the three of us, we must have purchased 25 books, two flash card packs, and three journals. I’ve been keeping handwritten journals in flimsy composition books. It’s nice to finally have a sturdy home for my ramblings, so they may live on for years to come.  And we put quite a dent in our bank account.

As I was sitting with C.S. this afternoon, peeling off price tags after our retail therapy, it hit me. We were in a fortress of books, and I looked him.

C.S. have a thing between us we call, “The Golden Thread”. It’s a subatomic line, coiled around each of our hearts, that runs upward through our brains, and connects to the other. It is the line that allows the one to know, at least on a subconscious level, what is happening within the other. It’s not a perfect connection, just as any other. It is susceptible to interference, outages, etc. But, it is the one thing that has always bonded us.

The only thing The Golden Thread can’t provide me with is any intelligible positive emotions toward me.

He never said the words, but I heard them ringing out, clear as a bell, “I’m sorry. For everything. I want you to be okay. I love you.”

Today, a very dear friend and I had a conversation about the LEEP procedure. She’s was more affected by the precancer than I am. She had the procedure done many years ago, when it was new, without complications.

And on this date, she is healthy and cancer free. She helped ease my fears. I’m extraordinarily thankful for her and all of her support. Without her words, I don’t know what shape I’d be in.

Thank you all for your encouraging words and support. This is one of the hardest times I’ve ever faced in my life. I’m grateful for everyone – for Ruby, Monday, James, ManicMuses, Always (yes, I saw your post on Canvas), and anyone and everyone else I may have not named. You’ve all given me a special kind of support that no one else in my life could. Again, thank you.

Garnets and Rubies

Today could not have been a more perfect day to meet her.

It was one of those days when everything was just so seamless. I climbed into T.D.’s new, twin, big-boy-bed to wake him for his last OT appointment. He was curled up in the center of the bed with books encircling him. I smiled and thought it was so like both C.S. and me. He opened his eyes, and he was all smiles too.

T.D. met most of his goals in his ISFP, and exceeded expectation in some. I showered and mentally picked out an outfit. White slouchy tunic and black and white floral skirt – with wooden and bronze jewelry, of course, for a more bohemian look. Wavy or straight? Easy, wavy. I was showered, dressed and out the door in less than an hour.

Everything was so fluid.

I stepped onto the sidewalk to a gorgeous day. The air was warm without the sun being hot on my skin. I headed to the restaurant on foot, two bags on my shoulder, with a cigarette in one hand and a Blackberry in the other.

About halfway there, it struck me. I had to ask, “Wait. Why am I not nervous?” I’m famous for The Big Deal – where I am so excited before something and suddenly get stricken with anxiety when it’s about to happen. Even just thinking about the absence of anxiety didn’t trigger anything. It was as if this was business as usual.

I had a little bit of a description to go on. As I approached, I did get a little worried I would be mistaken. But, I spotted her in the distance against the brick wall and knew who she was. It was incredible. She looked exactly as I had pictured her.

She started toward me and I asked, “Is this it?”

“Lulu?!”

“Yeah, Ruby?!

Ruby Tuesday, was my first contact on WordPress. She has become a very dear friend and the mother of A Canvas of the Minds, although we are co-founders. Without her birthing it and nurturing it, Canvas would have never come to fruition.

We sat there in the little Italian restaurant, talking as if we had known each other since we were children. It was easy. We chatted about everything and anything. There was no strain or grasping for words. It was all there, as if it had been all along.

She did trip on her way out. I saw her on her ass on the sidewalk and all I wanted was for her not to be embarrassed. I thought that it was just so real. Everything about her is so real.

Maybe, it was because I was looking at her in the flesh. But, I suspect that it goes deeper than that. She’s absolutely gorgeous in the most natural way. Her words are meaningful, and her eyes are wide and interested, always looking at the world as if she is seeing it at the first time.

After we were finished eating, we sat on a bench in this little suburb of Pittsburgh and talked some more. The time flew by, and two hours just wasn’t enough. There so much to share in a bond like this. I really considered going in late just so we could have more time. But, I knew, even if I stalled, it still would not be enough.

The only thing I really wished we could have done was take a beautiful picture together with the gorgeous Pittsburgh foliage. Then, we could have both had a memento of what promises to be a lovely, close friendship.

To my radiant Ruby, thank you for the most perfect day.

Buried Treasure

Thank you, Tori. Thank you, Trent. It’s still a bit hazy. But it is all trickling back into my memory now.

I listened to a lot of Tori Amos and Nine Inch Nails in my teens. Really, I actually went out on a bus to the music store in the square or center and purchased the CDs. (That might put some of you with Mr. Peabody on the Wayback Machine). Since my bout with pneumonia that came fully equipped with laryngitis, I’ve had problems with my singing voice. I wondered how I trained my voice before I had a teacher. And it took me back to Tori and Trent.

Anima and Animus, feminine and masculine sides of my personality and thus, my art. They weren’t role models in the familiar sense that I looked up to them. Something inside me resonated with these two figures through their music.
I sang Caught a Lite Sneeze in the shower. I know, so cliche, right? I guess I hadn’t put any thought into what the song meant in many years. Seeing it now, through adult eyes, made it mean something different.

She’s describing the push and pull of a relationship and the particulars about the man. Why did it have to be so complicated? I wanted to hear it again, so I started to listen a “Sessions” version on Youtube. And then, I knew who it was about. In the end, it was about two people who were meant to be that never were.

The hazy memories of who I started my life as came into focus. Other than shedding some naïve notions and gaining some cynicism, I have finally come full circle. I am that girl in the woods. The only difference is those woods became my home.

I was a dark blonde, long haired, chubby, short girl with big, dark framed glasses. You could always find me with a pen or an instrument in my hand, a song in my heart, and an ache in my soul. Mostly, I looked brooding or electric. I was quite a character.

“At work, I really let my freak flag fly,” I said proudly to C.S.

Today, I am a bleach-blonde, moderately weighted, short woman with Buddy Holly glasses. You can always find me with a Blackberry or a Pilot G2 pen in hand. There is a strong voice with song that made a nest in my heart for loved ones. My soul sparks and stirs, with both warmth and burns from the fire within.

Why did I have to lose myself, to throw myself away entirely, in order to really find myself?

A Visit From a Fairy

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!

At first, it hardly woke me. It’s usually pretty difficult to rouse me from sleep, unless it’s an usual, or possibly threatening noise. It was both. Someone was banging on my door entirely too early for me to be up on a Sunday morning.

I have to preface this. I don’t live in a great neighborhood. It’s not too bad because it’s not very violent. We have a lot of drugs, delinquent teens, vandalism, homelessness, and petty theft. And crackheads.

When someone comes banging on my door without calling, I automatically assume I don’t want to answer it. Really, I was too tired to care.

BANG, BANG, BANG!

Ugh. It was enough to wake C.S., who was less pleased than I was. He went to investigate. I laid there awhile longer and heard a male talking. I huffed and got out of bed. Oh well, there went my hope of sleep.

I expected to find C.S. talking with the person he greeted at the door. Instead, I ran into him in the kitchen. I asked, “Who was it?” He rolled his eyes and said, “Some crazy looking blonde haired woman. Probably a crackhead. She’s outside talking to your dad in the back.” (Figures. My dad is the only person whose voice could carry through thick wooden, heavily insulated walls. Well, except mine.)

I looked out the window and knew the woman. I corrected C.S. and said, “That’s Nina!” Nina is our local animal rights activist. She’s infamous for taking in all manner of animals. She practically runs a foster home out of her house!

Chris said eagerly, “Poke your head down the window and yell out to them!”

“I’ll go down after I use the restroom and grab a smoke. You yell out.” (I’m not often pleasant in the morning.)

I was about to open the door to go down into the backyard when there was a knock at the side door. I opened the door and saw Nina’s face through the storm door. When I opened the storm door, I was shocked!

There Nina stood with a tiny calico – tabby mix kitten in her arms.

“C.S., come here!”

Nina had heard the news about Zen. In the same week, a cat had abandoned this kitten on Nina’s doorstep. Nina said, “I don’t have any more room. The winter’s coming and I’m afraid she’ll die.” We couldn’t refuse. She’s tiny, helpless, without her mother, and without a home.

I held her in my arms and she cried. But when C.S. held her and spoke, she went silent. She stared into his eyes like he was God. They were silent for a moment and he said, “Her name is Lexis. Wait, Alexis.” She chose her human.

We called it our visit from the Kitten Fairy.

The pain of losing Zen is still there. I was his human and he was my kitten. Alexis and I will probably not have the same kind of relationship.

But, I feel a little better. Out of that senseless tragedy, I was able to give this beautiful baby, who was sentenced to death, a loving home.

Zylexus – born 8/16/2011

All the Pretty Things

Pittsburgh is gearing up for a heat wave. It’s that special time of year again. The old wooden house feels as if it were a clay oven, and it makes any work inside of it impossible. That leaves me to sit in the crisp night air on the balcony, armed only with a journal, a pen, and just enough light being thrown by a robe light wrapped around a glass patio table.

I had a beautiful moment on Friday. I was on the way to have a biopsy done, but I was dreadfully early. I took advantage of my time and strolled through the city. I walked past Trinity Cathedral and recalled the beauty of the buildings and the majesty of it’s cemetery surrounding it.

That’s when I discovered one of Downtown Pittsburgh’s hidden gems. It was almost as if it were a secret garden, hidden from the boulevard surrounding it. I went up the path and discovered a circle surrounded by foliage. Stone benches surrounded an immense, gorgeous fountain in the direct center. I sat down and wrote.

It reminded me of times when I was in college in the summertime where I’d go to the large fountain in the Cultural District and sit on the stone benches there. I’d write and feed the pigeons. It reminded me of a brisk, grey day where I found a quiet hiding spot near 6th to write while I wrapped my scarf tighter to my face.

I thought of all the beauty in this world that I was missing out on. The same simple beauty that brought such joy into my life.

Long car rides with my husband into the country in the summertime, with the windows all the way down, the wind on my face, the smell of fresh air. We had nothing but good music and good company.

Sitting on warm sand and digging your toes and feet into it while you feel the ocean spray on your face. Taking walks in the moonlight on the boardwalk.

Watching the moon rise. It’s so big and bright on the horizon.

Staying up all night talking until you watch the sun rise.

A cool breeze in stagnant air.

The smell of a thunderstorm. Even better, the smell of autumn.

The serenity of a cemetery after hours.
A good romantic movie.

And just laying in bed with the one you love.

These are the beautiful things,” I wrote, “these are the only things I want to remember when I die.”

But I want to experience these pretty things all throughout my life. A surprise of flowers on my kitchen table. Sitting in a magnolia tree. Taking my time. Smelling the roses. Appreciating my landscape.

There is so much beauty and wonder all around me that I often fail to see. I want to remember these things moreso in my life than in my death.