It’s funny because it seems like the second you learn to balance life as it exists, it all changes. And suddenly, you’re reconfiguring it all again. I suppose the best (and worst) part is doing that causes constant self reflection for me. Sometimes that’s awesome, but sometimes it’s not that great. Past the demons that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago are just, well, what I would call flaws. Maybe weaknesses. And reconfiguring time again has helped those to show.

Often it seems that it all comes back to time, and I guess that makes sense. What you do with it, who you spend it with all tells about your interests and priorities.

I’ve been home from one training for about a week and a half–probably not even that long–and I’m off again today. I think I’d just like to sit in my home. Yet, the solution in my mind says otherwise. I just thought to myself, “as soon as I get home from this, I need to head out to the desert.” I suppose that would cure some ills, but not the ones that stem from lack of care and attention to my home.

The best part, though, is that I finally feel like I’ve reached a point where there is limitless time to do everything I want to do. I guess all that leaves for me to figure out is the discipline.


Yup, no “H.” And it’s in Kansas. Two and a half hours south of Kansas City. Why, you ask, would I go to Pittsburg?

I’d like to say purely for the experience of taking a city girl out of the beautiful city of Los Angeles and putting her into a small town just to see what would happen. But if you know me, you know there’s no way that’s true.

But I do like to make the best of every experience I have so I have compiled a (short) list of little-known facts about Pittsburg to save people the travel.

  • Pittsburg was featured on the Travel Channel’s food wars for fried chicken. As we drove down the road that is Pittsburg, I noticed the two conflicting signs for “Chicken Mary’s” and “Chicken Annie’s.” Little did I know that the feud between the two was featured on the Travel Channel.
  • Brian Williams of MSNBC fame started his career in Pittsburg.
  • Fireworks are legal. Firework Jack’s looks like a pretty promising establishment.
  • Pitsco is based here and appears to employ half of the people who live here.
  • There is a Pittsburg State University. So, technically it’s a college town.

I actually walked out onto the highway for this one.

Highway 69.

Chicken Mary's

Proof that I was there.

Touring the local Walmart

50 Things

I read in The First Draft a post about 50 things that bring happiness. The task was simple enough. To list 50 things that make you happy.  I didn’t read much into the process suggested by the blogger (courtneykane, who I love!), but I decided that I would do it as a stream of consciousness. So, I made the list of 50 in a rapid fire approach without thinking too hard or ranking them in any kind of order. Then, I went back to make a short comment about each.

Here goes….

  1. Laughing As in the soul-tickling, tear-evoking type of laughter. Laughing about things I shouldn’t be laughing about with really good friends. Silly fits of giggles that don’t stop for hours.
  2. Books Any and all. (Well, maybe not.) But books that touch somewhere deep inside and provide a little direction or insight. Books that touch a memory. Books that hit the core of the human spirit.
  3. Writing Just putting it out on paper. Writing creatively. Putting imagination into being. Sorting the deepest thoughts of my soul.
  4. Words Providing a visible manifestation of what exists in me. Finding representations of what exists in other people.
  5. Baseball The simplicity of the game. The complexity of the game. The metaphor it provides for life. The distraction it provides from life. Following players from the minor leagues to the major leagues.
  6. Meditation Finding the deep part inside me. And listening to it. Stilling myself to the point that nothing else exists but the soul.
  7. Running Finding a rhythm between body and soul. Shutting down the mind to stretch the capacity of the body.
  8. Music A universal language. As a collision of sound and silence. As a motivation, inspiration and comfort.
  9. little brothers As my three best friends. As absolute delights to my life and my being. As a responsibility and a privilege. Continue reading

thoughts on travel

Just a few quick thoughts because I don’t like to disclose on the internet where I am when I travel. I will say, though, that I have traveled for a job so it is somewhat different that my usual “alone” trips. It’s also to a place I wouldn’t necessarily choose, but because I take everything as a learning experience…

Things I have learned in one day of (strange) travel:

  • I love traveling alone. Even more than that I appreciate being able to control my own itinerary.
  • Years ago my father told me that he admired my ability to just try things without fear. I realized today that I admire that in myself as well.
  • Contrary to my complaints when I call back home, I realized that I am a very patient and open-minded person.
  • I appreciate my own flexibility.
  • Mostly, I appreciate how much I have learned to truly experience rather than look for something.

And P.S. I truly love Los Angeles. And one of the best things about traveling is learning to re-appreciate something I love so much.

currently reading: books for travel

Packing for trips is not my strong suit. I’m happy to just toss stuff in a bag and see what happens. But, I am very thoughtful about the books I choose. I figured that I was going to have a lot of travel time and down time on this short trip, so I spent quite a bit of time choosing the books I would read.

  1. The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho. I started this at home and had to bring it to finish it off (see my previous post for the significance). I loved it in that it really made me think kind of way.
  2. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. It’s been on my bookshelf for about a year, and a friend saw it a couple of weeks ago and made reference to something in it. So, I decided that I should read it. I’m loving it so far.
  3. The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho. I love Elijah. I really do. And I was so excited that this book arrived at home on Sunday so that I could bring it with me.
  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Recommended to me by a friend, but I haven’t really had time for “fun” reading.

a sign?

The first time I ever received a “sign”–so to speak–from a greater Power, I was on retreat in Northern California. I had, at that point, spent three days without speaking. And I heard the message so loudly that it terrified me, and I asked if I could go home.

Oddly enough, that’s exactly how I feel now except that I am sitting in my home. And, I have learned to learn instead of to fear.

So here goes….

When I read “The Valkyries,” I looked up Borrego Springs and on a website for one of the hotels out there, I saw an advertisement for a special package to watch meteor showers in August. I am still thinking about going, but I am also thinking about sending a friend as a gift. Either way, this evening I wanted to look it up again to see pricing and the exact date.

I have spent the afternoon reading “The Pilgrimage” also by Coelho. And in this book he makes his way across Spain following the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago). I am about half way through the book and only put it down so I could eat. It has reminded me of this friend in a very interesting way so I remembered that I wanted to look up this hotel again so I could give dates and offer the gift of the trip.

At any rate, I sat down at the computer and typed “Borrego Springs” into the Google search bar (you can see it in the top right of this picture). Oddly, I did not get a Google results page at all. I didn’t even get anything that had to do with Borrego Springs. What popped up was a Wikipedia page about “The Way of St. James.” And suddenly, that feeling I had on a mountainside on a retreat returned so quickly. There was no way.

Just no way.

No way that the computer could accidentally link the two. No way that I could have mis-typed. I have done a screen capture to show that it occurred exactly as I have said.

Suffice it to say, I have spent the past half hour researching the Way of St. James. And I am almost certain that at some point in my life, I will walk it.

A sign, indeed.

just when you think

That the decision has been made, the universe sends you a serious, serious reminder.


I’m kind of a little confused.

I believe in the cosmic intertwining of souls. So, when you have a network of souls that are attached and one is in pain, it creates a domino effect. That’s the best way I can describe why I feel “responsible” for other people. Not because I want to help them specifically, but also because I feel like I need to help me. And this is one of the first times in my life I’m actually able to explain that adequately.

a really good man.

Makes a really good teacher.

And I learned this morning that the man who taught me 11th and 12th grade English passed away. He was not too old, and no one is really saying what happened. It’s funny, though, because when I interviewed for the job I just took, someone brought him up when they noticed my high school on my resume. This man taught my teacher and went on and on about what a wonderful man he was and how he devoted he was to his students. As he left the panel room, he said, “anyone who was taught by Ron Dominguez is a winner in my book.”

And we all were. He made us feel that way. I can see it by the outpouring of grief on Facebook. And I knew it because he was the one that always came up in conversations when I ran into classmates.

It’s funny how many lessons I carry with me. I’ll never forget:

The day he decided–2 days before our graduation–that one thing we needed to know before entering the world was how hot dogs were really made. It’s valuable information, people.

When he whipped out the lyrics to The Eagles’ “Take it Easy” and went on for an entire class period about how brilliant it was. This is genius, people. You just don’t appreciate it.

How he decided that we should all read “Lonesome Dove.” Because if it’s not classic, it should be.

How on days, he didn’t want to teach, he’d ask us all to open our text books to the same page so that in case someone walked in, it looks like I’m teaching you something.

What he taught me about the integrity of journalism and how he stood by me when we both got in trouble for something I wrote in the school newspaper. I remember apologizing at least five times, but he didn’t care.

But mostly, I remember saying goodbye. He pointed his finger in my face, and he said, “You better do something great.”

After teaching for four years, I realize how extremely difficult it is to make a difference. How hard it is to truly be a good teacher. And what it means to act with integrity.

And I am deeply grateful for the example that I had.

Rest in peace, Mr. Dominguez.

july 13

And I made it.

I set a goal of finishing the first draft of this novel for three months after my 28th birthday. And I made it. I finished the core writing about three weeks ago and worked for the past week on editing for basic sense, comma issues (just because they drive me nuts!) and use of active verbs.

I handed over the first copy for someone to read this evening. My writing “friend” (I guess I should call him) received the copy at 8 p.m. this evening just as I promised three months ago.

It feels good. I’m tired. I can’t deny that. My brain is exhausted. And I’m a little physically worn out, but it feels good to be done. At the very least, it feels good to not be the one reading it anymore. So, I’m happy about that.

And what next?

Start again. No, really. I already have the basic plot structure written out for my next book. I think I’m going to give myself a couple of days to cleanse my brain from this one, and then really get to work on character sketches and a more detailed plot outline. I need to look at a calendar, but I think my goal for the completion of that is going to be right before I go back to teaching so I can write the draft once the school year starts.

And even writing that down gets me excited. So, I’m happy about that. I feared that finishing this one would satiate my desire to write, and then I’d be really bored for about a year, but I’m excited that I’m excited to start again.

Yes, it does it feel good. It feels very good, indeed.