Category Archives: Observations

The Heart of a Hurricane

It took many long hours for the hurricane to make its trek over us. I’m thankful to say that we made it out unscathed (though we were without power for a while). Things are finally starting to return to normal, though it will still be a while for some. As the hours dragged, I wondered how I would capture this experience. As a writer, all that came to mind are words. So here are some snippets of what it was like in the heart of a hurricane. 

Hysteria reverberates through the air.
Shelves and gas pumps empty, fueling fear.
People grow desperate as the eye draws near.
My gas tank and pantry are full.
Should I be more worried?

Covered in a mix of sawdust and mud,
we bolt plywood to the windows
and hope for the best. Tapcons screech,
forcing themselves deep into strong concrete.
Even the baby inside me is restless.
The cat cowers under the bed.
Cold rain pours as we work.
The storm isn’t even here yet.

Darkness.
I reach for the safety of the lantern.
The light brings some comfort as wind
rattles boards and rain pummels exposed windows.
We listen to each gust, breathless. I search
for the cat beneath the table. I want to know
where he is, just in case. I remind
all of us that it’s going to be okay.
Another gust. How fast was that one?
How  many more hours before it passes?

Light finally breaks through the speeding clouds
and we venture outside. The world is surreal.
Leaves blown from bent plants, branches everywhere,
dark spots where shingles should have been,
a lost piece of gutter laying on the sidewalk.
A mangled tree whispers destruction, others lay
where the wind left them. But we are all safe,
and that is what really matters.

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At the DMV (An Observation)

She glances up at the clock as she retrieves yet another driver’s license. It’s 4:38pm. Will this day ever end?

She returns to the window where the annoyed man snatches the license and marches off in a huff. Whatever. She doesn’t really care. Her job, her life — it’s all boring and dissatisfying.

Reluctantly, she pushes the button to finalize the transaction. In 45 seconds, the next person will be at her window. Maybe it’ll take longer, if she’s lucky.

She picks at her grown out French tips as she waits. 5 o’clock can’t come fast enough. Of course, that means she has to go home to her messy house and rambunctious chihuahua puppy that her husband insisted they needed. Then comes an evening of chores. Dinner, a load of laundry while her husband takes the puppy for a walk, ironing… Sometimes she wonders if it would be more relaxing to just stay at the DMV.

The next person comes. Some lady who is all business but at least smiles. There aren’t many of those in the long lines and the piles of paperwork. Before she even asks, an old license and pile of documentation are on the counter. Everything is in order. That’s a surprise. Most people are missing something and ready to argue about it.

Small talk ensues, and it’s hard for her to keep her frustrations hidden. She doesn’t even know what to make for dinner tonight. “Maybe leftovers,” she says.

The lady nods. “Always a good choice. It’s easy. Or if you like salmon, you can always cover it with some barbecue sauce and bake it.”

At first, she shrugs off the suggestion. Then she starts to nod as well. Maybe that would be good. She’s never been much of a cook, but she always wanted to be. Like her grandmother. It sounds easy enough.

She snaps the picture and sends the lady away with a new license.

4:55. Maybe this is a good day to try something new.


The Playhouse: An Update

One week later, the playhouse still sits on the side of the road, forlorn and forgotten.

Cars rush by, too busy to see its sorrow as it awaits its fate. Will it sit on the side of the road forever, until the plastic turns brittle and crumbles under the oppressive summer sun? Will someone eventually take it home, try to put the pieces back together, show it the love it hoped for in the first place? Will it find its way into the nearby woods, destined to become a home for raccoons?

Only time will tell.


The Playhouse

It seems that often people don’t notice the same things I do. Sometimes I think I’m a little too observant for my own good. But this week, I noticed something that I don’t think anyone could miss.

On the way into town one evening, we noticed a plastic playhouse. A molded plastic cube that seemed relatively new and in good shape. It sat in the weedy median, on its side and lonely. Its only companions were a red sedan and a puzzled blonde woman.

My husband and I immediately began speculating. How had the playhouse ended up in the median? Had it fallen off of a truck? Had someone left it behind? And, more curious, who was the woman and what did she intend to do with the playhouse? There was no way she could fit it into her tiny car or secure it onto the roof.

We went about our evening, not thinking much about the mystery. But when we returned, the story had taken a new turn.

Even in the darkness, it was easy to see that the red sedan and blonde woman were gone, but the playhouse was still on the side of the road. Now, though, it sat on the other side of the road in pieces. I don’t know what happened to it, but it met a tragic end.

Alas, the playhouse didn’t stand a chance, especially if the woman did indeed try to bring it home on her car.


A-Z Challenge: Joy

Joy comes in the most unexpected places. Vibrant double rainbows after a torrential downpour. A moment of levity in the midst of a hard situation. Death that brings life.

It isn’t just a feeling of happiness. That’s far too simplistic. It’s confidence that sunshine returns after thunderstorms and that harsh winters don’t last forever.

Emotions and circumstances don’t rule over it. Joy knows that even if the sun doesn’t shine, even if the bank account is empty, even if the worst happens, there is still so much to be grateful for.


A-Z Challenge: I Am Wrong

Ever have that moment when you’re planning something out and realize that you counted wrong? Well, that’s where I am right now with the A-Z Challenge. I just realized I miscounted, and now all I can do is laugh at myself.

As it turns out, the posts are supposed to be every day except Sundays, not only weekdays. The good news? I figured it out early enough to fix it. The bad news? “I” was leaving me feel stumped. The other good news? Talking about this gave me a topic for “i.”

And so that’s the state of things. Looks like I need to do some more brainstorming!


A-Z Challenge: Grande Latte (A Story)

Ana walked into the Starbucks alone with a pocket filled with scribbled drink orders. She didn’t understand what half of them meant, but it’s what the other girls at the make-up counter wanted.

She hadn’t intended on working there. Sure, she wore make-up, but not like these girls, with their penciled eyebrows and even cat eyes and vibrant lipstick. She felt out of place, but it was the only thing out there. For now.

When she reached the counter, she read off of her list, careful not to miss a single shot, non-fat whipped cream, or with almond milk. The words still felt foreign, even after a month. She wondered if she would ever understand the language. For herself, she just ordered a simple chai in the smallest size, whatever that was called.

“Tall,” the barista corrected.

She waited at the other end, wondering if the others would look at her funny today. They usually did. She figured she just wasn’t particularly pretty, but that was okay. Looks  wouldn’t matter that much when she finished her degree.

There was only one thing the other girls always seemed to obsess over: her eyebrows.

“You never have to fill them in?” they would ask her. “You don’t get them waxed? They just grow in like that?”

Ana always just shrugged. “Yeah.”

Then the others would chatter quietly to themselves, staring at her forehead. The only words she could ever make out were, “I can’t believe it.”

As she collected all of the drinks, she sighed. Two years of school left. Hopefully, that didn’t mean two more years at the make-up counter too.

Fact: This is inspired by a girl I saw while waiting in a Starbucks one day. She clearly worked at a make-up counter, but she looked very natural, even to her thick, perfectly shaped eyebrows. They had to be the envy of the store.