Thursday, October 11, 2012


I keep thinking about circles.

Circles of time;
Circle of life;
Traffic circles.

And, given the time of year, as I look around my festive house, I realize I have a thing for witches.

I don’t know if the two are related, or not — circles and witches — but it seems like maybe they should be, at least in my life, especially this time of year.

I never thought of myself as a collector. But I must be. I have a myriad of witch hats; witch art, witches that fly; witches that sit. Witches that light up. Some that don’t. I find them to be a delightful combination of mystery and edginess. 

They’re all out right now keeping me company in a very inanimate way. (One of them though, looks so life-like, she might take off in flight at any moment. SPOOKY.) Every time the calendar circles to October, we dig into our Halloween fare with verve. I love this time of year.

Apples and pumpkins are circle-like. I love apples and pumpkins; and the beauty of a harvest moon.

Holidays are the time when I think about my Grandma Rose the most. She was a collector. And my memories of her house always include decorative nods to the time of year. I do that now — passing the tradition on in the circle of life. I hope I carry forward the same warm joy that apparently I picked up from my early days at Grandma’s house.

And that brings me to traffic circles. In England and Europe, they are everywhere (it isn’t just Boston). Traffic circles of various proportions engineer traffic flow in a nice way without using stop signs. Sometimes you trigger your indicator, sometimes you don’t. This depends on where you are and in which direction you travel. I prefer them to stop signs.

I have a history with stop signs. When I was 16, I managed to obtain three traffic tickets in a row at the very same stop sign located on Evening St, (I think, it’s called) just East of Worthington High School. (Do you remember the one?)

My license was revoked, and I had to ride the bus downtown and attend traffic school, along with a motley crew of teenagers who casually threw around phrases like “hit and run,” and “driving while intoxicated.” I sort of relished what I viewed at the time as a gritty city feel I got from riding the bus to and fro, and the rule breaker teenagers with whom I kept company for a spell. I also had to do 60 hours of community service. (The circle of those hours ticked by slowly.)

It was fall then, too. I remember having trouble getting to my service hours on time from x-country practice. I love running in the fall to this day. This is why I cannot commit to living in a warm climate. I am strung with strings, tuned to the change of seasons. I like to run through them, like imaginary banners; one to the next.

And as it goes, things come around again — now, and in this time of year. I still absolutely love running in autumn. And it seems I still have issues with police and stop signs to this day. The "American-ized" base has them, along with traffic circles. (I never get into trouble with traffic circles.)

Once again, a stop sign violation has landed me in remedial traffic school with the threat of my license being revoked, due to two incidents within a year. This doesn't bode well, as I live in a foreign country at the mercy of the government, and my partner often is away. This time the only edginess I feel rests along the line of over the edge

If only I had a broom.

The military loves acronyms. I got a kick out of this one — Driver’s Improvement Program (DIP). I called and said, “I’m calling to follow up on a notification I received yesterday requiring me to attend the DIP course.” The staff sergeant on the other end of the line replied, “Ma'am?!”

So I went in for my briefing today. I had a private class this time. "No other underbelly rule-breakers to accompany me on this occasion," I thought to myself as I entered. I sat down and waited. The nice sergeant explained he had no protocol for my kind of violation history. His course was intended for those who’ve obtained DUIs, or Hit and runs, for example.

I nodded my head and said with ernest, "I understand."

"A circle is the reflection of eternity. It has no beginning and it has no end —and if you put several circles over each other, then you get a spiral." — Maynard James Keenan.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


There are times when motivation just isn’t there anymore.

It picked up its coat and simply left the building without saying goodbye. In fact, it slipped away so quietly and without notice, it takes time to recognize its absence.

In athletics, this leads to lackluster practices or workouts, and ultimately to one of those slumps, out of which it is difficult to climb. Sometimes, it is an instance, event, or a person, who catapults the divide and brings motivation back; sometimes dragging behind on a leash; sometimes jumping into the circle, dead center with flourish.

When life’s ambitions grind to a halt, it can get tricky. Not only did motivation leave without saying goodbye, but it left for parts unknown; difficult to traverse.

There are days, when all it takes is a bit of make-up and maybe a pedicure to jumpstart a fire.

When days turn into weeks, then, it takes a bit more encouragement.

When weeks begin to add up, only then I begin to actively wonder, “What the hell?”

Ingredients in such a recipe are so unmeasured and unmatched, it’s difficult to pinpoint which one caused the soup to sour.

I tend to retreat and to begin mentally editing out all the things that bring me down —whether, it is people, places or events. As I go along, I look for clarity in the white space that results on the page when unnecessary thoughts and images are removed, enabling me to see things more clearly.

Seeing clearly doesn’t necessarily lead to action, though. This takes some doing. This takes motivation — and I’m still waiting for that SOB to return.