Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tilted... With SKemp

Yellow Tulips In A Red Thermos

Bunny Faces
This Girl and Carousels

This Cat

Also, blueberry tea.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time Out Tuesday

I played basket ball in high school. I also played ping pong, volley ball, and backgammon. Oh, yeah. Backgammon. I played backgammon in math class so that probably doesn't count as a sport. Ping Pong probably doesn't count either. I wasn't on a team. It was more of a "My school doesn't have established sports teams or P.E. classes, just yet, so let's ask this ping pong coach we know to teach P.E. class for a few weeks" thing. I still claim both. As far as sports go now... well, I'm more of a reader anyway.

Can you think of anything else more unflattering
on a high school S. Kemp? Four-eyes and pimples?
Not even close.
One thing about basket ball I remember, besides the unflattering, blue mesh, knee-length shorts we wore, was the coach calling a "time out". Time outs lasted roughly 60-20 seconds depending on something or another and were usually called strategically at the last minutes of a game. We were behind by two points and needed just three more to win, two more to tie the game. Or, we were ahead by three points and wanted to keep the other team from getting any more points. "Don't foul the other team!" translates roughly to "Don't slap the other girls". Time outs were called so the coach could quickly describe a strategy of getting the ball to one of the VIPs playing so they could get the last points. "Yeah, all right. Go get 'em Seahawks! Break!"

High school sports aside, calling a time out every now and then can be useful. In-office memos invading your Inbox giving you a headache? Call a time out, remember to breathe, take a walk, start over refreshed. Maybe burn some memos when you get home? Got some blue mesh shorts slinking up your legs while you walk? Time Out! Go change your pants. Got a case of the "It's Only Tuesday"? Take a "Time Out Tuesday" with the FS. Yeah, all right. Go get 'em Spatulans! Break!

& Coming Soon: "The Host". The newest movie based on "Twilight" series author Stephenie Meyer's other book. "OMG! I Can't Wait!" or "F*@% That Noise!" And... Discuss.

& Disapproval Glasses. When you're real eye brows just can't disapprove enough.

& This is a fun short video with Sam Daly and Nathan Fillion. Recovering super heros. Do you have a favorite comic book super hero?

Learn some new words with copywriter extraordinaire, Charlotte Moore, at The Irritable Vowel. 

& I love Science Fiction. Love. It. This is a really cool detailed graph called "The History of Science Fiction". Zoom in to find LOTR, Mr. Poe, Mr. Lovecraft, Mr. Gaiman, Harry Potter, and other recognizable and not-so-recognizable names.

& Ever dream of flying only to fall awake just before you really start soaring? Check out this video of Birdmen: The Original Dream of Flight.

Time Out Tuesday!

& My favorite comedian, Robin Williams, will be receiving the very well-earned "Stand-Up Icon" award at this year's Comedy Awards! 

& I plan to make a batch of this adult version of Butterbeer this weekend. Who wants a glass?

& Danielle Laporte hits the nail on the head in her article: In Praise of Women.

& Neil Gaiman has a tumblr, and dispenses sporatic bits of wisdom and insight into writing and publishing. Here is an example of how amazing writers know how to kindly kick the arses of their grasshoppers.

&  Digital camera that makes Polaroids? WIN.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whimsy Wednesday: We Could Be Gypsies

I don't know what made me think of it, but suddenly this afternoon I thought about the gypsy wagon my mother and I were going to make.

We had the wagon part, sort of. It was an old truck axle with a rickety wagon thrown on top, but to my mother and me, it was the promise of something beautiful. Oh, the plans we had for it. We had the colors picked out, all kinds of little trinkets and baubles to decorate it; we could see it so clearly when we closed our eyes. This is pretty close to what we had envisioned; simple, functional, perfect.

Photo found online, no source given. If it's yours, let me know.

Sadly, nothing ever came of it. There was always something more pressing to do. So our rinky little wagon sat at the edge of the broomstraw field and rotted away until only the rusted axle remained. But we never forgot about it. It still haunts our dreams, like some great romantic beast stalking the moors of our minds. If there is one thing I do before I die, it will be to make a gypsy wagon.

Although, I think I might go a bit bigger.

Found on tumblr
Yeah, that's more like it.

I suggest looking up some pictures on tumblr or other corners of the internet, gypsy wagons seem to be a cool thing right now and there are some gorgeous examples lurking out there.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time Out Tuesday: Just Like Childhood

I'm going to have to make this short; Blogger is sassing me and I think that by this point it is just doing this on purpose.

Anyway, I keep forgetting that the new Fantastic Spatula schedule allows me to post on days other than Tuesday, but old habits die hard. But that's ok, because I am actually taking some time off this Tuesday. That's right; I'm not going to worry about falling behind at work, or not having the time to write what I want anymore, or that I have allergies so bad that I'm actually contemplating cutting my nose off. (Ok, not really, but they are bad.)
You want to know why?

There's a storm coming. It's on the edge of town and closing in fast. And it looks like a proper storm, with thunder and lightning. I was saying to Miss Lucy the other day that I remember having a thunder storm every evening in the summer when I was little. It's been a long while since we've had a proper thunder storm and it sounds and smells like those childhood summer evening out there right now.

So, I'm going to be a bit nostaglic tonight and take some time out to relive some of my childhood; listening to storms and watching cartoons. "She-Ra" is on Netflix, and "Freakazoid" is on Youtube. I'm just going to sit back and watch these silly shows and listen to the rain and think of simpler times.

Time Out Tuesday with Lucy!

Meg Park knows how I feel in the mornings.

Good afternoon, Pineapples! :D

I've always wanted to say that. 

How's it going out there, on the internet? Y'all having a good Tuesday so far? How about a reward for making it past Monday? Here! Have some lovely, sweet links! And take a little Time Out. (Though not the kind SKemp was referring to! Yes, the fun kind of time outs!) 


& Kat, pink-haired genius of Rock-n-Roll Bride, writes brilliantly about The Art of Self Confidence.
& NYLON has a fantastic write-up about the smell of tobacco scented candles. (WANT.)
& Talk about leaving behind a legacy! This man rowed across oceans, lived in the Amazon, worked with a pirate, was a mink farmer, and oh, became a professional gambler in his later years.
& "To Kill a Mockingbird" turns 50 this year. Here are some of the lessons learned on and off the set.

[Fiction] is an exercise that hones our real-life social skills, another body of research suggests. Dr. Oatley and Dr. Mar, in collaboration with several other scientists, reported in two studies, published in 2006 and 2009, that individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective. This relationship persisted even after the researchers accounted for the possibility that more empathetic individuals might prefer reading novels.” --Your Brain on Fiction

& Speaking of turning fifty, "A Wrinkle in Time" also has the honor of being half a century young! Here is how comic book artist Faith Erin Hicks summarizes one of her favorite books.
& How to make a Rainbow cake. In a Mason jar. (SO PRETTY!)
& Amanda Wachob is the Inkist behind the most beautiful tattoos!

Time Out Tuesday with SKemp

I remember getting "time out" in the lunch line when I was in kindergarten for kissing my friend Marcus on the forehead. I had to put my nose in the corner and think about what I did. Today, I still don't know what I did to deserve the embarrassment of time out in the lunch line. Marcus was a great friend in Kindergarten. Why shouldn't I have kissed him on the forehead if only to say, "Hey! We both still suck our thumbs. Let's rejoice and get some Jungle Juice."
Time Out Tuesday is better than this.

Thank goodness "Time Out Tuesday" at the Fantastic Spatula offers a little more than just "think about what you did". Thank goodness "Time Out Tuesday" doesn't mean I have to stick my nose in the corner all day. 

Instead, "Time Out Tuesday" is where I can share some of the neat interwebby things I've found, links to stories that have made me ponder, and images that I just want to share. Thank Lucy for a day in which to do that.

& This is a well written article form Gala Darling about feminists and high heels. I've felt this way about wearing make up and fancy clothes for a long time. It's nice to know someone else feels like I do. 

Katharine Hepburn's Trousers. Scandals of the Silver Screen

On May 8, there will be a vote to amend the NC state constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman only. I'm glad that while I'm in Montana I have some friends marching against the amendment.

My friend Sarah Hamm introduced me to this artist: books and collages and lovely lady art. 

My dad always sends me interesting things to read and look at through e-mail. Girls that defy gravity and old books carved into awesomeness with medical tools are just a sampling.

Felicia Day (from The Guild and Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog) will host (host?) a series of awesome nerdy web blog videos. Board Games, Sci Fi Books, Music, Geek and Sundry. It will make nerds smile again

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meter Monday: Joanna Klink

It happens sometimes. Sometimes you walk into a book store and you can't find the book you're looking for. The store owner can order it for you, but it will get to you in a week. Or more. And you just can't wait that long. You want something right now. Sometimes, a book store will have "Staff Picks" set aside on a shelf. Staff Picks are books that the book store staff has read and think are amazing and want you to read. Sometimes, you pick up a book of poetry because it was picked by staff. This book of poetry is called Raptus. It is by Joanna Klink, a lady from Montana.

"Raptus (1) A state of rapture of furor. Also: an instance of this; a fit of intense emotion. (2) A seizure; a sudden or acute attack (as in a raptus of the blood, Impulsive Raptus, or Raptus Nervorum). (3) From rapio: A carrying-off by force. (4) A state of spiritual rapture marked by anesthesia. (5) A pathological paroxysm of activity giving vent to impulse or tension (as in an act of violence)."

Sometimes, you will open up the book of poetry to the first poem and have to buy the book and read it all the way through.


Some feel rain. Some feel the beetle startle
in its ghost-part when the bark
Joanna Klink "Raptus"
slips. Some feel musk. Asleep against
each other in the whiskey dark, scarcely there.
When it falls apart, some feel the moondark air
drop its motes to the patch-thick slopes of
snow. Tiny blinking of ice from the oak,
a boot-beet that comes and goes, the line of prayer
you can follow from the dusking wind to the snowy owl
it carries. Some feel sunlight
well up in blood-vessels below the skin
and wish there had been less to lose.
Knowing how it could have been, pale maples
drowsing like a second sleep above our temperaments.
Do I imagine there is any place so safe it can't be
snapped? Some feel the rivers shift,
blue veins through soil, as if the smokestacks were a long
dream of exhalation. The lynx lets its paws
skim the ground in snow showers.
The wildflowers scatter in warm tints until
the second they are plucked. You can wait
to scrape the ankle-burrs, you can wait until Mercury
the early star underdraws the night and its blackest
districts. And wonder. Why others feel
through coal-thick night that deeply colored garnet
star. Why sparring and pins are all you have.
Why the earth cannot make its way towards you.

Meter Monday: Mary Oliver

When I was in college there were many times that I needed something to lift my up by my bootstraps and keep me going. As I worked the reference desk in the library, I kept finding hints to read the work of Mary Oliver. I followed the breadcrumbs left by trusted travelers that went before me. And I found the pieces of nourishment I needed in several of her poems. One of them being:

The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Soundtrack Sunday: Electric Violins

Greetings all!

I hope your evening is treating you well. I thought I'd share some fun music I discovered this weekend. A hip hop/ballet/moon walking pixie violinist! What's not to love? Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Whimsy Wednesday

Here's wishing a very Happy Birthday to a very special Lady!
The One and Only
Mama Wiggins!

Not many people are lucky enough to have someone they can count on, 
who will come running come hell or high water, 
who will make you soup when you have a fever, 
and make you laugh and snort coffee through your nose
by doing an impression of a coughing goat. 

I'm proud to say I have such a person in my life, 
and that I call her "Mom".

Love you!

Things SKemp Loves Thursday

Hey, Spatulans. It's that day of the week again. Thursday (read: one day after Wednesday). Which means it's time for the Spatula Writers to make their lists of gratitude... even if it's grudgingly. Thursday from now on is going to be dedicated to TiLT (read: Things I Love Thursday) lists. Share some of the things you've been grateful to have happen. We'd love to know. & now...

I Googled "Sugar Baby" and this pic
of baby sugar gliders appeared.They
are almost as cute as baby hedgehogs.
Crazy Scully cat chasing his food like it's alive & dinner cooked for me by my someone special just because they could & dressing up the mannequins in the shop so they are all wearing green & making photo booth style photos & Samuel R. Delany's About Writing: seven essays, four letters, and five interviews all About Writing & the bookstore owner next door, Garth, finding me The Art of Writing Advertising & blasting U2 and Bruce Springsteen over the speakers & making play lists & writing about ravens and meeting someone who actually studies ravens and has studied birds for 30 years (he gave me is email in order to answer any questions I had!) & breakfast-for-dinner parties

Sugar Baby cookbook.
I'm making these next. Om Nom.
& green lanterns... not the comic book super hero (although the green lanterns are pretty rock awesome) paper lanterns that are green in honor of St. Patrick & green peeps... dipped in chocolate... and potato chips dipped in chocolate & weather that doesn't require at least five layers of clothing to be worn in order to go outside & making sugar baby caramel hard candy & new pots for cooking popcorn ... and then making homemade kettle corn style popcorn & the episode of Dr. Who written by Neil Gaiman & Shamrock shaped cookies with green sprinkles made at the bakery across the street &

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Whimsy Wednesday: Carlo's One Night Stand

I work at a very whimsical shop: a vintage clothing and costume rental. I've been testing out a few photographs
for the store. I'm trying to make them whimsical and
dreamlike. Sort of a strange fairy tale for Carlo's the
Costume store. Here is the first of such photos. 
I know where to get my costumes. Do you?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time Out Tuesday: Be A Man

Well now. Miss Lucy's revamp of the Fantastic Spatula format couldn't have come at a better time. At last, I have my Tuesdays back. That means a marathon of "Criminal Minds" that I have heretofore missed because I was busy writing my posts. And let me tell you, I have really missed Hotch's eyebrows. (what?)

But actually my Time Out this week has actually come from across the Pond. Yes, thanks to the miracle of Youtube I can watch shows from my most favorite of nations, Ye Olde England. More specifically, I get to watch my favorite men, or man, rather. Yes, my friends it is true. I have fallen in love again with TV's James May. (What?)

I knew this particular show existed, but had only been able to watch bits and pieces until now. Please, allow me to introduce you.

Ladies, are you tired of having a useless man lying around unable to perform the simplest of tasks? Say, build you your own foundry or defend your honor in a duel? Gents, is mowing the lawn too tiresome or remembering to restock the toilet paper too tedious? Fret no more good people, for James May has come to save you. Welcome, to Man Lab.

This show is definitely worth a look. James May is a master at being a proper bloke. He can even wire plugs, a skill that most modern (English) men can't perform. It is his mission to get men off the couches and back into the shed to reclaim the lost art of being a Man.

I've already wasted countless hours this week watching the man of my dreams, but it has been a happy time. I hope one day to meet a proper chap who can not only wire a plug, but also escape from a maximum security prison and make his ways across the moors and back to my side using only an ordinance map. (What?!)

Time Out Tuesday with S.Kemp

What is up, Spatulans? So, I've started this word file of links and interesting interweb things I've come across and would like to share with you. So, take some Time Out this Tuesday to peruse these links if you so choose.

& I just can't get enough of food that's good for me and delicious at the same time and new recipes. Here are some food blogs that I've come across. My New Roots (try the Tower of Power and the Banana Bread Pancakes), anything with Nutella gets my attention (also this is a good place to find other food blogs), Brown Eyed Baker has a list of St. Patrick's day things to eat and she also helped create the 30 ways to make mac and cheese. Yes, Please. And Joy the Baker is just a joy! (I'm sure she's heard that before.)
Boom! The Next Gen! Photo Credit.

& I really enjoy photographs that are a tad bit creepy, or tilted, or skewed from the way we may be told to look at the world, or just down right pretty in its saturated-ness or fuzzy-ness. So, I've really enjoyed looking at Alison Scarpulla's Flickr photo stream.

& Also, I am a Sci-Fi fan. I don't know why I've only now begun to read Wil Wheaton's blog/twitter/stuff. But here is a pod cast of his.

& My friend Charlotte Moore has a new blog about copywriting called "The Irritable Vowel". She is crass and wonderful and I love that she has the balls to say the things us writerly types are sometimes too scared to say:

“'The Irritable Vowel' is not just a blog about writing. It’s about having the balls to write. It’s about the love of a craft that is too often abused by the likes of the careless and lazy. It’s about style, technique, and damn it, accountability." - Charlotte Moore

& And while we're on the topic of down-right coolness, here's how to grow some Moss Graffiti.That's right.

Photo Cred of Lepine Classic. Om Nom.
& Writing Utensil Porn. Don't open at work. Especially if your work doesn't pay you enough to afford one of these.

& While working at a unique vintage clothing store and costume rental I've been able to use my creative powers for good: window displays and photoshoots. I love looking through clothing blogs for inspiration.

& I also love fables, folk tales, and fairy tales and have recently been searching out new tales to inspire photoshoots and window displays.

& My friend sent me this web site link about design and places to live. Design sponge. But I'm sure you all have seen this web site.

& And we're going to end it with a six-legged giant walking-stick bug. Oh yeah, science and shit.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meter Monday: William Carlos Williams

Twice this week I've run across poems by William Carlos Williams. The first was "The Red Wheelbarrow" and the second (I still can't find the title) was a small poem about a patient still owing Doctor Williams $2. This is not coincidence. Two poems by the same author in the same week means I need to share one with the Spatulans.

Photo Credit: kele michele
I remember first reading "The Red Wheelbarrow" in high school. OK, I don't actually remember reading it in high school. I know I did read it in high school during an English class with my teacher Mrs. Bishop. I know I discussed the poem's meaning with my class, but I don't really remember any of it. My first memory of the poem that actually stuck is from college. It was during my Southern Writers Seminar with Dr. Susan Gilbert who has since retired from teaching that class.

What struck me about the poem first was not the poem itself but my teacher's reaction. I remember* Dr. Gilbert's face seeming to light up. I remember her saying the poem was lovely and then saying that yes so much does depend on a red wheelbarrow, rain, and a white chicken. It was Dr. Gilbert's reaction that made me pay attention to the poem. I like reading poetry. I like it when poems are short and sweet and sort of child like imaginative. But I know** I wasn't paying attention to the poem until I noticed my professor.

And then, when I gave attention to the poem, I noticed Dr. Gilbert was right. It is such a lovely poem. It's sweet and simple. It's the little girl inside me saying, "Hey! You have to notice the rain on this thing. It means everything." It's the magic in an every day, often overlooked thing speaking up for itself. It's my reminder that even I matter, and so much of who I am and my ideas and stories depend on giving credit to even the little things.

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

*Memory is a funny thing. This is how I remember it now. Ask someone else who took the class when I did and they may remember something completely different. Ask me about this 20 years from now and I may remember it differently.
** I actually don't remember not paying attention. But I feel like maybe I wasn't paying attention. I remember I had this class around 2:30 or 3 p.m. after lunch and around that golden nap hour. That is why I know I wasn't paying attention. Instead I was probably fighting off, in my own way, that creeping nap feeling.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sic Semper Tyrannis

To follow up with yesterday's post/rant I thought I'd provide some interesting facts about the Virginia state flag. 

File:Flag of Virginia.svg

For starters, you might notice the latin phrase at the bottom of the seal which reads, "Sic Semper Tyrannis". For those of you who never took Latin with Ms. Owen at HCHS/ Never took Latin at all/ Have no idea what that phrase even means- the words translate to: 

"Thus Always to Tyrants" 

Ah, now that's an interesting wording to have on a flag of a state that decided to lead the campaign against women. Hmm... 

The next tidbit I would like to point out is that the person standing victorious is the Goddess Virtus, (Yes, a woman!), dressed in Amazonian attire. She's defeated the tyrant, represented as a male, who is holding a scourge and chain. 

Again, how fitting is this? 

I've always loved this flag and its meaning. And I don't believe it's far fetched to think that there is more than one lesson to be learned here. Sic Semper Tyrannis, indeed. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day

Today was celebrated as International Women's Day.


Don't people know every day is International Women's Day?

And International Men's Day.

And International Kid's Day.

Heck, if I had it my way, every day would be International Cadbury Easter Egg Appreciation Day.
Just to prove a point. (Chocolate likes to be appreciated too.)

It's interesting, isn't it? That we have to set aside days, even months, to acknowledge our appreciation for one group of people or another.

I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Not really. I have too much joy, compassion, empathy, and yeah, love- to bank it all on one measly day. There are too many people in my life that I love too deeply and sincerely to ilk out my meaning for them in flowers, cards, and candy before the sun goes down on February 14th.

I don't celebrate Black History Month. I don't see the need to- not because I'm racist, because I'm not. If I were racist it would be easy to sequester my knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement into just twenty-eight days. But I can't. There are too many people in my life, who just so happen to be black, that I love too intensely to limit celebrating them when the government officially sanctions me to do so.

If I thought I could get away with it, I would give people gifts everyday except for Christmas Day. If I thought I could get away with it, I would hide easter eggs on Halloween, and go Trick-or-Treating during Mardi Gras.

I will, however, always enjoy a good pint of Guinness on St. Patrick's Day. (I can't help it. But in my defense I'm Irish the rest of the year, too. ;) )

But. BUT.

I can't think of anything more important going on in the world right now, than how women aren't being treated like the celebration we are. Right here in my home state of Virginia, a place that I love so much, there has been nothing but controversy. This state, which was named after a woman I'll add, now puts a bad taste in people's mouths.

I have never been so disappointed.

I've also never been more pleased. In the men and women who are standing up and saying, "What the HELL?" In the people who aren't taking shit off of anyone. But doing so without violence. I'm glad to see women realizing that yes, flowers and candle light and romantic gestures are wonderful- but I'd rather have proper contraception and healthcare.

There's a lot more I could say, and I know I am not one to normally give into political ranting, especially on this blog. But some things can't go unsaid.

I'll leave the rest of it up to Eve Ensler, who has done amazing work in ending violence toward women, and leave it at that. :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In Which I Ponder

Well, once again I've fallen into the trap of research that I've been trying so hard to avoid. But you know how it is; once an idea seizes you, you sometimes can't help but run with it and see where it leads you.

This is merely an explanation by way of excuse; my fervor for obscure research combined with the utter lack of enthusiasm I have for my job at the moment has kind of burnt out my writing spirit tonight. So, to take a break, I watched M*A*S*H.

Those of you who know me well know how much I love this show and everything about it. The stories it told, the character it created, everything about it, to me, is just the pinnacle of excellent writing. And it is all down to the writing. How else could a character like Col. Flagg, a "gung-holier-than-thou" (as Hawkeye put it) CIA man be so likeable despite his rotten attitude? Or, for that matter, poor old Frank Burns? And how else do you explain that I had and have a crush, not on Hawkeye, but pompous Major Winchester? (Don't answer that, Miss Lucy.)

Watching M*A*S*H makes me remember why I write. I want, some years from now, for people to pick up something I wrote and to read it over and over and never get tired of the characters or the stories. I want to create something enduring and memorable for the right reasons. (And to illustrate the right reasons, I would like to give "Twilight" as an example of the wrong reasons.)

I'll leave you with a clip from the episode I watched tonight, about a pilot who said he was Christ, not to try and get out of the army, but to cope with all the killing he had done in the name of someone else's agenda. This one is one of the funniest episodes, thanks to Col. Flagg, but also one of the most poignant and sweetest.

I'd also like to ask, what do you think makes a written character good? What makes him or her, or it, work? Or not work? What makes a character bad, in terms of writing? I'd really like to know what other people think.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lent and the art of inspection and introspection

Greetings, Spatulans, I have returned! I have of late been dealing with personal illness and illness within my own family, as well as issues with finding a job. Most of that is resolved now and I'm back to being your Monday poster.

For today I'd like to share something I have been thinking about. It's basically an edited journal entry actually.  Most of you know what Lent is, and for those of you who don't, it's a season between Ash Wednesday and Easter that you are to forego something in a kind of "fast". Whether or not you are Christian, though, I think it is a wonderful practice in general.

For Lent this year, I decided to become a pescatarian. No, that has nothing to do with John Calvin or predestination. It means I won't eat any m eat except fish. That's the ONLY meat I will consume. One big plus is I feel a lot better eating only lean meat and veggies and this mindset has bled over into other areas of my life, influencing me to engage in healthier activities. Also, I am forced to stop and think about what I'm eating and buying and why. Does this have meat in it? Do I really want to eat this? Am I really hungry if I'm willing to put this down because it's not a sweet? If I'm not hungry, why then? Am I thirsty? Bored? Why? Depressed? Why? Suddenly an entire cascade of introspection begins causing me to analyze myself and my behaviors that bleeds into more aspects than just what I eat.

That's how our lives should be in general. All too frequently we run on autopilot. We do the same things, the same few activities, over and over and over again, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. We never stop to think "Why am I doing this?" "Is this activity good for me?" "Do I really even want to do this or am I just doing it because I always have?" "What are the alternatives?". Lent, despite popular belief, isn't about self denial; it is about self enrichment. It is about foregoing those things that are fluff and that distract us from our purpose and finding the magic within us, our purpose and meaning in life. Get out there and make some magic!