Two minutes alone

Two minutes alone
to make masterpieces on our phones.


One day the four of us were having lunch with our friend Denise. She and Layla got up to go order some ice cream. Sajan and I could have looked at each other and started talking to each other.

But we both turned to our phones to frame and capture photos of the things around us.

This is something we love doing. Making art of our moments.

Yes, we could put the cameras down and be there. But there’s something that draws us to immortalize the moment and its beauty.

We talked about this as we were doing it.

And then I wrote:

Two minutes alone
to make masterpieces on our phones.

to sprout wings and catch bubbles

One day, a few months ago, I was blowing bubbles for my little boy in the kitchen.

He sat on the counter next to the sink, catching and popping bubbles. Runaway bubbles gently soared above his head toward the ceiling.

He looked thoughtfully at them, unable to reach that high.

Then he said, “Mommy, can I fly?”


Nothing makes me stronger than

I’m having an argument with myself. 

One day I was driving back home from a volunteer event at Boys & Girls Harbor in La Porte. And on the feeder overpass of Beltway 8 near Mykawa I was listening to a band called Sleeping at Last, and I fell asleep. (So weird because I wasn’t sleepy, but maybe it was the hot chocolate I’d had at Starbucks that morning.) 

My tire hit the side of the feeder overpass, I woke up within a second of falling asleep, there were cars in front of and behind me, and somehow I made my way down to the flat part of the feeder road and pulled over with nothing more than a flat tire.* And my brother and friend Stayson were just minutes behind me and could help because they had been leaving the same event. 

But that’s not what this story is about. It’s about the band, Sleeping at Last, whose music to which I happened to fall asleep. I’ve enjoyed their music for years. 

The other day on Amazon Prime I gave them a listen and heard this song called Turning Page.  I’m not into love ballads, but I am when these guys do one. I liked this song so much, I started to practice it on our 1986 Yamaha keyboard, whose piano setting for some reason sounds like an out-of-tune harmonica. 

I soon realized from a YouTube tutorial where the guy’s keyboard keys light up when he plays them that the song is the track to the wedding on the movie Twilight. 

Bleh. I thought it was going to be my secret little song by a little band that wasn’t well known. Not a popular movie soundtrack that teens and tweens swoon over. 

Oh well. 

But about that argument with myself.  
One of the lines is:

“Nothing makes me stronger than your fragile heart.”

I thought, oh, that’s interesting.  He finds a deeper, previously unknown strength that arises when his boo is sad or feeling worn down. That’s a great tenet of a strong relationship, whether felt in a male or female. 

Then I thought <play record-stopping sound effect here>, oh hold on, should I think he’s referring to the historically accepted but now ridiculed and offensive notion that women are fragile and that he thrives off of that fragility so he can be a hero? As in, “It would be my privilege to to be the knight in shining armor your fragile countenance so desperately requires.”

After arguing with myself I decided I don’t think that’s what the song means. I receive the line as a display of being ready to care for someone when they need it. 

But I was thinking about how when we say just about anything, there is a context to it that we have in our minds that is not fully known to the person hearing it. 

We often rely on that person to assume a similar context.  Otherwise we change what we are saying to make it clearer to that person based on their own context. Same message, different presentation of the message. 

This can be frustrating and draining if you live in a world where most people don’t have the same assumptions or context as you. 

This can be taken for granted when people around you usually do have the same assumptions or context as you. 

I once had a grad school professor who discussed this idea through the lens of phenomenology and taken-for-granted assumptions.  

But that’s a post for another day. 

*By the way, I don’t like Oxford commas, but I’ve decided to use them in life for the sake of consistency and clarity. (But sometimes I don’t, just for fun.)


There’s something I need to tell you. I went to this event.

It’s no secret I love dogs. And it’s also no secret I love other people’s dogs because I can enjoy the benefits of playing with them without any of the responsibilities of caring for them.

But then something happened.

We went to Oklahoma to visit cousins. And I found my son like this.


This is him with his friend Bones. I melted upon seeing the joy on my boy’s face with this puppy, Bones.

“Bones-ee, oh Bones-ee!” he would call.

And then one day we hung out with this dog Riley, who is so big he might as well be a horse. The boy was chasing and calling out for Riley the whole time.

This is a boy who needs a dog.

I’m not ready to get a dog. I can barely take care of the people already in my house.

But. I’m almost there.

So we visited the animal shelter. This was a little research event for us. To get familiar with the process, should the time come for a little canine companion.

the bench player

I had a book on my lap.

Now this was the worst place to bring book. You could get booed for bringing a book here. But it was a security blanket for me. I clutched it tightly, as we wormed our way through the crowd.

We had seats with a good view of the field.

The energy was like a building under construction, growing brick by brick.

It was UH vs. Memphis college football.

I felt like I was in the Coliseum. The crowds were gnashing their teeth and drooling for their team’s victory. But not in an inhumane nasty way like a gladiator fight.

The teams were neck and neck. No one was sitting. UH was about to win.

Across the field, I saw one of the bench players get on a top of a platform and turn toward the crowd behind him. He ripped off his shirt, wrapped it around his fist, and pumped it high in the air in circles, channeling and egging on the momentous, earth-shattering cries of the fans.

That was it.

I zeroed in on that moment, folded it like a piece of paper, and put it in my pocket.

That’s what I crave daily.

His energy. The attention.

I like to channel energy, be the center of attention, and inspire energy into and out of other people.

I am a high energy person stuck in a moderating person’s body.

And that sucks.


Or not…

Nature vs. Nurture

As a child, I loved to study math and science through story. They were never esoteric subjects for eggheads. They were exciting realities all around me. Math, science, language and art were one, in my eyes. It was always odd to me when people embraced one of these subjects as if the others didn’t exist in it, as if they could block the other subjects off as separate terrain.

Lately, I’ve been reading books by behavioral science writers Dan Pink and Dan Ariely. They and other authors reference Daniel Goleman and his book Social Intelligence quite a bit. Social Intelligence is one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. To me, it brings everything in life together. Systemic thinking and relational thinking. Genetics and environment. Everything in life is about this big thermostat and a seed. The seed (our nature) has its own wirings and tendencies, but the thermostat (our nurture) heightens or represses certain tendencies based on cues from the environment.

I can see this in my own children through the opportunities they have. My oldest fits the older sibling profile – she nurtures and leads – but I’ve seen how she has been conditioned to be that way through the opportunity to be that way with her little brother.