Earth’s Red Carpet

After stormy weather in Miami, the petals of its flowers for us to walk through.

See the textures.

 

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The Summer Blues

Tossing the clothes in the dryer after an extremely long day at the beach, an excursion meant to make our summer feel like summer vacation. It felt more like hell.

It was burning hot, crowded, and smelly. So, when my beautiful Ray-Bans emerged in a twisted mess, the screams of terror and the ensuing tears amplified my established upset.

Those shiny, metallic-blue Ray-Bans landed in my hands when we visited Catalina Island off the coast of California last summer. My mother insisted on buying them for me even though I told her they were too expensive and I didn’t need them. I don’t wear them often because I don’t want to break them or scratch them, but this summer, they’ve been keeping me together and there they were.

Destroyed.

Everything broke out of me, not just tears and mucus, a wild river of what had been left behind, nearly forgotten.

Ray-bans

I missed JetBlue. I really missed LA. I fully missed my sister. I missed the other side of the country where mountains sprout from the ground and majestically watch over everyone. I missed the cool air at night, so cool you need a jacket.

I missed Elvis walking down the street to go to work. I missed the Pier. I missed the $30 Asian massages. I even missed the nausea of twirling up and down a mountain in my sister’s car. I especially missed the excitement of preparing and going there.

I usually take off to Los Angeles to visit my sister every summer. This summer it didn’t happen mainly because money became an issue.

Money, where are you?

So I’ve made the best of a disappointing situation and pretended I’ve been traveling. I put on these Ray-Bans and think of the fresh air on Catalina Island.img_6334.jpg 

The minute I walk outside I’m reminded with a heavy hit of humid heat that “No, Lisa, you are still in Miami.”

No matter.

I drive to Starbucks and pretend I have to have a cappuccino there because my sister doesn’t have an espresso machine like I do at my house. When I walk back outside, my skin sizzles worse than ever now that my body is warmed from the inside as well.

“Still here,” the Miami heat proclaims.

I swerve on over to Nordstrom Rack and think I’m in LA across from the Beverly Center. It works out pretty well until a pinch on my arm turns to an itch and I realize I’ve just been bit by a mosquito.

I stand at the door watching the sudden burst of rain pour buckets. Thunder trembling against the glass and lightning cracking its whip. I can’t wait any longer so I rush to my car, only about 10 feet away but I’m completely soaked when I get in the car.

A mosquito zips around my head.

Pinched again, I drive home.

I open my computer to find that instead of writing or working, I’m looking for flights on JetBlue:  Too expensive, Too many stops. Bad timing. No one to take us. Need to save money.

I call JetBlue to ask about points and I’m met with the nicest voice. She’ll help with whatever she can. She has a fifteen-year-old daughter too. She knows what it’s like to stay when you want to leave.

Then I really miss LA, more than ever.

The Joy of JetBlue

You see, I’ve flown on JetBlue ever since my daughter turned two and a half and I have only flown on one other airline, Virgin America, but it didn’t even come close to my experience on JetBlue so I never went back.

I knew when they helped me take her out of the stroller and folded it for me, smiled patiently, not the snarky kind, and waited for us to gather everything up that I was in love.

They forgave us when she screamed for a half hour during a landing. They cleaned up our vomit when both kids puked during a red-eye flight.

And, to top it off, they gave me brand-new beautiful suitcases on the spot when mine were damaged after the flight.

img_6321.jpg

If there was a delay even for five minutes, JetBlue gave us free movies.

I miss watching movies, asking for too many popcorn chips, and even drinking the bitter coffee when we take the red-eye flights.

I miss that so much more than my Ray-Bans.

I miss where JetBlue can take us.

It took us to San Francisco also. The magic of wearing a coat in summertime. The bread bowls. The tea bars. The crazy hills and crazier trollies.

And I’m here. And I know.

I really do know.

…that, really, when I look around me as I type on an Apple laptop and am feeling sorry for myself, I can’t really feel sorry at all.  I watch my son falling asleep on the couch as we watch E.T. because he said that I should choose a movie.

I think of my daughter already asleep growing into a young woman who can be fierce and challenging but still she rests her head on my shoulder and often holds my hand.

How can I feel bad in my air-conditioned house full of comforts I couldn’t have dreamed up when I was little and lived in a tiny house with one bathroom.

I feel the deep appreciation for everything I have and have had and even what I will have.

That kind of pleasure sends surges of joy traveling through me so much so that I know JetBlue will be there for us on another vacation and sunglasses can be replaced.

Written By Lisa Chesser

Mija’s Moxie Makes Okja Magic

Her eyes bit the screen as the camera zeroed in on her face. Her grandfather’s love split from her own when she realized she’d found herself slapped in the face with betrayal. It wasn’t the reaction of a spoiled child having a toy taken away. It was the reaction of pure love being ripped from your heart.

If we were unsure whether we wanted to watch this movie, we no longer were after that intense moment portrayed by Actress An Seo Hyun who plays Mija in the Netflix original film Okja directed by Bon Joon Ho.

Our stay-at-home summer has given us ample time to check out Netflix. When we started looking at different categories, we found Okja. We were skeptical as always because sometimes you stumble upon something you connect with and other times you enter a downward spiral and just keep watching because you already started and can’t look away.

You know the feeling. Then you spend the rest of the week watching movies you know are good just to get that movie out of your mind. That wasn’t the case with this movie.

An Seo Hyun (Mija) lulls you into her world set in the mountains of South Korea where she lives and breathes her life along with Okja, a “super pig” temporarily given to her grandfather who is a farmer.

You fall in love with Mija and Okja after the first fifteen minutes or so.

I have proof of this because I live with a house full of cynics:  an eleven year old who sounds like a lawyer, a fifteen year old who will be focusing on her film strand this coming year, and a journalist/online producer who won’t watch Alice In Wonderland directed by Tim Burton because it’s “not realistic.”

By falling in love with both of them, you feel the bite when Mija decides to find Okja who’s taken away from her by a large corporation that plans to use these super pigs for its own profit.

Mija runs, flies, punches, kicks, and takes a real beating on her quest to reach Okja. Her <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/moxie/”>Moxie</a&gt; makes her the perfect heroine for such a wildly fanciful film with a heavy message that delivers layers of frightful beliefs and behaviors we all embrace on a daily basis.

So, if you haven’t experienced this, set aside some time and watch what happens to your mind.

From Grit to Grace

Yesterday, that grit that has kept me trekking through some of my longest struggles abandoned me and left me panicking.
I’m the one with the fight. Everyone expects it.
But, sometimes, I just fail at what’s expected of me.
When I got the call, I just started breathing these long, deep breaths from the gut. Meditate. That’s it.
Then, it all just hit me in the gut.
The grit was gone.
A heavy pounding pumped my chest and I knew the only way to survive this one was to cry. We’ve been so worried about this happening that the moment it happened, it felt like I’d used up all my grit just holding on to nothing.Grace
My husband lost his job, not because he’s a terrible employee, but because the company was bought out by another company who wants to streamline things. You can fill in the blanks for the rest of that story.
But, don’t worry I’m still working. I don’t make much money because, well, I’m a teacher. Need I say more?
He, however, is in the news business, an online producer, social media specialist, you name it. He has an immaculate background that includes loyaltyand hard work, but sometimes I wonder if that’s what employers even want anymore. I mean, doesn’t it just come down to who will work for the least amount of money, at least in the online news business?
There’s punchline in here somewhere.
I guess I’m the punchline because he just went to the bedroom and shut the door. He started looking for work immediately. I, on the other hand, turned on Spotify and listened to Prince songs (“Let’s Go Crazy” was the first song to play), randomly freaked out my kids with wild screeching noises, watched a couple of old episodes of Modern Family, drank three espressos, went running in the middle of the hottest time of the day in Miami, then told him to get ready because we needed to go to Happy Hour somewhere.
If you rewind through that list of crazy, seemingly random activities, you’ll see how I got my grit back or even better my grit turned to grace.
A good cry gets rid of unwanted crap.
Prince has grit, in death and life.
Singing liberates you, even if you can’t carry a tune.
Laughing about problems grounds you.
Espressos fuel you.
Exercise refreshes you.
Sweating cleanses you.
And, Happy Hour reminds you that life’s supposed to be fun and crazy.
At Happy Hour we played with a link on Facebook that morphs you into an old Hollywood star. He became Clark Gable and I turned into Grace Kelly.
We remembered that we were once just kids and we’re somehow still in love despite some really scary moments in life. We’ve done a pretty good job at making a life for ourselves and our kids and, frankly my dear, there are worse problems than this.
Grit

Go ahead, pick the dragon’s nose kid.

Caper
Please stop making faces!
Beautiful hair, shiny, long, short, doesn’t matter–I mean the kind of hair that girls envy and say so out loud, right to his face.
But, I’ll be damned if he gives me one good smile for a picture. There’s always a face, a different one for each shot. The creepy guy face. The cool guy face. The demon face. The goofball face. The sad face. The smiling but really crossing my eyes face. Or, just smiling with crazy eyes.
He’s been like this since he pulled the Houdini act of climbing right out of his crib before he could walk.

IMG_6803When we go out, I need a few cups of coffee to keep me alert. There are days when I wish the coffee was something else, that’s how fast I need to be. I’m ready to jump, spin, grab, block, catch, you name it.
Somewhere inside every maniacal act of bouncing to his own beat, I laugh amidst the frustration of taking one good picture.
When we visited San Francisco, there were so many moments when the pictures were more than perfect, especially if he didn’t know I was taking them. Often, the theatrics made the pictures so much better, the exaggerated extension of his legs when climbing the uphill battle of getting back to the hotel made it oh so much more than just a good picture.
Walking through Chinatown and finding a brilliantly colorful dragon drawn on the side of a building, we stopped for a picture.
But, ten shots later, my perfect picture almost didn’t happen.

 

 

He insisted not only on theatrics but also on making sure he picked the dragon’s nose by sticking his hand in its giant nostril. With a smirk and a flick of the eyes, his sister pulled his hand down and we got something.
The dragon seemed fine with it.
In hindsight, I think the dragon was in on the whole joke.
Ironically, he hardly ever says I’m just joking.
He used to pontificate about pranks, which happen to be one of his favorite YouTube pastimes. Recently, it’s just weird drawings on the teacher’s whiteboards. Thank God they also have a sense of humor.
I could regress to his obsession with moles that appeared everywhere, so much so that I had to threaten that the moles had better not appear on photographs or human skin without permission.
However, I think you get the idea.
It seems that to him life is just way too serious.
And, if I weren’t such an adult, I’d be picking that dragon’s nose with him.

The Magnetic Law

Magnet

There’s a new law I found out about recently and I’m fascinated by it., sometimes horrified by it.

I believe it exists but I’m not sure that I’ve embraced it. The world I live in for the time being.

This world of education tends to shout otherwise. We teachers demand that students perform the way we want them to. No, actually, we demand that students perform the way the Department of Education wants them to. My only solace in following through with those demands is to often make fun of the DOE and then twist everything around and show the students how they can use education to get what they want.

Education also makes it difficult to work with this law because it demands that I enforce consequences on a regular basis. I must be strict. I must enforce silence when students prefer to talk. I must look angry, more often than not. I must make sure that they understand how to behave and do so because they fear me.

It does work. Teachers who don’t offer a significant amount of fear face the consequences of chaos and in middle school, chaos is scary. Students don’t just throw paper airplanes. They can really hurt one another.

We all know that if we’ve heard anything about school shootings or even students using social media.

The law I’m referring to is the Law of Attraction. I’d heard about it many years ago and I gave it a nod then went about my business. I heard about it again a few years ago and again nodded and again went about my business.

Then, a few strange, seemingly unconnected events juggled me around to this law once again.

I watched a Netflix documentary on Tony Robbins and actually liked it.

What a strange person:  I liked him but didn’t trust what he had to say.

I found myself driving my teenage daughter to school in the mornings.

She became increasingly distant and downright rude.

I started looking for inspirational videos to listen to after I dropped my daughter off.

Most of them started with Tony Robbins, then I listened to some of his radio interviews with took me to Deepak Chopra then to Dr. Wayne Dyer then to Oprah Winfrey then to Esther Hicks who I eventually learned was the one of the original speakers of the Law of Attraction.

I then looked at my phone and saw that my sister had given me a copy of the Law of Attraction and I remembered what she said, “This is weird but just listen to it when you feel frustrated, while you clean, stick it in your pocket, put your earphones in your ears and listen.”

I did, but it made no sense to me.

However, with my daughter’s distance even when we were sitting next to each other, even when I didn’t talk except to say I love you, this law became increasingly important to me.

I had also lost my grandmother a few years ago and it left me hating myself for not being able to do more, wanting to tell her how much I loved her and how sorry I was for having acted like my daughter was and is acting. I didn’t act that way all the time but I did act that way in my teenage years and then later I became distant because of work and her difficulties with dementia/Alzheimer’s.

So, these mornings of listening to Esther who speaks as Abraham who delivers the message of the Law of Attraction has changed my view of death, regret, love, and hate. Really, it’s changed my view of everything, even education.

We are magnets according to Abraham, according to the Law. But, we are not magnets in the traditional sense or the common understanding of a magnets capabilities. Opposites do not attract. The Law of Attraction tells us we “Like” attracts “Like.”

So, even if we don’t want something and we scream that we don’t want it, If we push against it, we will just get more of it.

This made sense to me because everything negative in my life seemed to fly toward me with the intensity of electromagnetic force.

But, understanding this sometimes makes everything more frustrating, especially when you tell someone you love them and a door is slammed in your face.

The idea is that you attracted the door slamming in your face. If like attracts like, then what the hell? Why not love in return?

Maybe the anger was stronger than the love, for both of us.

That’s true.

So, little by little, one day at a time, I attempt to work within the Law of Attraction. I meditate every morning or as many mornings as I can. I look for things to appreciate. And, more often than not, I lose my patience and restart the next day.

Being a teacher, a parent, a wife, and a writer, gives me a lot to consider when walking through life under the Law of Attraction.

What are your thoughts? Have you heard of this law?

© Lisa Chesser

Hey Sunshine!

SunscreenshotWho were you growing up? Who are you now?

What did they call you? What do they call you?

There I was, the one who had a different opinion, the one who didn’t talk, the one who stood out. I was perfect for their names. It was an introduction to learning to laugh at yourself.

It was high school, and it is life.

I had curly dark hair then. Sometimes wisps would create a halo that looked like the sun, at least that’s what I told myself when I rationalized my “nickname.” It’s just that when they said it, it sounded like, “Heeeeyyyyy, Sunshiiiiine!” The sound of giggling afterward quickly sharpened the tone as if to say, This isn’t a nickname stupid! This is a game. They’re gonna have their fun with you.

I’d turn away and pretend I was only temporarily occupying this body. I threw myself into an alternate world while still walking the tan corridors leading to my next class. It kept me walking.

Later, it wasn’t until I started teaching that someone said that to me again. I didn’t even flinch. I didn’t turn away. I didn’t feel bad. I didn’t even remember those moments when that group of girls chose me for their weekly victim until they could find a better one, which they did.

I just looked at the person and smiled. I also felt sorry for her. I wondered if someone had done that to her. Wasn’t she too old to be doing this? She made it a thing too. She started saying it all the time as if trying to create her own group, no one joined it, but she still said it until she stopped.

Somewhere along the way, between the high schooler turned writer turned graphic artist turned editor who becomes teacher, I traveled to The Keys, stopped at a shop along the narrow road, and spent a scorching amount of time staring at an enormous, ceramic sun.

The sun came home with me.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sunny/”>Sunny</a&gt;

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