If you’ve ever been annoyed with the “hey” text…
     The first time I got a blank-face emoji from Lionel (name changed), I sent a blank face back.
     How was I supposed to respond to a little yellow circle with only two eyes and no expressive eyebrows or mouth lines?
     He replied with another blank face.
     Lionel has more than 30 years of life to his person. What’s up with the damn blank face?
     There are 100 million ways to engage me… grow up and think of something a little bit more creative, please!
     100 million ways? One Hundred MILLION?
     Well, probably.      I mean, at least theoretically.
     Let’s start simple. Let’s start with the mundane, and slightly annoying with repetition, but at least minimally engaging text.
     1. What are you up to?
     2. How was your day?
     3. What did you do last night?
     With one of these texts, at least now I can answer. I can say, I’m drinking coffee and my day is going pretty well, at least considering the loss of my football team, and I stayed home last night because playing solitaire in my PJs was exactly the kind of low-key night I needed.
     Ready to step it up?
     We’ve known each other for awhile, let’s try to act like it.
     1. Remember the last time we ate at the Chinese buffet? I am totally craving their won-ton soup today!
     2. Good thing you put your snow tires on yesterday, since the sun is out and the ice is melted. LOL.
     *Note: I do not condone the use of “LOL,” but that’s a different post. It is common Lionel text-lingo.
     3. I’m hangin’ at my bro’s house and we’re fixing the jeep. Who knew this project would be so complicated?
     Let me point out that these messages actually reference real life, acknowledge my existence, and attempt to engage a response – maybe not directly – but this is only stage two. Baby steps.
     Or, you know. Send me a damn blank face.
     Next, I’m going to make a major leap! If the stage two exercise was too much to handle, quit reading, right now!
     Clearly, the blank face emoji is a giant leap of confidence, so don’t blow a gasket or anything here… attempt these steps with caution, because they may prove to be very scary!
     1. That movie we saw the other day was pretty awesome. I noticed the first half to the sequel is at the cheap theater. Since you never saw it, maybe we should get tickets this week?
     (I realize this is a super-long text. Since Lionel doesn’t need to bring blog readers into context, he might just consider something like, ‘Cheap seats tix for movie part one this week?’)
     2. Wanna grab a drink tonight?
     3. It’s been awhile since we’ve been to that Chinese buffet. Let’s do dinner?
     You might be confused by these stage three text messages. Why not just use the BLANK FACE??
     Clearly, if you’re sending me a blank-faced emoji, you’re trying to engage my attention. Quit acting like a 12-year old… wait. Scratch that. That’s not fair to the 12-year old. The teenager probably has the the text-savvy to form a complete sentence – maybe something like, ‘R U going 2 the FB game sat?’
     (Using whatever text lingo this too-old-to-be-cool chick isn’t familiar with, of course).
Back to Lionel.
     Do you want to hang out? Ask me.
     This isn’t 1995. You don’t have to call my dad’s landline to reach me.
     If you just want to chit-chat, that’s cool too. But you’re going to have to throw down some damn chitter if you want me to reply with chatter.
     There is simply no available response for me to give when you send a

Morning Mantis


            I woke up this morning to find a praying mantis on the inside of my window screen. (S)he was as long as my pinky finger. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before, here, where I live now.

            At first, I was a little bit unnerved. It’s a large insect for this part of the world. But then, (S)he was so still. I could have stayed to watch the mantis all morning…

            My next thought was, maybe I should transfer the mantis outside. This thought was followed by a question of luck. Does it affect the day’s energy to bother a praying mantis?


            I proceeded to get ready for my day and returned to the window, where the insect still sat, stock-still. I picked up a dry water glass from the bedside table and tried to capture the mantis, gently. When that didn’t work, I grabbed a tissue to nudge the mantis into the glass.
            (S)he stepped, one foot at a time, tenderly onto the tissue. Unlike capturing other insects, the movements seemed incredibly deliberate.
            I went outside and brushed the tissue lightly against a flowering plant on my front porch and the mantis, again, stepped slowly, with deliberate steps, onto the plant.

            I watched the insect for a little longer as (S)he sat motionless on the plant, before I went back inside to rush through the rest of my morning routine.


“The praying mantis always comes to us when we are internally craving peace, quiet, and calm in our lives.”

“The praying mantis meaning has a variety of traits: temperance, quietness, awareness, calmness, clairvoyance, patience, mindfulness and innovation.”

♦ According to sunsigns.org ♦


Hopefully, the mantis is a sign of peace and mindfulness for my day.
May your day, also, be calm and insightful.

And (please excuse my anthropomorphism), I hope that the mantis was satisfied with his/her location transfer this morning.


How do YOU beat the BEAST?

In a conversation today with a friend, we landed on the subject of intense anxiety – that fear that boils up when we over-analyze the past and the fear that gets in our way when we have a situation to face.

My friend often finds herself feeling guilty for things long over and likely, not even worth the guilt in the first place.

I find that I have trouble taking action on things that are bound to go well, if I can only manage to pull a Nike and “Just Do It.”

Of course, we both experience these things, and many other instances of self-doubt and insecurity.

My friend’s daughter is a teenager who experiences a level of self-consciousness that brings here to tears when faced with a situation that makes her feel like the focal point of someone else’s attention.

In a weird point of “I can relate,” I have this memory of being in the third grade, during show-and-tell. One of the other kids brought in their pet cat and everyone got to pet the cat until sharing time was over… and it hadn’t yet been my turn. I wanted to pet the cat so badly! I didn’t have furry pets at home. But I was so embarrassed about how upset I was at not getting a turn, I couldn’t ask to pet the cat because I was trying so hard not to cry.
I don’t remember what happened, or who noticed, but I do remember someone giving me the cat… and if I think about it too hard, I can still feel a crazy mix of complete relief that I got to pet the soft fur, and rib-clenching tears at the embarrassment of how stupid I thought the other kids probably thought I was for caring that much.

I have spent many, many years actively working on my self-confidence. I am a perfectionist in many ways and I often assume that other people are tearing me apart at least as bad as I am tearing myself apart.

Maybe, sometimes, they are.

But more likely, people are much more focused on themselves then they are on me.

There are people in my life who make me feel like, it’s possible, that no one who really knows me well actually likes me.
There are also people in my life who make me believe that I am more or less a decent person, if not even kinda awesome.

My own opinion of myself varies quite a bit across the spectrum on any given day.

When it comes down to getting stuff done, like calling a stranger on the phone or asking for help when I feel like a complete idiot for doing so, I do my best to summon my inner gymnast, from the days of back walkovers on the beam. I never accomplished a beam back walkover without first experiencing a mini-heart attack and conviction that I couldn’t do it. But then, I would take a big breath, visualize my hands solidly on the beam behind me, and slip a mental block between myself and the next thought.

Don’t think about it…. just Do It.

At any rate, I still struggle with days when I don’t like me. I’ve done stupid things. I’m too convinced I’m right about certain things. I’m impatient. I’m stubborn. And/or…. whatever other self-criticisms pop up on any particular day.

I wonder where I fall on the scale, between self-love and self-hate? Do other people struggle this much? Have other people figured out how to navigate toward positive thinking on a more regular basis?

How do I accomplish self-love on a more consistent basis?

How do I help other people accomplish self-love on a more consistent basis?

What do you do to encourage your own amazing, bad-ass, beautiful, wonderful self that you are, in fact, downright, truly, for real, downright, damn incredible??

Hell, Why Not?

         A man from my past has surfaced recently.
He is trying to talk me into a casual encounter of an intimate nature.

(If text is invisible, story should be available on the post page at the Vagarious Voyage blog. Sorry for the inconvenience, but thank you for subscribing!)

            Let’s be honest. I’m at least half-tempted.


            Already, I can feel how he wraps his arms low around my waist and looks at me like maybe I hold a magic key to happiness and maybe I’m holding that key between my tightly pressed lips, while he waits for me to relax and ease into him.


            I told him it would be too risky.
He might fall in love with me.


            He told me that the risk of falling is mine, and I replied,
it might be true.


            It probably is true. The risk of falling – it belongs to me.


            In the immediate,
I crave our connection.
I crave the heat we share and the strength of two souls wrapped together,
instead of only my solo one.




            It’s the


            He will leave. He always does.

He will disappear. He can’t help it.


The distance will stretch out and the loneliness will grow and that same strength of two souls will dissolve –  even to less than one – while I wait for equilibrium, bouncing around inside of me like moths near a porch light, before it returns.


That little bubble of love that I have for him will settle into my ribcage.
Along with the other little bubbles of love that reside there.
And in those beginning days of the
after, the bubbles will all be so, so heavy.

So. Heavy.


Maybe it will only take a few days for the bubbles to become soapy and floaty as they rise up into my chest full of rainbow reflections.

Or maybe it will take many days.


Despite the temptation, I’ll have to refuse him…
the heavy part of
 grows – it will take many, many days.


Red Pen



There is something oddly satisfying when I can confidently sweep my red pen over a sentence to polish it, just a little.


When the original thought is barely changed at all… but a forgotten “s” or a “the the” can be simply rectified…


AP style can be a beast – ever so conditional!

My style guide is permanently open to the “numerals” entry…

     “a ratio of 2-to-1, a 2-1 ratio
 1 in 4 voters
seven houses 7 miles apart
he walked 4 miles
minus 10, zero, 60 degrees”
But, when everything is finally smoothed together, it gives me a weird sense of power and accomplishment – to have taken something rough and turned it into a rhythmic patter of verbal description.


I want to buy one writer in particular a thesaurus – unfortunately, it wouldn’t be appropriate, given our current hierarchal structure.


I also want to do away with certain “modifications” of our specific publication (who doesn’t capitalize headline titles?!).


But overall, my inner word-nerd is satisfied, giving a subtle magic touch of a red-pen wand.



On a separate note, this kind of post makes me paranoid that I’ve committed some egregious editing error.
Call me out if I have – I would rather know, so I can fix it!  🙂


Does editing give you the same weird satisfaction or does it make you cranky?



Mixed Emotion

A military friend recently posted a whole string of meme-photos.

Each photo had a civilian-world-photo pasted with a military shot that was somehow related.


Just because someone doesn’t have scars, doesn’t mean they are not battling.

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 2.02.25 PM


The point of the photos seems to be proving how silly and petty these meme-posts are…

And some of them are a little ridiculous.


But this bothers me –

WAIT! Don’t get me wrong!
I respect service men and women and I believe that there are many veterans and active-duty personnel that fight invisible battles every day that the rest of the world can not see.


That shouldn’t undermine other people’s battles.

I have no idea what being in a the middle of a war-strewn desert is like. True.

But – does that mean that none of my battles or scars are real? No.

Human beings are, by nature, vulnerable. We all bleed and we all get hurt.

Instead of playing down someone else’s struggles, why not support each other?

I may not understand your demons, but I will do my best to understand that you have them. Please respect that I have some too.


Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 2.13.32 PM





How do we learn to see our own value, when the reflections of the world are rippled and distorted, and our souls feel ragged and worthless?

How do we learn to see our own value, when the reflections of the world are rippled and distorted, and our souls feel ragged and worthless?



Find a Farmer

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Americans, on average, are 4 generations removed from agriculture.

We are concerned about where our food comes from and how it is raised or grown.

We want a healthy environment, healthy families and healthy food stock.

Many corporate companies are supplied and supported by family farm/ranch operations.

Conventional methods are often designed around practices that have developed over generations of animal husbandry and care.

Farmers and ranchers work hard to maintain sustainable operations, to pass to their children and children’s children.

Natural, organic and local food movements are based in improving food production…

But it is also about reconnecting to our nourishment.


How do we CONNECT the conversation?

How do those far removed from agriculture talk with those who revolve their lives around it?


How do we all learn and share

what practices are used in sourcing our food,

but more importantly,

WHY those methods are used?



*From commonalities in separate conversation amongst cattlewomen, university academics, and young farmers and ranchers.*

first day eve

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What do you wear to an important annual meeting at work,
that also happens to be the your first day on the job?
First impressions.
Though they do not tell the whole story, clothes do speak.
Last saturday night. Karaoke at the bar. In walks a woman with bottle-colored hair, purple-hued, red. Black baggy pants with silver loops and chains. Punk swagger.
Compassion in her smile.
Also quite possibly high. Drunk, if not drug, lines in her face                                   (who am i to assume)?
She takes the microphone
and with magic talent sings
Black Velvet
her voice creating tangible softness in “black velvet if you please.”
A first impression says one thing.
All of our other colors, eventually, will shine. Will glow.
Maybe it doesn’t matter how I first present,
but I still can’t decide what to wear.