Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lizard Envy

Today, outside my kitchen window, a tiny lizard scampered across the wall … running for the broad, flat ledge where he now peacefully sleeps in the sun, the light reflecting a rainbow of color from his scaly skin. How content he seems, absorbing the warmth of the brick beneath and the sun above. I envy him; here in this backyard, he is reasonably safe from predators – no cares except the search for the occasional fly to fill his stomach or a water drop to quench his thirst. I wonder if he knows the world beyond these boundaries – the world where cars speed by on the freeways and snakes gobble little critters like him. I hope not; I hope that this oasis of hibiscus and orange blossoms and bougainvillea is the only home he knows. Mostly, I hope he visits my window again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Journey to a Name

Apparently it was quite the challenge to successfully name a seven pound baby girl in June of 1961. After months of debate, my parents had finally reached consensus on a moniker for their first born child, only to see that name arrive in the daily mail, engraved in silver on the pink card announcing the birth of the anxiously awaited niece. Tradition and superstition dictated that cousins in the family not wear the same label, so back to the drawing board it was for my parents. In that age before ultrasound, it was, of course, imperative to have a ready name for each gender. The male name, Mark Alan, was safe and would remain so for nearly three years, until the birth of my younger brother.

Agreement was difficult to reach ... a joyful much anticipated event overshadowed by the tug of war between Tamara and Teresa, Lynn and Gayle. Calm conversations, heated debates, stony silences, playful back and forth - all paved the way to the string of letters the world would know as me. The dilemma filled countless hours, days, weeks ... becoming the rhythm of the waiting. A compromise was finally reached. Mother would choose the first name and my father would choose the middle name. My mother now jokes that she should have chosen both names; after all, my last name would be my father's by default.

And so it is that today, forty seven years and thousands of miles from that small Tennessee town, I am Teresa Gayle.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Ten years ago, he fastened a strand of pearls around my neck and ran his thumb along the line of my jaw as he promised me forever.

Last year, he told me I was the center of his world, that he couldn’t imagine life without the feel of my skin beneath his hand as he slept.

Last month, he woke me with the scent of fresh coffee and rose petals before he slid back between the quilts, making me want more and more and more.

Last week, he took me to the ocean and slipped the fabric from my shoulders, drawing me ever closer as we moved to the rhythm of the waves.

Last night, he wrapped me in his arms while he asked me to promise that I would never leave, never make him live a day he didn’t share with me.

Today, he packed his bags and said goodbye.

(Fiction for Six Sentences)

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Since being diagnosed with MS almost six years ago (more about that HERE) I've become amazingly more aware of what choices I make health-wise. Not in an obsessive, fear-based way... but just an added level of consciousness about what I do.

So... in order to banish as many of those nasty little free radical demons as possible... I decided to take a week and eat nothing but fresh fruits and vegetables... as in absolutely fresh... never processed in any way... which means not cooked or heat processed. And of course, that also meant that I would only drink water (with no artificial additives) or fresh juice... the kind that comes with only one ingredient. At the beginning, I expected it to be a challenge... after all, the rest of my family would still be eating their regular diet and the meals that I prepared for them.

It turned out to be an experience with more depth than I would have ever anticipated. I live in a place where a variety of really fresh produce is available year round... today I can eat fruit that was still growing in Chile yesterday... literally... thank goodness for fresh food markets. The fullness of the flavors... the saturated colors blended together in a bowl of fruit... the burst of scent as a piece of fruit is broken open... the feel of fresh juice running down my arm as I peel a kiwi...

My skin is clearer, smoother... the color of my eyes brighter and clearer... and I feel great. More than that, it adjusted the way my soul feels... freed something up... taking the moments to simply enjoy the process changed me.

And seriously, many of my meals are still fresh fruit and veggies... even though my 'week' ended a month ago...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Purple Smiles

Emma scribbled swirling purple flowers and flourishes across the blue-lined pages of her binder, oblivious to the litany of memorable highlights of 18th century history being vocalized from the front of the classroom. At least her teacher thought they were memorable.

Exactly how boring could a class be… after all, she would meticulously answer each question with absolute accuracy… as always… review or no review.

The purple marker make her smile; she’d found it tucked next to the granola bar and juice Mom had left on the kitchen counter that morning, a sassy polka-dot bow wrapped around it… probably as motivaton for actually getting the breakfast eaten.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Emma… eat up!” Just thinking of her mom’s words caused an eye roll of dramatic proportions, accompanied by the hint of a smile that simply couldn’t be crushed as she added a fluttering purple butterfly to the flowers on the page.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


There are days when words won't stop... when they dance in my heart and mind... and spill onto paper and keyboard faster than my hands and thoughts can keep up.

Other days, my hands lie still on the clean pages... pen grasped loosely between fingers... or fingers poised above keyboard... listless... lifeless.

I've been told (haven't we all?!) that writing is a discipline... to write something everyday... regardless of how it 'feels'... and even that leaves me lost. I find myself considering copying a page from a book... simply to be able to say I wrote something... even if it's only a physical exercise... or... I write some inane piece of musing like this.