It never fails: The phone rings every day at 10 a.m. It may not always be the same person calling, but the phone does ring. (Well, technically my phone doesn’t ring. It plays a song. Something like this: Laa daa da da da da da daa da dit.) I don’t get it. What’s so special about 10 in the morning? Why does it keep happening?

It’s just a little strange. The thing that bothers me is I’m usually still sleeping at 10 a.m.  That, and the fact that when I picked up the phone today, no one was there. No one spoke, anyway.

The other day I was babysitting Jacob. He’s three years old, was adopted from Kazakhstan, and his mom is expecting (a baby girl!). We were getting our shoes to go outside and play with his Frisbee — it’s funny how little kids can actually throw a Frisbee pretty well — when he stops and asks me a question.

Jacob: Did I come out of your tummy?
Me: No, you didn’t.
Jacob: Well, then who’s tummy did I come out of?
Me: Your mom in Kazakhstan had you. You came out of her tummy.
Jacob: Was it messy?
Me: Probably.
Jacob: Why was it messy?
Me: Because it’s messy in there.

This is the boy that starts all of his stories with, “Once upon a time there was a little, little boy named Jacob from Kazakhstan…”

I saw a tree fall. The little bit of forest by my house is being cleared out. No more loud chirping in the morning. No more deer walking across the driveway.

It didn’t even look real. I was in disbelief, really. To me, it was as if someone had added in the tree as some kind of special effects. Like all the birds flying around in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” (Now that was fakey.) Weird.

Now I can see the roof-tops of houses in the nearest neighborhood, and I don’t think I like it.

I went hiking up to Rattlesnake Ledge today. It was a three or four mile hike. I’m not exactly sure how long it was, because on the sign at the bottom it said two miles to the top, and at the top it said it was 1.5 miles. I’d never exactly gone hiking before. Just amateur stuff that I’d rather not count.

I’ve always liked walking on trails and exploring nature, so it was a fun experience. It was also a challenge. The hiking trail was steep and covered with rocks and tree roots that can easily trip you. I was breathing hard the whole time, and my heart was pounding, but it was good exercise. A definite workout for the legs. Let me tell you. Ha ha. It was surprising how determined I was to keep going. It felt good.

When we finally reached the top, and I saw the view of Rattlesnake Lake from up above, it was all worth it. I sat up there for a while, just trying to take it all in. It felt good to sit down, too. I could have stayed up there for a half-hour just to sit. We stayed to listen to a woman tell us about the history of Rattlesnake Lake, which was nice.

Then came the hike down. It is so much easier to go down than up. Down hill all the way. Whenever we passed someone going up, sometimes already tired and sweaty and not even half-way there, I would think “sucker!” Ha ha. I was just happy that the hard part was over and done with — for me.

At the very bottom, a table was set up with brochures and things about more hiking trails and how to save the salmon (they’re endangered, you know). We were looking at them, but then I look over and see a woman walking in the other direction who seems very, very familiar. I say to my mom, “Mom, that looks like Marjan. Doesn’t that look like Marjan?”

Marjan is my aunt, who happens to love hiking. She yells out to her and, sure enough, it was my aunt! I screamed and ran up to her to give her a hug. (That was fun. Heehee.) It was so cool to run into her. I love her to death. She had been hiking the same trail around the same time, but had gone a bit further, and we just missed her. (So close.)

All in all, it was a great day. I was tired and hungry afterward, but who wouldn’t be?

I learned about emotional intelligence in Psychology 101. It has absolutely nothing to do with your IQ. And it’s important to your health and success in life. Read on:

The Five Factors of Emotional Intelligence–

1. Self Awareness- It’s simply being aware of your own emotions. Be aware of your gut instinct and listen to it. Intuition should not be overlooked.

2. Handling Your Emotions- This means impulse control. If you can do it, that’s a very good thing.

3. Motivation- Motivation and optimism are highly coorelated. If you’re an optimistic person, that’s great. How do you self-talk?

4. Empathy- It’s sympathy with emotion. This is knowing how someone is feeling without them having to tell you, and you doing something about it.

5. Handling Emotions In Others- The ability to diffuse the emotions of others by first acknowledging their feelings and then having a conversation. As opposed to saying, “hey, it’s not my fault!”

I now realize that, although, in the past, when I have sometimes said that I am unaware of my emotions, it isn’t true. I am completely aware. There might not always be a simple reason, but it is there. (Except for when it’s PMS. That makes no sense.) Sometimes, though, it’s just easier to push them away and think I don’t understand why I feel the way I do.

And, empathy is a beautiful thing.

(I miss you.)

Life is stressful, but life is good. You know that?

doted on like seeds planted in rows
the untied shoelaces of you life
nutured all year then pressed in a book
or displayed in bad taste at the table
problems arise and you fan the fire
while there’s a wild pack of dogs loose in your house tonight.
cut from bad cloth or soiled like socks
add it up and basically people never change.

they just talk and make plans in the dark
or make haste with ideas that can’t help
but creep good people out
as you talk to me too much you’re assuming
we don’t always want what’s right.

did i strike the right set of chords? you’re annoyed.
the goal is to ignite you then move on.
you feel ill at ease. you got no squeeze.
and the wise cracks won’t make you more stable.
you’ve learned you lines to scale and to time.
why must i remind you now i’m only less able.
cut from bad cloth or soiled like socks
we’re ordinary people we can’t help but to change

as we walk and make plans in the dark
or make haste with the boy who can’t help
but creep good people out.
as you talk to me too much you’re assuming
we don’t always want what’s right.

two fallen saplings in an open field.
snow padding gently on an empty bench.
an old woman’s jewelry lying unadorned.
cold nesting robins allied for the first time.
i know when you hear these sappy lines
you’ll roll your eyes and say “nice try”.

Yeah, I’ve got both Shins albums now! “Oh, Inverted World” sounds different than “Chutes Too Narrow.” The band sounds a little mellow and unexperienced, but it’s cute. They’ve got the unique lyrics that I like, so it’s all good.

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