have a bawl

I was tired this morning on my way too work, and when I’m tired I find I’m more emotional (read: I cry a whole lot easier) than when I’m fully rested.

That’s right, I cry. I have no problem admitting that.

We aren’t talking full on sob sessions (and so what if we were), but my eyes will water up and spill over the edges on occasion while watching movies, reading books, listening to music, telling stories…  It happens.

This morning, listening to Bruce Springsteen sing “This Hard Land,” I had to wipe my eyes:

Hey frank won’t ya pack your bags
And meet me tonight down at liberty hall
Just one kiss from you my brother
And we’ll ride until we fall
We’ll sleep in the fields
We’ll sleep by the rivers and in the morning
We’ll make a plan
Well if you can’t make it
Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive
If you can
And meet me in a dream of this hard land

There are a couple things going on here:

First, he is calling out “Frank,” which always brings to mind “Jessie.”  (You know, Frank and Jessie James.)  So, there’s history, and family, and life and death, and all the romance I ascribe to the old west all rolled into that one word.  Who among us hasn’t made believe at one time in our lives that we were these notorious outlaws robbing a bank or train, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, watching each other’s backs, protected by family and friends and tradition?  So, with all that now running through my head, we proceed into the rest of the stanza.

The second hit comes from: “Just one kiss from you my brother, and we’ll ride until we fall.”  I haven’t always been close with my brother, there were a couple years where we didn’t talk much at all.  But, since then, we have become much closer.  This line resonates with me.  I know, either way, if one of us needed the other, we’d be there to whatever end.  Without question.  Without complaint.  Guns blazing if needed.  At this point I can already feel the pressure behind my eyes as my tear ducts are starting to do there thing.

Then it all comes together with the third and final stressor on my (fragile?) emotional state with the final lines: “stay alive, if you can, and meet me in a dream of this hard land.”  If you can?  If you can!  That’s it, I’m done, I can’t stop the tears from coming.  Life is a struggle, there are always going to be challenges, but there is hope, there is something wonderful about meeting those adventures head on with someone by your side, there is more going on in those lines than I have the words to capture.

From there, on my drive, I moved on to thinking about the other lines from my life that I can’t help but cry when I hear them (see them):

For Love of the Game – written on the baseball – “Tell them I’m through, ‘for love of the game’, Billy Chapel”

Schindler’s List – Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) – “I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just… I could have got more.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) – “Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them.”

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – Jason Tully (Willis Bouchey) – “Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance.”

Zulu – Adendorff (Gert van den Bergh) –  “They’re… they’re saluting you. They’re saluting fellow braves. They’re saluting you.”

Five seems like enough for today.  And now, of course, I want to watch each of these films again.  If you haven’t seen them, add them to your must watch lists.  That’s an official kingdom proclamation.

Guest Post: (Aunt) Princess Rosebud writes a letter to the Jester

Princess Rosebud, from the  Enchanted Seashells section of the blogosphere, has sent recent first time dad, the Jester, a letter “in honor of the newly born Prince:

Dear JesterDad,

You’re probably still in the throes of the wonder of it all, right?

For sure you’re exhausted beyond what you ever anticipated, but I bet the very first smile is still fresh in your mind.

Here are a few tried and true tips — in other words, annoying and unsolicited advice — from the mother of Angel Boy, Aunt Princess Rosebud:
■  I never wanted our Angel Boy to sleep in a cold bed, so I’d warm up the sheets with a blow dryer (of course with him not in it at the time.) You could do the same thing with a hot water bottle, but I found the blow dryer did it very quickly.
■  In these early days, heat the towels after a bath. Not hot, but warm enough to be a loving embrace. It’ll feel so cozy. I love warm towels for me, too!
■  Don’t let anyone tell you you’re spoiling him. Loving is not spoiling. A loved child grows up to be a loving adult.
■  Not that you ever would, but just as a reminder, never ever ever leave your Prince alone in the car while you run into the store or the post office or anywhere for “just a minute”. Yes, I know it’s a hassle to take him in and out, but it just takes one time to become a tragedy.
■  We never let Angel Boy cry. Not ever. His dad and I didn’t believe in it. We picked him up at the first whimper. We felt that we didn’t bring him into this world to feel a single second of pain or hurt or fear.
■  Tell him you love him a billion times a day. And then one more time. It’s never enough.
■  If he wants to play a zillion games of Chutes and Ladders or Candyland or read the same book over and over again–do it. With a smile.
■  Every single time — EVERY SINGLE TIME — he says, “Dad, look at me! Dad, watch me!” DO IT. Immediately stop what you’re doing and give him 100% of your attention and all the unconditional attention and love he deserves. I still do it, I’m proud to say! If they don’t have enough positive attention from you, that’s when they turn to others for negative attention.
■  Children thrive with love. Love is free. If you run out of money, you’ll still have enough love to be a good dad.
■  Make learning fun. Encourage curiosity and imagination and experimentation every day, not just during school.
■  I’m prolly the only one who did this, but I told my son (and the school) that if he ever said he was sick or just wanted to come home, they needed to call me cos I’d always go and get him. I never wanted him to think of school as a prison he couldn’t be released from. He actually only called one or two times ever during his school years and I think the reverse psychology of it made him want to GO to school, not have fake stomach aches to stay away. It def worked for us. I didn’t care if he was sick or not, if he wanted to be with me, that was and still is way more important. I didn’t want him to lie and say he was sick if he wasn’t just to get out of school. He’s now a prof at Yale so I can’t say it didn’t work ha ha! (still managed to insert the obnoxiously proud mom plug)

One day your Prince will grow up and be off to college and you’ll have these lovely memories just like we do. It all goes by in the blink of any eye. Trust me.

Happy Parenting from annoying Aunt Princess Rosebud!

Thanks for the opportunity to guest post while you’re falling in love a thousand times a day with your precious baby. I’m usually kind of snarky and self absorbed (it IS my own enchanting little world, y’all!) but the birth of a new Prince has brought out my maternal instincts. I loved the letter to your son, and thought I’d pen a brief missive to you. Since you and my Angel Boy attended the same university and graduated the same year, I feel a connection — these are the same tips he’ll be annoyed with whenever he makes me a grandma.


Wow!  Such great advice, and not really annoying at all… well, maybe a little…  I don’t know anymore.  I’m too tired to even remember what day of the week it is at this point.  Just kidding.  Or am I?  I’m not sure of that either!  Oh dear, maybe I should take a nap or something…  I think I’ll just lie down here for awhile if you don’t mind.  Hey it’s my kingdom!  I can do as I please!  … you mean it isn’t even my kingdom anymore??  Oh dear…

Anyway, enough of that rambling.  Isn’t Aunt Princess Rosebud amazing?!  Of course she is!  And you want to read more of what she has to say, right?  Of course you do.  I suggest you start with these and then carry on from there:

flip the switch, part 2

(For catching up / clarification purposes: part 1.)


The sound was right on top of him, a snarl of hunger and anger, with a hint of desperation.  But he didn’t have time to consider any of that.

His arms pushed aside the branches, and fat wet leaves of the jungle, protecting his face as his legs pumped furiously to stay out of reach of the creature behind him.  The bird he had seen earlier called again but he didn’t hear it over the beating of his heart and his ragged breathing.  He ran faster than he ever had run before in his short life, sprinting blindly through the darkness towards where the door had been.

Up, on.  Down, off.  But there was no off switch for his current predicament.  His hope as he dashed through the midnight jungle terrain was that the door remained where it had been whether he could see it or not.

Hot breath gusted against the back of his neck.  Up, on.  Down, off.  No.  No, there was no off switch for his predator either.  His legs, as it had turned out did have an on switch: the growl of the beast set them into motion just fine.  He desperately hoped they didn’t have an off switch he wasn’t yet aware of that could be triggered just easily as the on switch had been.

Absently, while still pushing through the tangle of leaves and vines, his left hand began to seek out the wall.  His wrist flicked up and down so that the light switch would be flipped as he flew past it, if he did in fact ever fly past it.  Up, on.  Down, off.  It didn’t matter to him at that moment which it turned out to be, either was bound to produce the magic that could pull himself safely back into his home and away from the jungle that would surely spell his doom.

Behind him, the beast drew in a breath of victory.  He could feel the inhale snagging at the hairs on the back of his neck.  His arms turned to goose-flesh, his legs lost their purpose and started to falter.  All was lost.  Up, on.  Down, off.  The beast shrieked in victory, a high-pitched roar as it prepared to pounce.

The child threw himself forward, he put everything he had into one last forward lunge, and propelled his body forward into the black reaches of space ahead of him.  Well, he gave his legs everything except what little energy it took to flip his left hand up and down as it groped feverishly for a wall and the switch that had to be, just had to be, on that wall.

Up, on.  Down, off.

Something caught his right shoe.  He could feel hot breath, and the warming drench of saliva began to engulf his foot.  The finest points of searing pressure and pain sprang forth as the beasts maw bit through the rubber.  And then…

Up, on.  Down, off.  His left hand smacked into the wall and his wrist caught the light switch throwing it up and sending him from blinding darkness into blinding light.  His body crashed through the door frame at angle, with his right foot banging noisily and painfully against the edge as he tumbled through and into the hallway beyond.

He didn’t dare turn and look into the his room.  He didn’t want to see the death that was surely still springing upon him.  Instead he curled up in ball and sobbed hysterically until his mom and dad came to see what all the ruckus was about.

He told them the story, eventually, once he had calmed down.  Once he had gotten his emotions back in control and had managed to peer sheepishly over his mother’s shoulder to see his matching desk and bed and dresser.  To see the brilliant white light cascading down on his room, safe, secure, exactly as it was supposed to be.  Up, on.  Down, off.  They blamed the whole incident on his over active imagination and scolded him for running and playing so roughly in the house.  He could have broken something.

It was curious, though, that they never found his right shoe, which had somehow gone missing from the time he had entered the room until his flying exit.

Up, on.  Down, off.


I want to say thanks again to Rara for her ForThePromptless series.  While this isn’t a direct contribution to that endeavor, it is the sequel to the short piece of fiction I did write for it.  And, thanks to all you, faithful and wonderful readers, who encouraged me to write the next piece to the story.  I too wanted to see how it all turned out.

This one time…

I rode a gondola halfway up a mountain to get married.

You wanted to know the most surreal experience I’ve ever had, well, that would be it.

The date: April 18, 2009
The place: Mammoth Mountain

After the mountain had shut down for the day.  My fiance and I drove up and parked in the lot next to the gondola.  There were still some people milling about and getting packed up to head off the mountain but the lot was mostly empty.  As we moved across the black top, a little girl called out in glee, “Mommy, mommy, look!”  She was pointing and waving at my beautiful bride-to-be as we walked over to the gondola.

Nervous.  Excited.  Ready.  And, just a bit tired, having stayed up the night before finalizing the ceremony and putting the finishing touches on the day to come.  We boarded the gondola, which was running just for our wedding party to ascend to McCoy Station, and headed up the mountain.

She was stunning.  The view was stunning.  The day was stunning.

I wished I could have stepped outside my body for a moment to see the whole thing unfolding from a distance, see it from everyone else’s point of view.

We got off the gondola and were ushered into our places.  The music started, and we walked out in our proper orders.  When I turned to watch my fiance walk towards me, walk towards our life together and all the adventures we would take from then on, I barely held it together.

Wedding - TOS walking away