That Other Couple

It’s a shocking thing when you realize there is another couple in your home. A couple you didn’t invite. A couple you don’t really like. A couple that barely seems a couple because all they do is fight. Our other couple showed up long ago when we decided to move in together. They’ve made us miserable ever since. They look like us but they are nothing like us.

We are in love. We respect and care for each other. We listen when the other needs to talk and we never hold a grudge. We don’t interrupt or say mean things. We don’t hurt the other because we feel hurt. We see the good in one another and love each other no matter what. We like to share secrets. You can often find us cuddling on the couch and watching romantic movies. We tell each other about our days and we comfort each other when the day was bad. We laugh and play together, the way we did when we were teenagers. We can’t get enough of each other.

We would never act the way that other couple does!

This other couple, they act like they hate each other. There is no communication and they fight constantly! I roll my eyes at the petty things that set off their screaming matches. My girlfriend shakes her head as yet another event from the past is dragged into the present. I sigh when two hours into the argument one of them takes things too far and says something hurtful, something mean. The crying starts then. They always make up, in the end, each sobbing and begging the other to forgive, but the problem isn’t always resolved.

We look at each other, silently hoping this is the last time we have to deal with the disruption.

And things will be quiet for a while. My girlfriend and I get back to our quiet bliss, back to loving and being loved. We can’t shake that other couple though and below the surface we are both on edge waiting for that other couple to start the yelling again. We have tried to get them out but they never really leave. We’ve tried talking to them, we’ve tried teaching them, we’ve tried ignoring them, but none of that works either. So now we try to live with them and accept that they are probably with us forever.

I can’t help feeling sad for them. They waste so much time hurting and shutting out one another instead of loving and enjoying each other. I wish they could be more like us, the way we are now. I wish there was a way to get through to them so they never had to fight again.

But as soon as things have calmed down, as soon as we think that other nasty couple has finally gone away for good, the yelling begins again….


Inspired by the Daily Post prompt: Unexpected Guests

Featured image via Unsplash


The Convenience of Soylent and What it Means to be Human

What if someone offered you the opportunity to get all of your daily nutrition from one simple drink? No more trying to decide what’s for dinner. No more worrying about cleaning your pots and pans. No more slaving over a hot stove. Would you be intrigued, I know I am.

It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie but finally it is real, I give you Soylent!

I first heard of Soylent years ago. There was an article/interview in one of the many science-y magazines I buy. Created by Robert Rhinehart in response to a need for “a simpler food source” the article made it sound like a miracle drink! “A food product (classified as a food, not a supplement, by the FDA) designed for use as a staple meal by all adults”. Each serving of Soylent provides maximum nutrition with minimum effort.

Never again would I have to worry about getting all of my nutrients, plus I would save a ton of time since I didn’t have to cook or clean any longer :) Free your body Soylent Powder 1.5 details

I wanted this so badly.

My girlfriend thought  it was weird. She said it would probably give me cancer. A lot of people have reacted to me the same way. I didn’t understand at first but after talking about it more and thinking it over I think most people’s aversion to Soylent is that it’s just so different. No one can imagine a life that is not centered around food. To not eat real food seems to fly in the face of what it means to be a human.

The act of finding, preparing, and eating food is a very social activity. Without that what would we do all day? How would we gather? What would we talk about if not the taste of a steak or a new recipe we discovered? What would we have to look forward to if not a nice greasy pizza or a juicy burger piled high with more beef patties than any person needs? Not worrying about food or finding new ways to prepare just seems too weird.


I was so excited when I discovered this amazing discovery but after talking to friends and family I felt like I have broken some social rule and quickly felt ashamed. So I let it go.

My interest was piqued again recently when Soylent 2.0 was released, promising to not only give you all of your nutrients but also provide a glowing feeling from helping the environment too. It’s vegan, so no animals are being slaughtered, and it’s made partially from sustainable algae! I wanted it even more!

Not only are its ingredients vegan, Soylent 2.0 reaches an unprecedented level of environmental sustainability with half of its fat energy coming from farm-free, algae sources. This next generation agricultural technology has the potential to reduce the ecological impact of food production by orders of magnitude, signifying a major step towards a future of abundance, a world where optimal nutrition is the new normal.


Then again when The Next Web published a think piece slamming Rhienhart for a recent post on his blog. The piece described Rhinehart as “someone so disconnected from reality that he might as well be hooked into an Oculus Rift 24/7, bathing in a bath of temperature controlled Soylent”. Harsh much?

Yeah Rhinehart might be a little kooky but he’s made Soylent his whole life! I worry though that I could go a little kooky too if I forego the pleasure and social aspects of food for the convenience of “grey goop”. I mean I understand the benefits but Rhinehart acts like preparing food is a task only suitable for people burning in the lower levels of hell.

I have not set foot in a grocery store. Nevermore will I bumble through endless confusing aisles like a pack-donkey searching for feed while the smell of rotting flesh fills my nostrils and fluorescent lights sear my eyeballs and sappy love songs torture my ears. Grocery shopping is a multi-sensory living nightmare. There are services that will make someone else do it for me but I cannot in good conscience force a fellow soul through this gauntlet.

It’s not that bad dude! I mean yeah sometimes Wal-Mart can be a bit annoying, especially on a Sunday afternoon, but a “multi-sensory living nightmare” it is not. I worry I will be buying a one-way trip to kooky town with this guy with my first shipment of Soylent. This is what keeps me from giving it a try.

That and the fear of losing a basic part of what it means to be human. Food is a form of expression. The foods we like and dislike, way we procure food, the way we store it, prepare it, and even the way we talk about it is both unique and quite common. It’s one of the ways we connect with those around us. It is one of those basic things that reminds us all that we are more alike than we think.

So for now I choose eating my food the the old fashioned, inconvenient way.

You can learn more about Soylent at and check out Rhinehart’s blog at

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Red Pill, Blue Pill.”

Feet and Paws and a Good Patch of Grass

My puppy, Lola, loves to go outside. So even though I am tired, even though it’s hot out, and even though I am busy, I have to take her. If I don’t she will become an absolute terror in the house. She’ll find things to get into and she will run circles through the kitchen and jump all over the furniture. Taking her outside is better for everyone.

Despite that I am never really “in the mood” to take her outside. Like I said, I’m tired, it’s hot, and I have other things to do, but as soon as we get out there I can’t help but be cheered by her obvious happiness at being outdoors. Her tail is wagging, she’s panting and tugging at the leash. She wants to feel some grass under her paws!

Outside everything smells so good and the ground is littered with a million edible things. There are rabbits, and birds, and other dogs to run after and if she’s good I will let her run off leash in the tennis court or the grassy area behind it.

We go to the grassy area a lot.

Lola’s favorite thing in the whole world is the feel of grass.

When her paws hit grass she changes, she becomes confident and free. She becomes half-wild too. She tries to run and jump while still on leash and it can be hard to calm her down enough to unclip the leash. Once free she runs through the grass, she eats the grass, she digs it up, she rubs her face and, eventually, her whole body in it. It’s annoying sometimes but it’s also pretty cute.

I try to get her out in the grass at least once a day. I know she needs it and because she loves me so damn much and tries to be a good dog I figure it’s the least I can do. She deserves it.

One thing I have learned since having Lola is how to appreciate a good patch of grass. Her excitement gets me excited and next thing I know I’m running through the grass right along with her. She runs circles and figure eight’s around me while I try my best to catch her. I’ll throw a ball or a stick and the game turns into one of “keep away”.

Eventually she gets tired, especially if I mess up and forget to bring water (whoopsie). She’ll stop quickly and lay down, panting hard and looking like the happiest dog in the world. I always lay next to her, which is a pretty big deal because I am afraid of bugs. Then she rolls over for belly rubs. Once she’s rested enough we begin the running game again. We do this a few times before I start to get afraid she will get too comfortable off leash and run away.

One the walk back home and she is happy and content. and much more well behaved. I look at her and wish I could be so happy in life.

You see, dogs teach us to be happy with what we have, wherever we are. For them, gratitude is an instinct. I wish I could be content with nothing more then a patch of grass. I wish I was happy to run in circles and dig holes. I wish I didn’t need anything else. Then again maybe I don’t need more than that. Maybe I am the one complicating things. Maybe all we need to feel true happiness is nothing more than a cool patch of grass to run in.

Then again my dog eats her own puke, what does she know?


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Beneath Your Feet”

From Me to Me in Twenty Years

Dear me in Twenty Years,

I do not know you, but I guess you know me quite well.

I will become you in twenty years but one thing I have learned is that trying to picture or predict what the future will hold is futile. I never knew the me I would become now and I cannot fathom what your life must be like.  I have learned instead that I can only hope and I hope that my future is a happy and fulfilling place.

You are 50 now and that means your body is probably creaking and sagging in all kinds of places but I hope you don’t care. I always thought it was silly that older women spent so much time and energy applying creams to fight the breakdown of collagen and various hair dyes to fight the graying. I hope you have a ton of laugh lines and long gray hair. I hope you look in the mirror and see how beautiful age can make us.

I hope you still have your dreadlocks. I love my dreads now and can’t imagine having to cut them off. Please tell me that won’t happen! I also hope you have more tattoos. I have been saving my pennies to get more and I don’t want all that saving to come to nothing in the end.

I hope that you are healthy. I know you have always worried about what you eat and how little you exercise. I hope that somewhere in between the time I was me and the time I became you that we found a way to take care of ourselves better. I know you remember the nights we lay awake facing our mortality. I hope you aren’t still afraid.

I hope you are working for yourself, doing the things that you love. I hope you are writing and creating art which I know has always been your passion. If you aren’t

I hope you are still in love and that your relationship continues to flourish. Our love for a particularly special girl is what got us our of the darker times. I hope you are treating her well. Do not forget the lessons we learned the hard way in the past. If my hopes are misplaced, please, don’t tell me. I’d rather stay ignorant and blissful a little while longer.

I hope our family is well. Your niece and nephew would be all grown up now and our siblings will be getting older right along with you. I hope you see them every Sunday still. I hope they all turned out to be fine men and women with their own happy lives and happy families too.

I do imagine that in the time between me writing this and you reading that you have experienced many hardships and some devastating losses. I know that life is often harsh and at times quite cruel. I hope you have not forgotten that life can be beautiful too. I hope nothing has broken you. You are such a fragile creature at times. I also know you are strong when you need to be, you always have been.

Whatever is happening in your life, wherever I have ended up as you, I know that we did our best and I promise when I am you I will have no regrets.

I can’t wait to meet you one day, we will have much to discuss when I do.

– Love always,

You at 30

This is part two, can read part one here.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “From You to You.”

Original image via Caleb Roenigk

Ava Up Close

Everyone, meet Ava.

Ava, this is everyone.

I hope you aren’t squeamish about snakes. I promise you there is no need to be. Not with little Ava anyway. She’s not aggressive. Not if you are patient and slow with her and remember to not to force her or restrict her.

She only wants to explore the world around her. She’ll flick her tongue a lot. Taste-smelling the air looking for delicious rodents. If she happens to want to taste-smell your face it tickles ever so slightly like baby eyelashes on your cheeks.

She doesn’t feel slimy at all. She feels cool and smooth. She glides right over your skin and through your fingers. At first she is shy, she stays coiled and still but very quickly she relaxes. Then you will have to stay alert because she is quick! And if you lose her I will hurt you….

Don’t worry though. I’m here to help you with her.

Excuse me while I rattle off facts that you probably don’t care about.

  • She’s a Brazilian Rainbow Boa, they’re called that because the shape of their scales cause them to have a beautiful iridescent sheen
  • She requires high levels of humidity, which are hard to maintain in this dry Colorado air
  • She’s almost a year old now. She was born last August.
  • Boas give birth to live young rather than lay eggs.
  • I got her as a Christmas gift from my girlfriend but she couldn’t be shipped to me until last spring.
  • Yes, she was shipped to me, in a box.
  • No, I’m not crazy. Snakes are awesome, I promise!

Ava is just as much a part of my family as my dog and cat are. Her and my other snake, Delilah. They may not love me, or show me affection, but I have earned the trust of an animal that does not trust easily.

Sometimes that feels better than love given instinctually.

In response to The Daily Post photography prompt: Close Up

We All Need Help Sometimes, and That’s Okay!

Asking for help isn’t easy for most people. We all want to feel like we can do things on our own and asking for help makes us feel like we have failed. Asking for help means we aren’t independent, we aren’t smart, it means we are weak. At least that’s what we are taught. This is what society tells us.

I am here to tell you that is bullshit.

I have never had much trouble asking for help. I think any task can be made easier when the load is shared by many rather than one. On the flip-side I am always willing to help others too. I can’t ask for my load to be shared while being unwilling to help carry the load of those around me.

Imagine if everyone in the world felt free to ask for help and in return was willing to help others when asked. Think about how much less stressful life would be if there was always help available, all you had to do was ask?

We humans are not solitary creatures. We are meant to live in communities where the work is spread out among the entire group. We are a little like ants in a colony, working together to do more than any one person could on their own. Yes it comes with some sacrifice.

We lose our independence and part of our identity is wrapped up in the community. We open ourselves up to being exploited by selfish members of the group. We must follow the rules to keep our communities cohesive, even if we don’t agree with the rules.

I would argue that the benefits can outweigh the costs. If we would stop fighting our nature and just help one another without judgement life could be so much more enjoyable. Not only that but if we would learn to ask for, and accept, help from others in our communities.

Helping each other and accepting help in return builds connections and relationships. Connecting and building relationships feels better, and does more for our well-being, than pretending we are each an island unto ourselves. We are not meant to carry the heavy load of life all on our own. We are meant to share it, and walk lighter, and further, together.

Free writing in response to The Daily Post prompt, I Am a Rock.

Trading One Sense for Another

What if you could give up one of your senses for super sensitivity in another? Which would you choose to give up? Which would you choose to gain? I read this prompt from the Daily Post and I barely had to think, I immediately knew the answer.

I would easily give up my sense of smell in order to have a better sense of sight.

I feel like my sense of smell is pretty sensitive now. I often smell things before those around me and the smells are usually unpleasant. I smell skunks, and trash trucks, and my dog when she comes in from the rain, ugh. I smell the sewer back-up at work, other people’s body odors, and a co-worker’s bad breath. I hate smelling bad smells. I actually get angry about it, especially if the smell is coming from a person!

I would give that all up in a heart beat and never miss it at all. Well, there is one smell I would miss and I’m not even sure what it is. I smell it here when spring is turning into summer. I smell it on the light breeze and it’s gone before I can ask the person next to me if they smell it too. It’s a flower, I’m sure of that, but it smells very, very sweet. It is my very favorite smell and whenever I smell it I stop and take in as much as I can.

I have never been able to figure out what it is exactly, no one I have asked seems to know. I would miss the mystery as much as that sweet smell itself should I ever lose my sense of smell one day.

Oh but to gain more sensitivity in my sight would be amazing. For one I wouldn’t have to wear these stupid glasses anymore. Sure, they look good on me but I have always felt that they were never a full correction for my deficit in sight. Glasses give me a very close approximation of normal human sight, but it isn’t the same. Real eyes never get cloudy with fingerprints and hair product and they don’t get covered in minute  scratches over time.

My lenses are at their best the first day I get them, then it’s all downhill from there for another year or two until I get another pair.

More than that, I’d hope by giving up my sense of smell I could get even better that the average human sight. I’d like to see better than 20/20, I’d like to see the world the way cats or owls do. I’d like to see every detail of the world around me. I’d like to detect the smallest movements in the distance. I’d love to see better in the dark, almost as well as I do in the day.

I’d like to be able to see more colors too. I’d love to see into the ultraviolet range like butterflies do, or into the infrared like boa and pythons.* I bet the world would look so different, so much richer. The most beautiful flowers made even more interesting by the pattern on their petals that no human can see. There are probably a ton of bugs and animals that glow bright in the UV spectrum. Can you image what they might look like at night?

So yeah, to give up my sense of smell for a better sense of sight is an easy-peasy choice to make. I wouldn’t have to deal with things that stink and I would gain a whole world of light that I have never experienced before.

Image by Allan-Hermann Pool (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons