June 22, 2011

Ho Chi Minh Anew: A Poem

Posted in Travel, Writing tagged , , at 7:51 PM by moxiemuse

NOTE: This is a poem I wrote in 2000 about my 1994 trip to Vietnam. I thought I’d post it here for others to enjoy.


At the end of the descent

The passengers leaned near

Windows, eyeing the old tarmac

It awaits them, with history unclear


The soldiers with wives

Lucky, having support close at hand

Alone, the widowers stared down

Clutching armrests, unsupported and unwilling to stand


Came through the customs gate

Scarred and scared, yet curious

Paused just long enough

Passport cleared without legs buckling under


Fraught, the trip was long

Hotel transfer then it’s over

Chance to get their bearings strong

Or feeling overwhelmed, running for cover


Sights and sounds, different yet the same

The thoughts coursing through

The past, many moments of danger

No longer filtered, bad dreams so true


The bus winds slowly southward

Roads full of bumps, in pavement and in mind

Flashes of rice fields and innocent pointed hats

Skies alight at night, returning fire in kind


Stumbling forth out the door, sunshine beams

The streets are full, normal business all around

How short it seems, not long ago

When they were here, war ruled every inch of ground


Familiar words, familiar food

Amazing how it all comes back

There were some days of good

New-found treasures before mass attack


Intact families, rare in number

Rarely seen, exploring the country

Which abounds in beauty and bounty

Fighting armies put asunder


Now old men view anew

This place not forgotten

Lands destroyed, people ruined

A cause gone rotten


The draft had arrived offering little choice

In response to the military’s call

Brave in the face of family, were we

Waving goodbye, standing tall


Off to foreign soil, where youth was lost

Our training was no preparation

Deployed into malaria-infested jungles and swamps

Forced to fight without trepidation


Where were the rulers?

To spare the unnecessary waste

While dying men soldiered on

Commanders shouting, make haste


The whirring speed of grenades in flight

Dropping near, the destruction in sight

Bullets raining from the sky

In fright, whole villages scurry by


Today, the veterans see

Tanks and jeeps and artillery strewn

On the passing roadways and

Across blood-soaked farmlands in ruin


Affronted by the newness

Yet, bewildered by the strange sameness

They have come to have one last look

Old dreams are dying, withering with age

Now, forging only good memories for their mind’s book

Of friends and foe alike

Finding peace and tranquility

With the grace and wisdom of a sage.



June 21, 2011

My foray into increased wellness

Posted in Fitness, Food, Healing at 11:26 PM by moxiemuse

Monday, June 20th, Jason and I are embarking on a new wellness program called The Metabolic Effect. I’m going to use this platform to blog about our progress. Gasp! I’ve gone public and there’s no turning back. Just as well that we have all of our friends and family keeping us accountable.

So why now and why this?

Well, because it is time we move the dial on our fitness/weight loss goals. As for why this program, our trainer, Jill Crippen, had good personal and client success by following this program. In her infinite wisdom and sincere desire to see us succeed with our goals, Jill suggested we try it to crank our wellness up a notch 😉

In late March, I thought I’d ease into it by first reading the book, The New ME Diet: Eat More, Workout Less, and Actually Lose Weight While You Rest. I liked what I read and knew that it was something I wanted to try in a few months when my life settled down a bit.

The program seemed doable and I like doable 🙂 The authors (and brothers) Jade and Keoni Teta offer a practical approach to unlocking fat-burning hormones and revving up my metabolism. What’s not to like about that?!

When Jill told us about a Groupon.com deal for $39 for the 10 week online program, we jumped at the chance and bought two packages just in the nick of time before the offer expired. Phew!

Here’s the scoop:

In addition to an in-person, in-studio program in North Carolina, the company offers an online self-paced, and email based body change and coaching program. It is designed to determine the key areas of our metabolism that must be supported to burn fat more efficiently. Also, it screens brain chemistry with in-depth questionnaires to pinpoint our imbalances and eliminate some of the traditional challenges with willpower that we might encounter during a lifestyle change.

We’ll also be given instructions on the exercise protocols required to accelerate fat burning and improve muscle tone and body shape. These workouts are supplied via an Internet portal where we can see the workouts and then do them at home or have Jill help us incorporate them into our workouts with her twice a week.

The strength of the program lies in the coaching component. We’ll interact continuously with the Metabolic Effect staff throughout the process. We’ll receive daily emails and weekly audio lectures that cover everything we could ever hope to know about fat loss and the new fat loss lifestyle we’ve signed up for this summer. These lectures focus on diet and exercise, but also cover lifestyle and belief.

As an added benefit, we’ll be able to interact with other participants on a forum where we can ask questions of the ME staff and each other to help us learn through shared experiences.

Finally, this program is meant to deliver results, and is not a quick fix or crash diet. Instead, the program will teach us the new science of fat loss and helps us learn, practice, and master sustainable habits to last long after the 10 weeks are over.

We’re excited about embarking on this adventure together. Follow along, track our progress, send us encouragement, and help us meet our new wellness goals! Stay tuned for updates weekly as we learn and grow (smaller).

A moving tale with perfectly timed twists and turns

Posted in Books, Writing tagged at 5:22 PM by moxiemuse

Book cover, The Violets of March, by Sarah Jio

Last week, we stayed overnight at The Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla (where Jason attended college). Walla Walla is a favorite spot for us and the last stop on our recent 3400 mile road trip to the Southwest on our iron steeds. I was so looking forward to some downtime—reading outdoors in the warm sun, sipping a good Mocha Frappuccino, feasting on a scrumptious dinner out, and of course, imbibing from a delectable selection of local wines.

The afternoon I arrived, with Starbucks in hand, I wandered over to The Book & Game Company, my favorite independent bookstore in town. On the local authors shelf, I spotted the book, The Violets of March, and when I saw that the story took place on Bainbridge, one of my favorite local islands, I had to add it to my reading stack. I just finished reading it this morning after my workout. Fortunately, I had my big sunglasses on so other coffeeshop patrons couldn’t see the big blobs forming in my eyes as I headed out to my car. Few novels have that effect and I just had to capture what the experience of reading this book had on me.

The story, and the way it opened up, developed, and lingered, was just beautiful. As a reader, it touched my heart so. It was easy to see how it was written from the heart, the author sharing what she knows and loves. Many a page made me either sigh out loud as the hints of a new love unfolded or had me biting my lip in anticipation for the next revelation in the unwinding of old secrets. Sarah Jio’s writing inspires me to continue to put my heart and soul in writing what I know and love.

Job well done, Sarah, and here’s hoping The Bungalow is a smashing success.

P.S.  While I haven’t had my share of wood violets appear at random in my garden, I am a big fan of gathering them to concoct some wild violet vinegar.