My Secret Crush


Double Dare, Part II
This December I found myself on the dance floor of a New Years house party, covered in sweat, surrounded by others, who were proportionately sweaty, doing a combination dancing, and shouting out lyrics to classic songs.
During the song “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen, I bumped into a writer friend, Maria Mcleod.  “Ready Freddy!” she shouted, “Freddy! That was the name of my secret crush!”  This comment got my attention.  I too had a secret crush in school.   She shared her story, I shared her mine.  We each had a long lasting crush on someone for years, never told anyone. 
The Challenge
“I dare you to blog about your crush.  To tell the world that you loved that guy all those years!” I shouted over the music.  She agreed to the challenge.  Please read her story posted here:

So, in keeping with good form, here is my story:

I Crush Bobby F.

Sometime around 6th grade my eyes and heart found Bobby F.  He was perfect in my mind, the perfect guy; average height, great smile, dreamy blue, intelligent eyes, dark blond curly hair. He had a sweet laugh and was liked by everyone, although he didn’t belong to any specific cliques. I crushed him for over six years, from when I was about 12-18 years old, and never told ANYONE, ’till now.
I crushed him big time! He was perfect. I simply did not have the guts to talk to him. When we passed each other in the hallway at school Bobby’s profile glowed, he body captured the rays of the sun!  He was a cool breeze on a hot day, a tall glass of water quenching my thirst.  He was just so… so… oh my god, so, totally cute! 
In 10th grade I sat two chairs away from him in History. TWO. I loved it.  I loved being so close to my crush.  He was practically a man now.  His muscles filled in his polo shirt, and Levis, his checkered Vans properly scuffed.  Distraction does not describe my feelings!  Perhaps, if I touched him there would be a spark, and he would forever be in my life, like magic! I didn’t want to reach out. I wanted him to notice me, to touch me, to ask me out, to ask me to prom.  He never did. 
Federal Way Stadium
Federal Way Mirror News, photo
I played fullback on the High School soccer team.  The first High School girls team in the history of the Federal Way School District.  Once, during a rainy night game, Bobby came to watch with some friends.  When I saw him in the bleachers I freaked, “What’s HE doing here?  Oh my god, Bobby is here.  Does he have a secret crush on me and is here to see me?  Perhaps if I stand out in the game, make an awesome move, he’ll ask me out.” My mind raced to find reason.  
We were playing against Thomas Jefferson; those little b#%ch’s with blond pony tails, our biggest rivals. TJ Raiders versus Federal Way Eagles.
The game was close and heated.  Second half, a Federal Way run towards Thomas Jefferson’s goal turned bad.  Suddenly, a long pass to the TJ  forward I was guarding, placed the two of us head to head just on the Eagles side of the center line.  The forward faked me out with a quick move, and then took off toward our goal. FW fullbacks had previously moved up to support the momentum. The play was well outside the penalty box; I had plenty of time, if I could get to her. 

Federal Way Eagles, I am #6
Feeling Bobby’s eyes on my every step I turned quickly, running in overdrive, focused on the ball and the TJ forward’s feet.  I knew where I was on the field; I could see our goalie getting in position. In my peripheral vision, just to my left, our center fullback was coming in for support, but it was my move, that girl was in my zone

The TJ forward didn’t see me coming from behind, the gap between us closing… then she did it.  She made the mistake I look for.  It was a gift from the Soccer Gods and Venus herself.  Being the little stuck-up, as I knew she was, she assumed I was still at mid field, where she left me.  She thought she had the time to kick the ball just a little out, to position it for a strong kick at our goal.  I was one step away, the ball in the perfect place with my stride, -whooosh… SLIDE TACKLE!  NO CARD! 
She tripped over my feet, sliding belly first across wet turf.  For a few minutes, I heard cheering and wondered if one of them was Bobby.  “Did he see me?  Will he say something to me in History tomorrow?“, I asked myself.
…I wish
Bobby never noticed me.  I was just another student who walked the halls.  
My imagination, made him out to be more and more unattainable, and more desirable.  My feelings for Bobby slowly became like a special dessert hidden at the back of the freezer waiting for a guest that never arrives, or that bottle of champagne, set aside for a special moment, that never pops open. Anticipation at it’s worse.
I dated other guys, none from my school.  Mostly losers, like, the notorious dude from Auburn who picked me up for an AC/DC concert in a stolen car.  
Early summer, in our last year of High School, I realized Bobby and I would never be together.  I had more fun dreaming about our relationship than I had the guts to say “Hi” to him. It was time to let him go… well a little bit anyways.

Bobby turned into something surreal.  A mystery man, wanderer, the Authentic Stranger, a traveler among the stars, or an extra-terrestrial appearing suddenly, during a full-moon night, in order to initiate me into strange love games. A fantasy of a young woman.  

In my mind, my memories, I edit the moments.
We are young, meeting in a field sun shines on his golden locks,
he walks towards me and simply says “Hi”.
He touches me.
Then we kiss.
Off in the distance the sound of a champagne “pop” confirms,
my guest has finally arrived.
Perfect. 
In 8th grade this is how I imagined our first kiss to be like,
except with different hair.

***

Christmas Card 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 
from the 
SPLaws staff
Shannon, Brad, Vin, Chris, and Robert
L-R: Chris Pine, Brad Pitt, Shannon Laws,
Robert Downey Jr, Vin Diesel
Here, at the SPLaws offices, we had a slight change of staff since 2012. Abe retired and Tom, who has been with us since 2011, disappeared into another timeline. Both will be missed dearly and we wish them well. Thankfully Chris Pine has stepped in to fill the shoes of two people, no less.  In addition to being a great dancer, his research skills are out of this world!  He shows great promise in producing extraordinary work for 2014.
When I was growing up, my mom would type up a Christmas letter to friends and family.  A Christmas letter is like the families year in review designed to update distant relatives on the years accomplishments.  In that tradition I have composed a letter about the 2013 highlights for SPLaws, Inc.  It has been another electric year!
Read it, or don’t, perhaps you treat them like fruit cake.  Either way thanks for stopping by and helping to get our visitor numbers pass 30k this year! Please leave a comment, and keep it real for 2014.
Shannon Laws
President
SPLaws, Chickadee Productions
Bellingham, Washington USA

***

SPLaws Christmas LetterThis year I did not find much in the way of PAID jobs, but with the extra time on my hands my volunteer work excelled.  I was paid in love and new life experiences.  If only I could take it to the bank I’d be a millionaire!  Here are some highlights -with photos- from 2013:

BOOK RELEASE

My book on the shelf
at Village Books

In January 2013 I released my first poetry book “Madrona Grove: Poems Written Under the Canopy”, Chickadee Productions, available at Village Books, Bellingham.  The book includes my original poems from 2010-2012.  During these two years I was divorced, reborn in my writing, moved off San Juan Island and was embraced by the city of Bellingham.  The poems are a real document to a personal journey I shall never forget.

my new writers photo

BELLINGHAM HERLAD ARTICLE
In July, MARGARET BIKMAN from the Bellingham Herald interviewed me to promote my book reading.

“Shannon P. Laws was born in Seattle and raised in Federal Way, where, she says, “as a teenager I learned that when a guy from Auburn asks you out on a date, he will most likely pick you up in a stolen car.” 

Jared and I at a joint book
reading event on SJI

In May I traveled with retired actor, novelist and children’s book author Jared McVay for a book reading on San Juan Island, and shared some poems at the Big Rock Garden Party for Mother’s Day.

 
Group photo of guest speakers
at the Tagore Festival
 
September I appeared as a guest speaker at the Tagore Festival in Richmond, British Columbia.  
A yearly event to honor India’s poet 
Rabindranath Tagore, (May 1861- Aug. 1941)  
I will be the waves and you will be a strange shore.
I shall roll on and on and on, and break upon your lap with
laughter. 
“Squabbling Ravens”
VBPG Signature photo
courtesy of SJI artist Dona Reed

HOSTING VBPG
Village Books Poetry Group, 29 members strong, continued to meet bi-monthly at the independent book store in Fairhaven this year. It is a group I enjoy tremendously.  Many of our regulars are folks who are sharing their poetry for the first time. VBPG is a diverse group from many different cultural and professional backgrounds, linked together with our love for words.

Dave at the start of
Downtown Sounds,
beer garden side, of course

DOWNTOWN SOUNDS/KMRE

I am a volunteer DJ at Spark Radio, KMRE 102.3.  The station is an extension of the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, at 1312 Bay Street, in downtown Bellingham.  Dave the K (The Rockin’ Surfer) and I were the on-air host’s for the cities Downtown Sounds.  The free concert, food, beer garden and street entertainment event is held on Bay Street for five Wednesday evenings in a row, July-August.  Great fun!

Jon Winter and I at SPARK

NEW AMERICANA
The 13 radio programs I produced in 2013 “New Americana” developed a large following.  Brent, the station manager, has approved it for a full season, 26 shows, in 2014.  I co-host the show with the museum’s co-founder, Jonathan Winter, a real gem of Bellingham and a pleasure to work with.  The talk/music show brings in a local guest, usually a musician, who shares the top five songs that have influenced their life. You can hear the 2013 podcast of the show here:

Casey Sulkin, retired DJ and
jazz club owner, I co-hosted
with Casey on his jazz show
“The Swing Shift” for a
few months

Bellingham’s Fast Five, or BFF, rotating features on KMRE, debuted this summer.  I created the concept to provide more attention to our New Americana guest by producing a five minute musical promo.  Local musician and well loved hamster, Bert Monroe, worked with me as voice talent on these informative features.

POETIC MOMENTS
This is an end of the year project for me.  There are so many wonderful poets in Bellingham.  I want to share them with the world! Poetic Moments are short features, under 2 minutes in length, that started to rotate on KMRE 102.3 in December.  My goal was to record 60 poems.  Over 25 poets came out to donate their words, and 93 poems were recorded!  More poems will be added in February, 2014.  Catch a taste of these amazing poets here:



FAIRHAVEN ART BLOCK
In September Carla and I, representing the Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater, had the privilege of working with the Bellingham Repertory Dance group, the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, and Lucia Douglas Art Gallery on a group project. We organized the street festival Fairhaven Art Block party, or FAB.   This event was designed to share the artist community of Fairhaven with it’s residences.  Folks were encouraged to walk from the art gallery to the Firehouse, just a block over, along a path littered with poets reading live poetry for any passersby.  Music and dance intermingled with the guests.  It will return for 2014.

Poets for Peace l/r Carla, Betty,
C.J. and good friend Denise


November worked with three local poets to organize and launch the first POETS FOR PEACE Read-In Write-On International poetry event, held in Bellingham’s South Hill neighborhood. Poets from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. shared poems about peace from 2-8:30 p.m., ’till the last poet spoke. The event was a great success! Plans for another in 2014 is in the works.

What a fun year.  My mom asked me a few months ago, over coffee of course, how I got into poetry.  It was hard for me to answer her at the time, had to think about it a bit.  I love writing short stories, blogging and working on my novels. However, poetry, I find, is much like gardening. When I use to have dirt to dig in, I would flower garden.  A few hours a week, or month depending on the year, of work produced immediate gratification = a clean and beautiful yard.  Poetry is quick work, one or two pages, and once edited and polished, gives me a great deal of satisfaction, like freshly cut tulips in a crystal vase on my kitchen table.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”
~Helen Keller 
***
Wars on Kinkade series by
Jeff Bennett

Time for Ham

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

2013 marks the fifth anniversary of my blog “Madrona Grove”.  In a moment of reflection I found much to be thankful for, and did not need to look far to find faces of many good friends who have blessed my personal timeline.  Life is a journey, always better with company.  So to follow a MG tradition I’m posting my Ham blog.  Posted every holiday for about four years now, this little TRUE story shows up bringing with it a reminder of how important tradition is, but that knowing WHY we do what we do is just as important as the performance.

The boys, oh, I mean the SPLaws office staff, and I are working on our Christmas video card that will post here soon.  Please keep an eye out for it.  Until then keep warm, be happy… and leave the ends ON!  ~SPL

*****

OK, true story:

One holiday four generations of family are all gathered together in the youngest daughter’s new home for a rare time together. This is her first time hosting a family dinner. Her mom is helping her with the ham.

The daughter plops the large ham into its pan and asks the mom, “OK what do we do next?”
“Well,” answered the mom, “first thing we need to do is cut off the ends of the ham, just the sides about 2 inches worth.”
“Why?”, asks the daughter.
“I don’t know, but my mom always did it, and her ham’s turn out great every time.”

They call the girls grandma in, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends of the ham before cooking?”

“Gosh, I don’t know why. Never thought of it. MY mother always cut the ends off, so that’s how I’ve always done it. How funny.”

The three ladies quickly walk out to the living room to find the girl’s great-grandmother sitting and talking with family.
“G.G. I have a question for you. Why do you cut the ends of the ham off?”

“Well, I don’t know why YOU cut the ends of the ham off, but I had to cut the ends off or it wouldn’t fit into my oven!”

Lesson:
It’s good to know WHY you do what you do, 
so that you don’t waste any ham.
Happy Christmas! 
***

Star Berries

Oscar Wilde said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”  The day before New Year’s 2013 my eyes are everywhere but the stars.  I feel like I’m in the gutter.  I am one of an estimated two million in the U.S. whose emergency unemployment benefits ended December 29th.  Now, when I was laid off from my job last March, the company gave us an official 30 days notice.  My government, however, gave folks two weeks’ notice, two weeks before Christmas, that the payments may end 12/29/12*.  On New Year Night, millions waited to see what the Congress and Senate would pull out of their ass on the eleventh hour.  It was time for a walk.

I walked down the hill toward the creek, but on this day I yearned for a new adventure.  Turning right I headed for Whatcom Falls, round trip journey is just under four miles.  The wind was light that morning and carried the scent of snow from the foothills twenty miles east.  Overcast clouds, bounce white light around the barren branches in the woods of deciduous trees that hug the walk; the bark black-wet and silent.  Deciduous means “Falling off at maturity”.  I think on this for a while.  Perhaps maturity means accepting the seasonal changes life rotates through our world, even the ugly ones.
Crows caw at Seagulls as the two families compete for stale bread thrown into the road.  The first hill rises up ahead of me; my mouth opens to take in more air as the legs dig into the incline.  Passing an old white Ford truck, parked on the curb, a waft of “dirty engine” blows across the nose.  I take the history into the lungs and carry it with me across Woburn Street.  The trails trick me as they wind aroundpass a brook that I could hear, but not see.  Oh you little spell spinner, I think.
Suddenly I find myself at the foot of a cemetery hill facing 60 or so tombstones.  This cemetery is known for its weeping angels and walking ghosts.  In the mind’s eye the dead are ghosting about enjoying the day; some sitting on their stones, resting, others socializing.  My presence startles them; their heads turn to look at what has stumbled in.  For a moment we stare at each other; the living are among the dead!  Respectfully I bow and greet them a “Good morning” then leave quickly.  Conversations with ghosts only encourage them to follow you.  I have enough ghosts.
Turning around to correct my path I cross over that tricky stream.  Winter’s debris has it covered in a blanket of “hush”, but water is only silenced by Jack’s frozen finger.
Cell phone photo of my Snowberry bushes

Pass a large Cedar, and the black chain link fence that divides the Jewish dead from Christian, there are Snowberry bushes.  Hanging heavy with their poisonous fruit on the thinnest of twigs, they droop over in a random pattern like stars.  The branches so thin, if you squint your eyes just so, the wood disappears and all you see are white dots.  In a local Native tongue the name for these berries translates to “food of the dead”,  How appropriate for these then to row up against the Bayview Cemetery fence.

Being a child of the Northwest I know not to eat white berries.  The berries do not scare me.  Today, on this day, I see them as stars.  The trail is empty as I stand surrounded by a Snowberry universe.  For a moment I float.  I am an astronaut floating outside my craft.  Floating like a leaf that navigates gently down a river, unaware of its direction or the dangers of rapids.  The leaf floats where the water takes it, the water goes where all water goes, home to the ocean.  I float.
I float…
Common Snowberry (S. albus) is an important winter food source for quail, pheasant, and grouse, but is considered poisonous to humans. The berries contain the isoquinoline alkaloid chelidonine, as well as other alkaloids. Ingesting the berries causes mild symptoms of vomiting, dizziness, and slight sedation in children. 
Interesting information here regarding NW plants:
http://www.americanprogress.org
*Under the most recent extension, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, emergency unemployment benefits will expire at the end of 2012. If Congress does not act to extend benefits, more than 2 million Americans will lose federal unemployment insurance just after Christmas with another 900,000 estimated to lose their benefits in the first three months of 2013.