Literally Leah

sharing is caring, so I obviously care a lot.

Remaining Worldly and Finding my Quill… August 1, 2011

Filed under: Identity,reality television — The Under-Analyst @ 2:49 pm
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Remember when I used to write?  I’ve been pondering this the past few days.  Why don’t I write anymore?  I can’t remember the last time I blogged (unless you count my Cat News blog… yeah, it exists). Was it lack of inspiration?  As I sit here now I find nostalgia has created false memories of me bent over a dark wooden desk, quill in hand, feverishly writing, refusing food or drink until collapsing in the wee hours of the night.  Okay, that’s not really what happened, I guess what’s more accurate is that I’d write at work (sshhh) or in bed at night.  With a significant other in the picture I haven’t been doing much, ahem, writing at night.  And besides I’m glued to the damn television wondering who idiot Ashley is going to pick (JP or Ben!?).  Just like anything in life I guess I simply need to make the time for it. 

But the real reason behind my need to tap the keys today is that I just discovered an amazing website.  I’m sensitive.  I know from some of my entries you wouldn’t come to that conclusion, but I am.  My roommate happens to work for a local news station and therefore I find myself submerged in America’s latest.  I feel slightly more worldly and intelligent as a result.  But I also find myself scared to take my laundry down outside in the night.  Did I lock the door?  Is someone following me?  Will I be stabbed or even worse will they steal my quarters!? 

Introducing the best news website EVER:

A concerned mom wanted her 7 year old daughter to be caught up on the news but was afraid some of the content was too “raw” for her.  She created htekidsnews.  Little did she know that she was creating the perfect news source for ME, a 27 year old school receptionist who loves cats!! MEOW.

Below is just a sample of the wonderful news they share with me and my playground friends:

 Should Dogs Wear Seat Belts?



July 15, 2011 — Seeing a dog sticking his head out the car window enjoying the sights and smells on a sunny day is super cute, but is it safe?
Increasingly, many are saying it’s not…



 Well isn’t that food for thought.  If you find yourself itching to read the whole story just go to their website. 

I’ll write more soon.  After I find out who Ashley picks tonight on the Bachelorette!


Saving Private Ryan March 16, 2011

Filed under: Identity,Spirituality,Uncategorized — The Under-Analyst @ 11:29 am
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So this morning as I was sudding up my damaged locks (I need a haircut SUPER bad) I turned around and saw a relatively large black ant fighting his way up the side of my outdated light-blue tub.  Immediately I said outloud,

“ohhh noooo, poor little guy!  Find higher ground, you can do it.” 

I watched him closely and carefully, applauding his efforts and wincing with every setback. I was entranced with this little guy’s own Oregon Trail adventure.  At one point I was incapable of monitoring my insect friend when banishing yesterday’s makeup with eyes closed.  After I was done splashing my face I turned around and was horrified to see my new bathroom neighbor thrashing about in the bottom of the tub in a tidal wave of water and soap. 

“Nooooooo!”  I screamed as I dove down, craddling his body in my two hands.  For a brief second I prayed that he wasn’t a biting ant but then resumed my rescue efforts.  I looked around me, desperately trying to find the right place to lay him out, but every surface was wet.  I blew on his limp body and then saw my towel that was half hazardly thrown over the side of my sliding shower doors.

I quickly put my hand over the green fluffy Costco special and watched him drag his body onto the dry and soft surface.  He laid there for a while, catching his breath.  And then he started exploring the new terrain.  I was relieved to see all of his limbs were intact and still functional. 

But then I realized I needed that big towel.  I was wet and now cold after turning off the water.  The ant and I would have to share it, easy enough. 

I reached for the corner closest to me and began to pat my arm.  I needed more towel and the ant was coming closer to me. “Noo, go the other way!  You’re taking up the whole thing.  You need to learn how to share! I just saved your life! UGH”  I decided I needed to exit the shower and use the half dangling over the other side. I patted myself off as best I could and threw on my yellow robe. 

 “A towel is not an ideal home sweetie.  I’ve got just the place for you!  I bet you’re hungry.” 

I reached out my pruned palms to let him climb on but after he smelled me with his little antlers he ran the other way.  I assumed he associated my hands with dying in the great lake of my tub, but it still hurt my feelings. So I went and grabbed a kleenex and coaxed him on that.  I jogged naked into the kitchen and set him down on our less than clean floor next to the garbage.  “There you go! Feast away buddy.  You’re safe now.” 

I finished getting ready for work with a big smile on my face and got into my car.  I was a hero.  A regular Mother Teresa! 

I rolled the window down to let the fresh Los Angeles morning air in.  At the stop light as I was turning the Ryan Seacrest morning show up louder a gnat came flying into my face.  Immediately I wacked it, looked at its lifeless body in my hand, muttered, “eewww” and then wiped it on the side of my driver’s seat. 

The irony of this morning didn’t occur to me until I reached work. 

Lucky ant, Unlucky gnat.


Little Leah is Not Native American… March 8, 2011

Filed under: Children's Books,Identity — The Under-Analyst @ 2:44 pm
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2011, Hello to a Better Me! (fingers crossed) January 6, 2011

Filed under: Fail,Identity — The Under-Analyst @ 5:14 pm
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Happy New Year!

Wow, time flies, has it really been 11 years since our Y2K scare?  Is it already time to confront last year’s lack of follow through?  Do I have to make more resolutions?  The pressure!

This year I took a moment to silently reflect on my Ghost of Resolutions Past.  As I sat, dully looking out my apartment window, I first became aware of my annual disillusionments of somehow becoming a new and better person.  No, I would not become an early riser and no I wouldn’t stop needlessly judging people.  Had I been setting my New Year goals at an altitude far beyond my reach? I pictured myself, a lean and tan rockclimber, without a crotch-harness, stretching for the next jagged rock ledge and falling to my death. What support had I asked for or provided myself with along the way?  I kept my resolutions a secret between me and my diary and anyone who would listen. It’s quite the let down that written pages do not keep you accountable, umm besides legal documents used in court.   Discouraged I still would not subscribe to the notion that resolutions weren’t worth making.  I still had hope that maybe this year it’d be different.  I decided to do some research, an arsenal of facts to guide this year’s optimistic objectives.

I discovered;

A)      I had a history of making highly unattainable resolutions:

1996, “I will meet J.T.T. and he’ll fall in love with me!” – FAIL

1999, “I will grow boobs!” – FAIL

2001, “I will not get grounded all year!”- FAIL

2004, “I’ll study harder and get better grades!” – FAIL

2006, “I’ll drink less and stop spending so much money on going out!” – FAIL

2008, “I’ll become fluent in Spanish!” – FAIL

Last year’s resolution was “I will get published!”  Considering I didn’t really write anything I’d say that was a fail, unless you count the fact that some obscure online magazine in Belgium published one of my blogs! 

B)      Wikipedia states, “ Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, and those who succeed have 5 traits in common.[3] Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.”[

Well clearly I knew what I had to do.  Create realistic goals and find someone to help keep me accountable.  By writing this blog I have already enlisted readers in aiding my quest to be a better person in 2011. Now it was time to come up with a resolution.  But how to choose!?  I began my list… and then it dawned on me, like cuddly kittens maybe the more goals the merrier!  I’d make a list of 15 resolutions and only have to actually fulfill 5! And every one after that would just be evidence of how amazing I truly am in 2011!  This would be the best year of resolutions ever!

This 2011 I will:

1)      Help the animals at my local shelter

2)      Read more

3)      Send my niece and nephew more cards/post cards/letters/things

4)      Meet and befriend a true Native American

5)      Take a writing class

6)      Go to yoga at least once a week (vacations excluded)

7)      See more foreign films

8)      Make more money (U.S. Currency)

9)      Travel somewhere new

10)   Do my laundry before running out of clean underwear (this should be someone else’s resolution too, you know who you are!)

11)   Get to know my neighbors

12)   Drink more water

13)   Pay parking tickets on time

14)   Complete the 30 day shred!

15)   Go to the dentist

Feel free to share your resolutions with me… I will be your harness.


A Chance Meeting… some time ago. September 14, 2010

Filed under: Identity,Thailand — The Under-Analyst @ 11:29 am
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The Starbucks barista smiles at me with dark green eyes.  His nametag reads Luke.  There is something about our morning exchange that leaves me feeling unsettled.  These moments, fleeting, provide momentary glimpses of past events.  And then I remember.

A Chance Meeting:

I arrive at the airport.  I am nearly drunk.  I was on my third glass of wine when he called to tell me to book a flight to Bangkok.  I packed so fast I couldn’t remember what I even had in my suitcase next to me.  I was excited.  Excited to see Thailand.  Excited to see him?  At that point I can’t be certain, things were strained.  It’s a sad moment when you realize things aren’t meant to be.  I can remember it vividly in our case;

I was walking on the beach, alone.  It was cold that morning but I still put my feet in the ocean’s small tide.  I looked below me as the water and sand buried my toes.  There it was.  The most beautiful seashell.  I knelt down to grab it and my first thought was to give it to him.  I’d tell him that I had been thinking of him and of our love when I chanced upon this.  And that’s when I realized he would never spot a beautiful seashell.  Nor would he ever think to gift it to me.  I wept as I walked back, careful to avoid strangers’ glances.  When I came home I wrote to him;

I found love in the sand today, small, beautiful, perfect.  I immediately wanted to give it to you.  But after some time I decided that it’s mine. 

Because I give everything to you.

My everything. 

So just this one time I’m keeping something for myself.

And so I am in line for Thai Airlines, tipsily smiling at the clerk in the blue blazer.  I hand him my passport and he retrieves my itinerary.  I find myself amidst Asians in a boarding gate.  I have always loved Asians, their language, their food, their smiles.  I’m wearing a tight dress with brown boots and I see a man staring at me.  I avoid his gaze and call my mom to tell her I’m flying to Thailand tonight.  She isn’t surprised but sighs and asks me to be careful and to say hi to him.  He’s flying from Tokyo to meet me.  I haven’t seen him in a month, not since we spent that week together in Madrid.

A man, the only white man, is wearing a striped button down shirt and jeans.  He’s cute, early 30’s.  I smile at him and walk over.  I sit beside him but do not talk.  He finally clears his throat and asks why I am going to Thailand.  I say, “why not?”  This pleases him and he asks if I am a model.  I laugh and shake my head no.  I can’t tell if he is trying to flatter me or just wondering why I am traveling alone without a backpack or Lonely Planet guidebook.  He reaches across the plastic stationary chairs and introduces himself with a firm handshake.  “I’m Luke.”  I tell him my name.  The plane is boarding and I am happy because I do not feel like answering any more questions.  I pass him in first class as I walk back to the commoner’s section.  He grasps my arm and tells me to come visit if I’m bored.  I politely remove my wrist from his grasp and tell him likewise.

The flight isn’t even close to being full and I find myself in an empty row.  It’s 9:30 at night and I order a glass of red to keep my buzz going.  I’m thinking about him and what it will be like when we see each other.  Will we run into open arms, kisses and hugs?  Will I look at him and wish I hadn’t come?  Maybe everything will be normal again… except it never was normal, how could it be. How has a year gone by?  He tells me I am naïve, maybe.  I tell him I’m an optimist.  I think he’s waiting for me to give up on him.  I think I am waiting for that too.  I’m still thinking these things when I feel someone standing over me.  It’s Luke.  He slides into the seat next to me and tells the stewardess to grab two more glasses of wine.  I look at the time, it’s 11:30.

His eyes are dark green.  He tells me he lives in Bangkok.  He was in LA visiting family.  I tell him I’ve just moved to LA only a few months ago.  He asks me where I’ve moved from and I tell him.  He loves Barcelona and wants to visit again.  I miss Spain and so I listen to him sing her praises.  I am always in awe of what words people use to describe things I feel strongly about.  I repeat these words and wonder if I’d ever use them.  Sometimes I quietly remember to borrow them for future descriptions, inevitably failing when the next opportunity arises. We drink our wine and discuss the difficulties of living so far from home, wherever that is.  He smells good, like Old Spice, and I find myself leaning closer as we exchange favorite authors.  He tells me that he’s been living in Thailand for seven years.  That’s a long time and I think back to who I was seven years ago, someone different, someone unchanged.  And then I ask him if he has a girlfriend there.  My head is on his shoulder now and I can feel it tense as he says that he does.  She is Thai and has an eleven-year old son.  I politely remove my head from his shoulder and he looks sad.  He asks me if I have a boyfriend.  I hesitate.  Why?  I tell him yes and then I look at him and tell him no.  He stares, puzzled.  And I tell him about the seashell.  He nods as if he knows, but how can anyone possibly understand unless they are me!?  He guesses that he is a business man.  I give him affirmation with lowered brows.  And suddenly I feel more intimacy, more realness, in this one conversation with a stranger than I have in my relationship for the past four months. We talk until 3am.  It’s a seventeen hour flight and so far the time is going by quickly, easy.  The cabin lights are dim, creating an almost dreamlike effect as our wine and conversation take hold.  Finally I sense we are dangerously approaching a moment when a line will be crossed.  I want him to hold me, but I am still another’s and will not be without integrity.  I tell him I’m tired, and I am. He understands and excuses himself to walk back to his seat.  I sleep.

When I awake we still have many hours before landing.  I sip a coffee and try to distract myself with a movie.  I journal.  I wonder if he’ll come back.  But I don’t want to think about Luke now, I want to think about him. 

We land and I walk through customs alone.  How many times will I go through customs alone?  I’m not bothered, simply amused. I decide I prefer to travel alone, it allows me to take things in without distraction. I get to the baggage area and I see Luke up to the left.  I stay put.  His shirt is now crumpled, un-tucked and his dark brown hair is matted in the back.  His luggage comes and I see him pulling it towards me.  I pretend not to notice as I search for my suitcase.  He hands me a card with his handwritten number on it.  He tells me to please be safe and to call him if I need anything.  I thank him, take the card and say goodbye.  We do not hug but I sense he wants to.  I turn around.  And he walks back to me.  He awkwardly holds me, just for a moment, and tells me “good luck.” As he walks away I wonder if he’ll remember this.  And later when he holds me I think of Luke and the seashell…and I know


Rambles on a Tuesday December 1, 2009

Filed under: Identity,Recreational Activity — The Under-Analyst @ 1:06 pm
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I pick up a copy of “Pen on Fire, a busy woman’s guide to igniting the writer within.”  Well, this book isn’t for me now is it!  Where is the book titled, “Mac book on fire, a lazy too-much-time-on-her-hands woman’s guide to igniting the writer within?

 “This is crap,” I announce to my mother as she is steeped over the stove.  I am skimming the first chapter of the book and I read aloud the following inspirational paragraph:

 “Spectators don’t win fights and the one fighting technique I have not seen fail yet is to just keep getting up.  People shouldn’t be discouraged, because they can go from everybody saying that they would never be published and all of a sudden the wall’s down, not from any one punch but from the accumulated weight of all the punches…”

“I’m not a puncher!” I say out loud.

My mother clicks her tongue and smiles at me, “No fancy, you’re not.  You’re more like a whiner.”

“Maybe I’m a slapper,” I venture.

“No, sweetie.  You’d be like this, ‘Heeeey, there’s a wall here.  Not fair! Shit. Stupid wall.  Nooooo. Hhhmm what’s on tv?” 

We both laugh.  “Face it baby girl, we’re giver uppers.”

As I sigh and smile up at her I am frustrated.  Why can’t I be a puncher? 

It was only a week ago that I lay on the small couch, feet dangling over the edge, watching Barbra Streisand Live in Concert on a Saturday night with my mom and her husband.  As I watched the band accompany her I was suddenly reminded of my days as first chair flute in eighth grade. 

“I could have been a professional fluter,” I declare to no one in particular.  And this gets me thinking about all of the things I could have done but didn’t.  Is there still hope?  At what point do dreams become past time shouldas and not future maybes?

I am comforted by the fact that writing is ageless without an expiration date.  Maybe I will find the discipline I need inside of my mature years?  Or maybe I simply need to learn how to be a puncher.


7 weeks and counting… November 18, 2009

Filed under: Identity,Jobs,Travel — The Under-Analyst @ 1:36 pm
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I tried, I really did. But this whole back to school Masters thing is just going to have to a) be put on hold or b) enter the discard pile. It was a responsible and logical step at the time but after hours of studying, cold Minnesota nights in my basement room and that little glitch of a break up, I have redirected my near future to be a tad more me-friendly.  

Monkeys, big trees, poverty stricken children and equator-like climate?  Maybe I’ll like these things?  I guess I’ll find out in seven weeks.  I’m moving to Costa Rica in January.  I will be “working” (for free room and board) at the Sarapiqui Conserve Learning Center in the lowlands of the Rainforest. The six surrounding communities have elementary schools with poor english education and no high schools.  Most of them do not attend school past the sixth grade.  Because tourism is a very large working sector for the Ticos, (as they affectionately refer to themselves) English curriculum is important for their future career opportunities.  I will be leading classes for both students and the parents of students along with creating curriculum to be used for other teachers.  

the center is in the La Selva region.



While helping children is definitely a plus I am more excited to learn about the booming industry of eco-tourism. The Center hosts groups and individuals that come through to learn about the culture (through dance, cooking classes, story telling…) and then help with a community project (planting trees, restoring churches, making sidewalks…).  I am thinking I want to branch into that industry, but I will have to find out if I like it first!

It feels good to have travel on the life itinerary again.  Now it is simply time to save up as much money as I can until take off. My nana came over today with a stack of books from the library with titles such as, “Exploring Costa Rica,” and “Living Abroad in Costa Rica.”  Finally something to study that won’t bore me to tears.