Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tell Me How You Really Feel: 22

I will always be short. That's how I was born. I'm adult, and aside from growing outward, which could happen, I will not be growing upward. I am okay with being short. My body parts are all relatively healthy.

My husband and kids are also short. Yes, Tim is only 5'6". Since he's 44, he won't be growing upward any time soon, either. The girls, identical twins, are short. They aren't short because they are twins. They are short because they are the byproduct of short parents. This happens sometimes. We don't have too many rogue tall genes in the family. But we have plenty of short genes. Grandma Meade and Aunt Tara, in particular, are shorter than me. We're short. That's life.

Why am I telling you this? Because I am tired of people pointing out my lack of height as a deficit or a flaw. I can reach all of my cabinets, so who cares if I'm short? I'm also tired of listening to people go on and on about how small the girls are, or comparing their kids to mine in terms of height. We are who we are, and in terms of how tall we are, there's very little we can do about it.

So the next time you decide to say to me, "Oh my gosh. The girls are so much smaller than my child," or "My kid towers over Aaron," I want you to think about what you're saying. You would (hopefully) never come up and say, "Oh my gosh. The girls are so much brighter than my child," nor would you say, "My kid is way more brilliant than Aaron." Because just like stature, we can't do all that much about changing the brain we're born with.

That's all, folks. Just had to get that one off my chest for this week.(And it's been a LONG time since we've had one of these posts.)

**I know that brains can be worked with, and that much of what I CAN do today is because I work hard. So yes, there is something we can do with the brain we're given. But I certainly can't swap my brain for Tim's, which on some days, sounds like a great idea. (On other days, not so much.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Where I Am

One year ago...
It hurt to walk, much less run.
I had trouble leaning over to empty the dishwasher.
Pain radiated through my pelvis and down my legs.
I felt as though my bones would crack.

One year ago...
I wondered what went wrong.
I wasn't sure I'd be able to sit without pain.
I thought my running days were over.

But this past Monday...
I ran one of my old short loops.
I went down the hill, around the bend, and up an even steeper hill.
When I was done, nothing hurt.
Even after running 30 minutes.

So I ask myself some questions...
Am I back for the long haul?
Will my body cooperate?
Can I see myself, in a few months, running as long as I once did?
And most importantly, do I even want to try?

Monday, September 28, 2015

She Knows

He calls her more often now, asking to come for a visit. To stay for a few days and then go home. For years, she's been trying to get him--them, really--to visit for a weekend. To see their granddaughter and spend time with the girl before she's grown, or they're gone.

"Time flies," she says to them.

"We have so many things to do," they reply.

Now, time has flown but times have also changed. And instead of being too busy to drive the hour to go see her and the girl, he realizes the potential that sits 66 miles to the east. He sees her for what she is at this moment: an escape from the monotony of his life.

For if he goes to see them, he can be lifted from a life chock full of the same stories over and over, from the never ending chase against time. If we visit, he thinks, someone else can do the cooking. If we visit, he thinks, someone else can talk to my wife. If we visit, he thinks, I can hold a conversation with a lucid adult. If we visit, I don't have to acknowledge that we should be moving soon. If we visit, I can pretend that the Alzheimer's diagnosis never happened. If we visit...

She can think of any number of ways to end that sentence, all of them revolving around how she is helping him to deal with the mundane tasks that come with being a caregiver. And because it is the right thing to do, she says, "Yes, we're around. Come on over anytime."

In her own mind, though, she thinks it's a shame that it took her mom's diagnosis and his role as caregiver to make him want to come see her and the girl. To an outsider, their actions seem innocuous--simply two grandparents making their way to see their daughter and granddaughter. Sadly, she knows the real reason. She knows.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Day in Pictures

I'll let you make up your own story based on these pictures, taken within the span of about one day. I'm truly not certain why some of them were actually taken, which means I did not play the part of photographer for them all. Do with them what you will.

Friday, September 25, 2015


She found herself at the stoplight yesterday almost in tears. She can't really tell you why. The temperature was mild, the kids had gotten off to school okay, and her husband had made it back from his business trip all in one piece. She'd had a decent night's sleep and almost all of a cup of coffee. Everything should have been all right.

And yet, it wasn't.

Putting a hand to her forehead to feel if she was warm--because maybe a rogue fever was the cause of her errant behavior--she looked to her left. She was immediately taken in by the sun, whose light peeked over the top of the Shell gas station sign. She squinted, almost missing the man who walked across the street in front of her car. She looked once at him. He looked at her. He tipped his ball cap at her and smiled.

The simple gesture was enough to get her day back on track. She managed a wobbly smile, and shot it in the direction of the man, then proceeded to the grocery store, as was her habit each Tuesday morning. As she tossed produce and dairy into her basket, more concerned with the price of lettuce than the reason she'd cried at the stoplight, she began to feel better. Lighter. More at peace.

It wasn't until she made her way to the checkout line that the gravity of the situation floored her. For in front of her stood an  older woman she'd seen before. The one who reminded her of her mother for some reason or another. The one who, unlike her mother, remained cognizant and lucid, able to speak in full sentences and hold a conversation. The woman who had held her babies when she unloaded her grocery cart all those years ago, despite the fact that they were strangers, and offered broad smiles that lit up her day in the midst of dark November mornings. Very much like her mother, but not. A surrogate mother, perhaps.

So she found herself almost in tears, again, thinking about what could have been and what never would be with respect to her own mom. And instead of loading her own groceries onto the conveyor bed, she mumbled her apologies to the store workers, pushed her cart to the side, and ran out the door.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lyric Lover, III

My good friend--and loyal reader--Barbara (otherwise known as Loyal Reader from the North, or LRN) sent me a lovely message yesterday informing me of Ed Sheeran's song, Afire Love. "Whenever I hear this song," she wrote, "it reminds me of you and your parents."

Well Barbara, I would agree with you. I've included the lyrics below, but hopefully the link to the video will work just as well. (By the way, there's no visual with the video, but you can hear how these lovely words turned into auditory art by Ed if you listen. If you want to see Ed perform an acoustic version, you can go here.)

Thanks, Barbara, for making my job easy today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Way back when I first moved to Ohio, I met a woman I'll call Olive. We run in the same circles, but we've never been friends, per se. Over the years, she's contacted me when she's needed me: asking questions about kids, schools, or jobs. I remember a couple of times, she called to find out if I could watch her child for an hour or so because she had an appointment. Of course I said yes. I always said yes. I think she knew that I would; that's why she asked me.

The other day, while I was trolling (my favorite) Word Porn site, I found the statement below.

I realized two things after reading it. 1. While I don't expect to be given anything, relationships are usually reciprocal, and this woman has never given anything to me in return; and 2.  When I see this woman and I say, "How are you?" she replies with a simple, "Good." And then, keeps walking.

As I said, I wouldn't consider her a friend. And now I know that I probably never will.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Kitty Cuteness, XI

Melina and I went grocery shopping on Saturday afternoon. While I was unloading the groceries from their bags, Arnold took it upon himself to get comfortable. He was so cute, I had to document his cuteness from multiple angles/poses.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Character Sketch

My writing group informed me the other night that my character, Theo, needed to be fleshed out. He's not a POV character, but he's an integral part to one of my stories. The ladies only told me what I had already suspected, but I'm so glad they did. Their support and guidance have forced me to really look at Theo and come up with a character sketch for him. I think this sketch should help me move forward on writing some scenes and filling in backstory. (Some of you know Theo already. This sketch might help you know him even better, too.)

Theo is...
A 40-year-old male.
About 6 feet tall.
An anesthesiologist.
A sports fanatic.
A man his colleagues go to for answers.
A skilled archer.
A lover of nature and the outdoors.
A horrible communicator.
A wiseass.
A lovable father.

He has...
Thick, dark brown hair.
Greenish eyes.
Strong but wiry arms.
Long legs.
A straight nose.
Clear, olive skin.
A tight back end.
A confidence in himself that other people envy.

He believes...
That women can do anything as well as men can, if they're both trained for the job.
That his wife shouldn't be the breadwinner of the household.
That his children are the best kids in all the world.
That he would have had another child had his wife said it was okay.
That he is attractive and intelligent.
That abortion is a woman's choice.
That miracles do not exist.
That science cannot solve everything.

He doesn't believe...
In God or any other higher power.
That his wife is truly unhappy.
That he isn't the most attentive husband there is.
That he is wrong.
That his wife would intentionally hurt him.

He doesn't always see...
That his wife is overworked.
That the kids need more of his time.
The arrogance that threads through his words.
The reality of the situation.
The goodness in other people.
What needs to be done around the house.

He fears...
That global warming is a reality and life as we know it will cease to exist.
That earwigs will enter his home in droves and the bacteria in public restrooms.
That something will happen to his wife or the kids.
That he will not be able to care for his family.
That his wife does not love him.
That he is dying.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Well Hello There!

Some Sundays, you just need a good laugh. Thanks to Jimmy Fallon, we have one for this morning. (By the way, yesterday was Jimmy Fallon's birthday! So sorry to have missed it, man!)

Just in case you're younger than I am (this song was released in 1984!), here's the original video from Lionel Richie.

And, I can't take credit for this funniness. People magazine jumped on the bandwagon before I did. So, I guess I'm just a poseur.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Just for kicks, I watched the Lionel Richie video again (I hadn't this morning when I posted it) and was reminded how creepy the video is. Talk about inappropriate teacher conduct toward a student. And like any good person these days, I looked up "Lionel Richie Hello teacher student" online. I found this link, which I think you should visit.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another Day!

"Another day." The words left her mouth slowly, as if it took every ounce of energy to produce four measly syllables, and a scowl filled her face. I understood what she meant: mustering the wherewithal to come in and teach to students who didn't appreciate you and put no effort into understanding material was a tough task to accomplish.

"Another day!" I repeated, a smile in my words and one my face, a spring in my step.

She turned toward me, paused for a moment. I'm not sure what thoughts whirled through her brain in that one moment, but I know it didn't take long for her to understand what I meant. That as hard as it was to put one foot in front of the other, she'd been given that opportunity again.

"Another day," she whispered before giving me a thumbs up. "Another day."

Friday, September 18, 2015


Life can be hysterical sometimes. 

(Insert maniacal laughter here.)

I was looking around the blog the other day and found this post from May 15, aptly titled Summer Hopes. (Sure, go ahead and laugh again, FRN.) That date is the day before Mom and Dad came out for the girls' recital and ended up going home, after a trip to the ER here in Ohio. It's the day before Dad fell once he was back in Michigan. It's the day before a certain chain of events was set off by Dad falling. Dare I say it's the day before my summer took a turn for the worse?

I especially like this quote from that post: But this year, I'm armed. The girls are 13, Aaron is 10, and Melina will turn 7 in July. Not only do they have the maturity to be more helpful, but they have the strength. Which means five people getting things done around here should give us more time to do the fun things, like visiting metroparks, pools, and museums, or perhaps just sitting outside having a picnic. Our hours can be filled with more things to stimulate the mind than to make us bored, or at least that is the hope. And of course, I'm being selfish, too. I hope that I have a little more time to sit and write.

(Insert another round of maniacal laughter here.)

 Metroparks? Pools? Museums? Time to sit and write? Oh, that's right. I had so many plans back in May. Plans that didn't include being a caregiver, didn't include driving back and forth to Michigan too many times to count, didn't include the roller-coaster of emotions my folks have put my sisters and me through. Plans, shmans. We all know that life has other plans for us, right?

(Last round of laughter, I swear. Put it right here.)

If you get a chance, go back and read that post. (That's why I linked to it. Smart girl, aren't I?) And then laugh with me again. Because...

P.S. I want everyone to know that I would help out my folks again, even knowing that they won't listen to anything I have to say. Family first, right?

Thursday, September 17, 2015


I made the mistake the other day of mentioning to my dad that the kids did not enjoy going to Sunday school. The comment slipped out of my mouth before I could think better of the decision, but the moment the comment left, I wanted to pull the words right back in. I had no intention of starting a conversation on religion. Thankfully, something at his house grabbed his attention and we said a quick good-bye.

A few hours later, the phone rang.

"Hey Chris," Dad said. "Why don't the kids like going to Sunday school?"

I didn't laugh right then, but I could have. It seems as though Dad has a bee in his bonnet about religion as of late, and maybe he always has. He was raised Catholic; he raised his three girls Catholic. His kids are not necessarily raising their kids with the same level of Catholicism as he'd like. A few days prior to this conversation, he'd asked me if Tara would "ever come back to the church." That day, I did laugh out loud.

I went on to tell Dad why the kids didn't like Sunday school. A plethora of reasons exist, none of which I'm going to go into here. Because those reasons aren't the point of this post. The point is, that as I stood in my living room talking to my dad on the phone, defining why my kids didn't like Sunday school, another more important thought ran through my head. I wondered why he was so concerned about my kids keeping up with Catholicism or Tara coming back to it when he has a situation at home that really needs his attention? I kept coming back to that thought, even after we'd hung up for the second time.

Maybe he needs to worry about something other than my mom. Maybe thinking about me and my kids or Tara and her non-church self helps distract him from what's staring him in the face--that his wife has Alzheimer's, she's deteriorating daily, and he's going to need help soon. Maybe he thinks that since his children aren't as church-going as he is, that we're keeping the miracle that he believes will happen from happening. I don't know, but I'm willing to bet that last possibility is the reason for his fixation.

Sadly, much like everything else in my parents' life over the last couple of years, maybe even decades, I think--and this is just my opinion, from my very own perspective--that his outlook is a bit misguided.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Getting There

A thought popped into my mind the other day as I was pulling laundry out of the dryer, that every job I've ever had, I've either studied long and hard to do the job, i.e. spent five years in graduate school so I could teach those whippersnappers A&P, or I've had enough of a background to get hired, but then I gathered on-the-job training. In fact, the only job I didn't have training for was being a parent. You're just thrown into that job with very little background (babysitting counts, but not so much, really). Parenting is an extreme case of on-the-job training, right?

All of this thinking about jobs made me kick myself in the rear end, at least metaphorically. Despite the fact that I've been writing since I was young, I never majored in English, Literature, or Creative Writing; I never edited more than the high school newspaper (that is, until Literary Mama); I never enrolled in advanced writing courses at the college level. I've been picking my way through writing with the help of my writing group and some wonderful local writing courses, but to be honest, most of my writing education has been by trial and error and much perusing of online resources. And I didn't start this journey until 2012. Three years I've been at this. Only three years.

So why did I think, if it took me five years of graduate school to be able to stand in front of a class and do what I do, or over a decade to be the mother that I am, that I should be able to write a book and publish it in very little time? Am I that arrogant? I don't think so. I'm just that impatient. And I've spoken about that impatience before.

My plan? To stick with the writing life for the long haul, regardless of where I go and how long it takes me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Damn Good Cookies

Do you ever feel like the bananas in your house are against you? I do. Even though we love bananas and we eat a lot of bananas, we always have some in the freezer, waiting to find new life as banana bread, cake, or cookies. The other day, I was tired of my same old recipes and thought I'd look for something new. And, I had three very ripe bananas staring at me from my counter top. Find something worthy, they said. Something so rich and so fine, we'll be happy to be a part of it.

And boy, did I.

These are called Banana Oatmeal Cookies (you'll notice the link says moist and chewy, but due to an aversion to one of those words by several of my faithful readers, I decided to cut those two words out of the title). But me? I'm going to call them Damn Good Cookies, because they are. Even without chocolate or nuts, these are, by far, one of my favorite cookies. In fact, these are so good (maybe it's the butter?) that I will, for the meantime, allow a bit more sugar into my life. 

True fact: after I made and tasted these cookies, I couldn't stop talking about them. Aaron wandered into the kitchen at one point with a pained look on his face. He wasn't sure what my problem was as I waxed poetic about cookies. I even tried to figure out who I could call and talk about these cookies with, but the timing was all wrong. So if you make these cookies and like them as much as I do (don't worry I won't despise you if you don't), feel free to call me.


3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I added more than this)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp cornstarch
3 cups old fashioned oats (I only had 2 1/4 cups of oatmeal, so I put in 3/4 cup of Rice Krispies as filler. Kid you not!)

1. Mix together butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and mashed bananas until everything is well combined.

2. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves and cornstarch and mix again until combined.
3. Stir in oats (and Rice Krispies, if necessary).
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Spoon tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper (or not). Flatten dough with a spoon, into thick discs. The cookies will spread when baked.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges just start to become golden.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes. Move to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy! (If you can't manage to snag one of these right out of the oven, take a bit of time to pop one in the microwave for a few seconds. The warmth is worth it!)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Five

I'm using these images this morning to start the week off on the right foot. Hope they help you, too. (I especially like that last image. I find myself struggling with the Negative Committee quite often.)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Toilet Time

"I wish I could do this all day."  Melina's big hazel eyes peered up at me as she sat on the toilet.

"What? Sit there?" I said.

"Yep. All day." She leaned back against the porcelain and spread her arms as far as they could go. A slow smile crept across her face. She had the time to sit, and so she would.

Most people say that Melina is a mini-me, but in that moment, I found out exactly how she is just like her father.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

All the Best

We tell ourselves we're nuts. We tell ourselves we love what we're doing. We tell ourselves we cannot live without writing and that the rejections no longer hurt. But every rejection does hurt, no matter how kind the words might be...

Thanks so much for sending your chapters and for offering me the chance to consider your material. Unfortunately, your project doesn't seem right for me. Since it's crucial that you find an agent who will represent you to the best of his or her ability, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to step aside rather than ask to represent your manuscript.

Had she stopped there, I would have felt less hurt by her rejection. But instead, she rubbed salt into the wound...

You have a great imagination - I love the premise - and you're a good writer, but I'm sad to say that I just wasn't passionate enough about this to ask to see more. I wish I could offer constructive suggestions, but I thought the dialogue was fine, the characters well-crafted, and the plot well-conceived. I think it's the kind of thing that really is subjective - why some people adore the book on the top of the NYTimes bestseller list, and others don't.

She's right. I know the business is subjective. The number of poorly-written published books I find on my nightstand proves it...

Just to reiterate, another agent and publisher will probably feel differently. I certainly encourage you to continue to seek representation elsewhere (I'm afraid, though, that I cannot recommend someone), and thank you again for the opportunity to take this on.

She must have had someone ask for a recommendation. I'd never do that. I appreciate her words, I appreciate the encouragement. I'm not sure I'm up to the task right now, to keep going on this journey...

All the best, P.

Yes, all the best. Sometimes I feel as though this writing life has taken all the best out of me.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Lyric Lover, II

I'm convinced that if I had any singing voice, I'd spend the moments when I'm alone in song. As it is, I hum--a lot--and I find myself so wrapped up in songs at times, that I reach for a piece of paper to remember the words. Because as I've said before, I love lyrics.

I don't care what you think of the following song or of the lyrics. I simply want to point out the two places within the song that make me think. In my case, thinking leads to writing. Thinking also leads to reflecting. And since reflecting sometimes leads to writing, too, it's become very clear to me that other people's lyrics are very good writing prompts. 

From Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew MacMahon in the Wilderness

Through all the things my eyes have seen
The best by far is you

For all the things my hands have held
The best by far is you

As it turns out, my girls have fantastic voices, although few people know it. And as scary as identical twins can be, they harmonize without trying. The day I heard them singing this song, I almost cried. I'm not kidding. While I cannot snap their version up, if you want to see the official video, here it is. I think the visuals hold some nice writing prompts, too.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Learning and Growing

And yesterday's learning involved mental health. That's right, you would have thought that I had tagged along with FRN yesterday, but I didn't. I was, in fact, right here in my local elementary school.

Yes, a half day subbing in a third grade classroom isn't so easy when you have a child who is categorized as oppositional defiant. Not sure what that means? I didn't either, but being pretty good with the English language, AND having seen this kid in action, I was pretty sure exactly what it meant. However, I still wanted to look the term up. According to WebMD, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is "a condition in which a child displays an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, hostile, and annoying behavior toward people in authority. The child's behavior often disrupts the child's normal daily activities, including activities within the family and at school."

Was the child hostile? Yep. How about uncooperative? Yessir. Did the child's behavior disrupt his normal activities? Oh yeah. He effectively disrupted his own activities and those of 23 other people, that's how ODD this child was. (I read that sentence again, and it seems not quite I'm mocking his diagnosis, but I'm not. Really.)

I'm not complaining about my day yesterday. Each and every experience I have, especially while teaching and subbing, opens my eyes to just how different we all are and how blessed I am to have more simple issues here at home.

I hope for the best for that little guy I saw yesterday and I hope when I see him a week from Friday, when I'm back in the classroom, he remembers that I tried my best to help him. He holds the potential for something wonderful, I'm sure. And if anyone can help his wonderful-ness rise to the top, it's the teacher I subbed for.

I'm already set to sub for that teacher at least once a month the rest of the year. The opportunity will allow me time to get to know this child. I'll be honest--I'm not daunted. I'm actually looking forward to watching him grow. Maybe I'll do some growing of my own this year.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Looking Up

"Um, excuse me. When will you be done with our grades?" The young man with the short blond hair stood before me, a look of concern on his face.

"I have to get the tests to the scantron machine and hope that the machine works. So assuming it does, I will have your actual grades in hand shortly. However, I need to look the exams over. So about 1 p.m. I think." I looked at the clock, which read 11:15 a.m. on the dot. My estimate should work.

The boy plunged ahead. "Okay, and then you'll email me?"

I laughed. I certainly had better things to do than to remember his name and email him his grade. "No, but if I don't have the grades in the grade book by then, you can email me. I put the responsibility on the student." I straightened some papers on the desk in front of me. "Are you worried about your grade?"

The boy shifted from one foot to the other. "I'm a little neurotic. Some of the answers I knew, and others, I just had to guess. I'm not sure how I did."

"I guess we'll see," I said as I erased the white board. He nodded his head and left the room.

I had just given my first exam and I was hoping for the best. But as usual, I was also bracing for the worst. Not one single email asking for an explanation had trickled in over the weekend. I didn't believe that everyone understood everything I said. I simply had to trust that the students had studied hard.

So did they study hard?

I was shocked to find out that the mean for this exam was a 72. Now, I did toss two questions and I'd already given the answer to a third, so I gave away six points to each student. But even so, that mean was far better than the means I've seen the last few semesters. I smiled as I saved the grades and sat back in the chair. Perhaps life at the college is looking up these days.

(And by the way, the poor kid didn't do all that well. He received a 62. But that's not so far off the mark he can't redeem himself later.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kitty Cuteness, X

After a long weekend, who doesn't want to just snuggle up with some kitties? I know I do, but I have to work today. So while I'm sitting back and watching my students take their first exam, I'll pull these pictures up and think about how, in a few hours, I can be there with my kitties.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Five-hundred dollars.

What would you do with $500? What could you do with $500? I'm not sure what I would do with the money. It's a nice sum, but it's not really all that much anymore. Of course, that number can buy a significant amount of groceries for us. Or pay part of Aaron's soccer fee, half of Shadow's surgery, and many, many scoops of ice cream.

It can also place Dad and Mom on the wait list for an independent living cottage here near us.

That's it--$500.

I know what you're thinking. Dad might not be ready to put down $500 because he's not quite ready to move. I know this to be true. Which is why I checked on the policy. If he puts the $500 down he is placed on the wait list (as I just said). And it usually takes two to four months for a cottage to open up. If he's still not ready when they tell him a cottage is open, he just has to say "I'm not ready." And then? AND THEN, he's NOT dropped to the bottom of the list. He stays put at the top of that wait list so that when the next cottage opens? They ask him if he wants it.

What does that mean? A small sum like $500 can hold onto a place for Mom and Dad so that if the shit hits the fan--and it will, my friends, it will--they have somewhere to go. And I'll tell you--$500 isn't so much that a retiree who worked his whole life to have money in the bank will miss it.

Best of all worlds, right? It's a no-brainer, if you ask me.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Different Perspective

I look at the rumpled piece of paper
and toss it into the recycling bin.
That's not just paper, Mommy.
That's my melted snowball.
It can't go into the bin, you know.
She brings it back inside,
and sets it on the counter,
along with the hundreds of other papers
that for some reason
(or another)
do not belong in the recycling bin.
I try to put myself in her place.
I tie my shoes on--
one of wonder, the other of awe--
and I imagine.
The blue construction paper before me
becomes the waves up at Walloon Lake.
The faded piece of cereal box
transforms into a garden in the spring,
before the planting has been completed
before the season's harvest has been fulfilled.
I rifle through the stack of papers,
seeing something new
something amazing,
with each sheet.
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, I think.
And I wonder how much I've been missing
because I haven't considered a different perspective.
I smile as I realize that once again,
I've learned a life lesson from my child.
How lucky am I. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Random Thoughts

With my schedule so busy right now, I've had very little time to do any writing. But I have still have plenty of time to think (thank goodness). So I'm writing my thoughts down. Some are based on fact, others simply fiction. But perhaps, someday, something will come of them:

She drifted out of my life casually, slowly, like the tide sneaks out; unlike the tide, she won't be back.

The scuffle on the other end of the line made me wonder what is really happening over at their house and whether or not they really can sweep all of the dirt under the carpet.

I never made it to her funeral, and but she never quite made it to my life.

Fear is a very funny companion.

She always wondered if her superpower was connected to the length of her hair, but she didn't have time to test out her theory. Now, thanks to the Nair Incident, she'll finally discover the truth.

I thought I'd seen it all by way of someone asking for help. But then, the postings went up. Not only did she have a GoFundMe site for a new pontoon boat, but she also had one for her upcoming labor and delivery. The real kicker? If her insurance company foots the bill for the delivery, all donations will be used to buy items off her baby registry. Maybe the pontoon boat is actually a part of the registry.

I scooped out the chunks of chicken and rice from the bottom of the dog food can and threw it into the dog's bowl, noticing that for the third time that week, the dog was eating better than any of us.

She doesn't pretend to know exactly what he's going through, but if he would simply let her in, just once, she's confident she could help him. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lyric Lover

Part of the reason I love music is that I love lyrics. Taylor Swift, whether you like her music or not, is a talented lyric writer. (Don't believe me, Google some of her lyrics.) I'm sure my attention to lyrics has to do with my penchant for writing, but I have no way of proving it. One of the songs I've been fixated on lately is Photograph, by Ed Sheeran. Why? I have my theories, but I'm not sure I'm right. Either way, you can listen to the lyrics for yourself below. Anything strike a chord with you?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


You'd think someone who loves to write as much as I do would be able to come up with some piece of eloquent writing for my 15th anniversary. Yet here I am, sitting in front of the computer, furiously checking email before getting ready to sub for the day. And that's the way the day will go. I'll work. Tim will work. We'll pass each other at some point, plant a peck on each other's cheeks, and fall into bed, separately, after a long day. I'm tired just thinking about what this day will bring, so nary a lovely thought springs to mind. So I'll just say this: The last 15 years have been interesting and fun, and that's more than can be said for the approximately 25 years I lived before I met Tim. And, I'd say yes to him all over again.

I love you, Timmy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


"It wasn't meant to be," Davy said, as I regaled him of the story of Vivian and me. He'd come by to grab lunch. We hadn't seen each other much over the summer. I pretty much worked the whole day, played sports, and spent time with Vivian. And he'd taken a class before heading off to see his Dad, in Norway. A few texts and emails had been exchanged, but I hadn't told Davy everything.
"I pushed too hard, I think. I wanted Vivian to be someone she wasn't." I plunged the straw into my Coke.
"Isn't that what you said about Cecilia? You wanted her to be someone else?"
Was it? "No, no. that's not fair. You're telling me I have a problem, and I don't really think I do. Cecilia...she was different. I spent far more time with her. I knew her. I was attracted to her for very different reasons than why I was attracted to Vivian."
"Are, Daniel. You are attracted to her."
"Whatever." I took a bite of my burger. If I had food in my mouth, perhaps Davy would stop asking questions.
"Okay, I can see you don't feel like hashing this out."
"No, I don't. I have better things to do, you know. I think I'm giving up girls entirely. At least for a while." I threw my napkin on the table. I really did have better things to do. Like think about graduation and what I wanted to do with my life.
"I'd love to see you do that, Daniel. Give up girls. Ha!" He shook salt onto his fries and slathered them with ketchup. "But I gotta know. Did you at least tap her?" His eyes twinkled and a grin spread across his face.
"Really? Davey. I'm not surprised that came out of your mouth, but I am surprised why it bothers me. Vivian was a nice girl. We had a good time. Some of the time."
"But with legs like was she?"
"You're not going to let this rest, are you?" I said and glared at him. He dared me to answer. Maybe I should play with him a bit, but I couldn't summon the energy. "No, we didn't get that far. Not much more than some fumbling arms and legs. Seemed like she always wanted to go out in a group, come to think of it." Why hadn't I noticed that detail before?
"Well there you have it. She just wasn't that into you."
"Thank you, oh wise one. Or should I say wise ass? I don't think I was that into her, either. Because right now, I'm not sure I care that I won't see her again."
Davy's hand tapped the table. "Oh, but you will. She signed on for next fall, to work at the library."
My head whipped up to look at him. "How do you know this?"
Davy shifted in his seat and his eyes danced around the room, landing on everything except my face. I saw his adam's apple bob up and down. "She texted me."
"She texted you? I might not have been that into her, but what the hell?" Who does that to a friend?
A thought occurred to me. "You like her, don't you?"
"Does she like you?"
I didn't know what to say. It really didn't matter to me. Davy could have her. Vivian and I had had our fun. "Then go forth and prosper. And invite me to the wedding."
"Aw shit, Daniel. Really? Did you have to go that far?"
"Yes, Davy, I did."