Friday, March 31, 2017

A New Plan

I've had a great time putting together blog posts everyday for these first three months of 2017. And I do believe I said I'd blog each and every day for the entire 2017 year. But I have realized that by blogging each day, I'm not finding the time to revise my work, nor am I finding time to edit other people's work. Both of those scenarios NEED to happen in order for my work to grow.

So here's the new plan. Starting tomorrow, April 1, I'll post a couple of times a week, and I'll keep up the Scenes from My Week post, since I enjoy collecting those photos as a way to keep memories in tact. Once I figure out what days work best for me, I'll try to let you faithful  readers know that posting schedule.

FRN, I know you'll be disappointed, but I also know you'll understand.

And maybe (just maybe), if I spend a bit more time on my actual writing, I'll eventually be able to tell you that I 1. found an agent, or 2. made the decision to self-publish. (I'm still waffling on that decision.)

In the meantime, to my happy place I will go . . .

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Need Be

Momma always told me to get a good education.

"LilyAnn," she chimed. "Don't do what I did. I've got nothing but your papa, and y'll know he's questionable at times. What if you don't find that with someone? A decent relationship? With that unbelievable head of yours—" And here she'd point the stained wooden spoon or threadbare dust rag she had tethered to her hand in my direction, "—you should be able to get a good, proper, and useful education. That Bachelor's degree, heck, maybe even a fancy Master's or MBA. So you'll be able to support yourself if need be. Cause sometimes, the need be."

I listened to Momma every time her beautiful pink lips released those words into the muggy Georgia air, strung together like her own personal mantra. I wondered if someone had said "the need be" to her at one time in her life and the truth was that she just hadn't taken that phrase to heart.

I tucked the thought into the back of my mind and made my way forward, pushing through the sticks and stones of elementary school, the pitfalls of middle school, and then the full-blown landmines that seemed to go along with high school in a small southern town. Somehow, my incredible head always got me past the obstacles that cropped up along the way. And when I was 16 (far too young, I can see now), with that unbelievable head of mine, I found myself a scholarship and enrolled full-time in college.

My head and all the rest of me spent four years getting a "good, proper, and useful" education, and by 20, I was to be a college graduate, ready to embark on the world, eager to find my place and make something of myself.

But as I look down at the mass of students gathered in the stadium, I'm worried. The sun glints off the metal seats and I find myself moving my hand to shield my eyes so that I can attempt to hone in on Momma and Papa among the multitude of families who fan themselves with the commencement program. I glance to the right, where two fellow graduates chirp and whistle to one another, their long highlighted hair spilling down their slender backs, their feet encased in four-inch heels. The only part of them that looks like me is the gown they wear, silky and soft, it drapes over their bodies in a way that I wish it would hang over mine.

Alas, the gown can't manage such behavior against my overly warm and bloated body. The velvety smoothness of the cloth starts out in the correct direction, lying over my heaving bosom in a wash of fabric, but then, it finds the huge bump of my belly, the mountain that cannot be contained beneath my graduation gown, the mound that is right now being pummeled from the inside by a tiny life I helped create.

I realize with a start that I have gotten the wrong kind of "good, proper, and useful" education. And now, Lord Almighty, the need be.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bleary Eyes

I'm sitting here in front of my computer, a little bleary-eyed, because in my haste to get downstairs this morning before the whining of the cat drove me to reach for alcohol instead of my coffee, I grabbed Aaron's glasses. His eyes are slightly worse than mine, but not by much, I now realize. So I'm going to try and work with the specs because if I go back upstairs to find my own, one animal or another will likely follow me, cause a scene (much like toddlers do), and then the child who coughed her way through last night will be woken up far too early. Ah, what we do for our children.

What good can come from me wearing someone else's glasses? I'll  tell you what: I found a new frame.

Any of you who wear glasses know how hard it is to find the right frame for your face. I had a pair of glasses that I loved so much I bought the frame in red and black and then alternated getting new lenses in each of those frames when I needed a new prescription. Last year, though, our optician said,"Uh, you need new frames. I've been filling these frames since you've been coming here." She told me that gently, but inside, I cringed. I loved those frames. What could I find to replace them?

I decided to go with something bigger and a little more fun, but in the end, I found myself thinking of my old frames and longing to wear them. Over the last year, I've learned to ignore the purple plastic that rests on my nose, but I have to tell you: now that I've put on Aaron's frames, I think the next time insurance will pay for a new pair for me, I'm going to see if they have a pair just like these. I'm including a photo so I  remember what they look like, in the event Aaron has moved on from this pair by then.

Nothing fancy, but I like them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Little Off

Not sure why, but I'm feeling a little off these days. I think these photos capture what I'm feeling pretty well.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dish Woes

I'm pretty sure my family believes we are the proud owner of a magic dishwasher. I can tell you we're not. It's a standard Bosch, bought in 2013 when we renovated the kitchen. We have to load the thing properly, add the soap, push the right button, and wait for the cycle to finish. The kids are mostly responsible for putting away the dishes when they are clean, but I'm not sure they fully understand how the dishes get in there in the first place. Over the last year or so, I've taken some time to show them how to load the machine properly. I've even showed them where the soap goes and which buttons to push. They can run the machine. My guess is, they just choose not to.

And I have to ask why not? Doesn't the stack of dishes that piles up bother them? If this house were theirs, would they want me to leave a bunch of dirty dishes scattered around the kitchen? I can tell you, with certainty, that I'll be performing that experiment the first time I visit each of them in their new homes.

In the meantime, I'll nag like the kitchen harpy I am, and we'll just carry on.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Birthday Wishes

It's Tim's birthday. I won't say which one, but he isn't celebrating a milestone. (Although, shouldn't every birthday be considered a milestone? I mean, really, you made it through another year. That's awesome, right?) But he's old enough now (and I'm not far behind him) that I think, what? When did that happen?

I'd like to write something witty and wonderful for today, but I attended a writing conference all day yesterday, and I'm wiped out. So instead, Tim will have to enjoy this little video:

(I would never be able to reproduce what you just watched. Happy Birthday, Timmy!)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Countertop Complaints?

When we were getting ready to renovate our kitchen, Tim and I discussed what we wanted in a countertop. With four kids, several animals, and little time, we knew that we wanted something durable and maintenance free, and most importantly, one that hid the dirt that seemed to accumulate no matter how many times I wiped things up.

We opted to splurge on a quartz countertop, considering it fit all my requirements, so the man at the kitchen shop helped me narrow down my quartz selections to two:

I decided I would probably appreciate the contrast between the dark countertop and the ivory cabinets that we'd chosen, and hey, wouldn't the dark countertop be so perfect for hiding the dirt?

Fast forward to three and a half years later, and let me tell you, this countertop does a fantastic job hiding the dirt. In fact, this countertop goes above and beyond the call of duty. I certainly can't find the dirt. But I also I can't find the twist tie, or the splotch of chili I dropped on the surface yesterday or the dollop of chocolate pudding the kids left there two days ago. In fact, I can only tell how incredibly dirty my counter top when I either turn on the under cabinet lights and crouch to see the glare, or I spray the counter down and wipe it with the paper towel.

I guess I got what I asked for and then some, eh?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dear Student Starts, II

Dear Student: I provide notes for a reason--to make my life and yours easier. But when you email me with a question that clearly indicates you haven't looked at the notes, then you're shit out of luck.

Dear Student: When I assign an extra credit assignment, I would expect you to at least attempt to do the extra credit. I know you'll come crying to me at the end of the semester and beg for mercy, but guess what? You'll be shit out of luck.

Dear Student: I didn't think I'd have to tell you this, but we have a wonderful (and so easy!) way of looking up information now. It is called THE INTERNET. You can also find so much information about the human body in YOUR TEXTBOOK. You cannot come to me every time you're too lazy to look something up because I'll tell you that avenue is blocked and that you're I'll tell you that you're shit out of luck.

Dear Student: It is so nice that you received an A as your grade for the first course in this series. If I were to be honest, though, I'm not sure how that happened (and I have to question who your teacher was). You do not know what osmosis is, you don't remember anything about how a hormone works, and you sit in class with a look of confusion on your face. When I speak to you, I find that you're not knowledgeable in any of the topics we covered last semester that form the basis of this semester. I'd say, you're shit out of luck.

Dear Student: While we're on the topic of grades, let me reassure you that just because you received an A last semester doesn't mean that you will receive one this semester. In fact, if you spent as much time studying the concepts as you do complaining about how you did on the exams, I bet you'd be doing so much better. So think long and hard about what you're doing, and consider changing your behavior. Because if you don't? Well then . . . I think you know this . . . you'll be shit out of luck.

(As an aside, sorry for the profanity. I did not sit down with the intention of putting together a list of starts with a common theme, but you know how it goes with writing. Sometimes, you get to a place you never thought you'd be.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fill-in-the-blank, IV

For this round of fill-in-the-blank (which come courtesy of S. B., of course), I've asked Aaron to help me out. He hasn't studied Shakespeare in school yet, so I'm curious to see how this goes.

All the world's a ________.

_______ is empty and all the _______ are here.

Arise fair _______ and kill the envious _______.

To _____, or not to ______?

My love's more richer than my _________.

I heard a voice cry, _______ no more!

We few, we happy few, we band of _________.

All's well that ends _______.

And here we are:

All the world's a meme.

The salt is empty and all the aliens are here.

Arise fair turtle and kill the envious ninja.

To eat, or not to eat?

My love's more richer than my potting soil.

I heard a voice cry, Cringe no more!

We few, we happy few, we band of lions.

All's well that ends quickly.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Table Six

(This post is a response to a writing prompt over at S. B.'s site. It said, "Write dialogue for the people seated at table six." Based on the pink flowers, I figured that table six might have been at a wedding.)

"Table six? Really? Doesn't she know that six is just about my least favorite number? I like four. She knows that. Why didn't she seat me at table four?" Meg crossed her arms over her chest and dropped into one of the eight cloth covered chairs at, yes, table six.

"Uh, Meg," her friend Bea said, "Don't you mean us?"

"Us?" Meg looked up, her brow furrowed and her lips pursed. "Yeah, us. You're with me I guess, so why not?"

Bea sighed. "When you asked me to come to this wedding, I thought it was because you didn't have a date. And that since we're friends, and we like to have fun, we could have a great time. But now . . ." Bea glanced around the dimly lit ballroom and felt the thumping of the music under her feet. "Now, I have to question your motives because . . . Is that really what you're worried about? That she sat you at table six?"

Meg shook her head and let out a breath. "Well, no, not really . . ."

"Because this day. This day . . ." Bea placed a hand on Meg's shoulder. " . . . is not about you. You know it's not about you, don't you?"

"Yeah . . . "

"You got married seven years ago and then decided that you didn't want to be married--" Bea started.

"I know. I know. I'ts not like you have to rehash my life for me!" Meg shot her friend a look that said watch it.

Bea actually stepped back and then sat down and leaned in to look Meg straight in the eye. "I wasn't. I was just letting you know that you've already done this sort of thing. This isn't your wedding. This isn't your party. This isn't about you."

"And your point is?" Meg rolled her eyes and sat back against her chair.

Bea's hand shot out and slammed the table. "Are you kidding me? That not everything is about you!"

A flush spread across Meg, but Bea wasn't sure if it was from anger or embarrassment. "That's such a cliche," said Meg.

"Because it's true, dammit!" Bea leaned in close to Meg so as to keep her voice down. "People like me have to say that to people like you all the time because those people like you have no clue just how narcissistic they are!"

"Speaking of narcissism. . . ." A smirk crossed Meg's face as her eyebrows rose closer to her hairline and she cocked her head.

Bea's eyes widened. "Oh no. Don't go there. I don't have the energy to think about him right now."

"How do you know I was going to talk about him?"

"Because it's usually all about you. But in those few times when it isn't all about you, you're talking or thinking about him."

"Pffft!" Meg turned her eyes away and glanced at the doors to the reception hall. She wondered where he was and whether or not he was happy.

"That's true and you know it," said Bea. "But let me tell you something. This is his wedding, reception, if you hadn't noticed. Not even two hours ago, he said, 'I do' to her. Not you. Her. You had your chance a long time ago, and you messed it up!"

Meg closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. "You're right. I know it. I don't even know why I showed up today. Hell, I don't know why they asked me to come today."

"Neither do I, really. What were you thinking when you said yes?"

"I was thinking that I could show him how great I looked. How happy I am. Show him what I lost. That I was the best thing that ever happened to him and now, look what he has his hands on. A two-bit--"

"Okay, Meg. That's enough! Do I have to remind you that you tossed him? Remember?"

A dreamy look infiltrated Meg's eyes, and then she narrowed them at Bea. "You're right. I did. So let's just enjoy the afternoon, shall we?"

Bea's shoulders relaxed and she smiled. "We shall. We shall also hope that they serve good food."

"Amen to that, sister!"

Monday, March 20, 2017

In Honor of . . .

March 2, 2017 celebrated World Book Day, at least in the UK and Ireland. And on that day, S. B. posted a nice little writing prompt that urged me (and everyone else) to look at the third book shelf, second book, 17th page of that book. I took the first sentence from the book I found, and used it as a writing prompt. And because I believe in full disclosure, I'm including exactly what book I used and where I found it. Don't be shocked at the messiness that has become our "library" book shelf.

Third shelf is the haphazard place we keep library books.

Eureka! A great find for the 2nd book.

And here we have it, the first sentence...
What drivel did I come up with? Read on . . .

At this moment, Lucy and Edmund both sneezed. Coincidence, or something else? Mother thought. It seemed to her that more and more these days, Lucy and Edmund performed exactly the same actions at exactly the same time. That behavior might have been explained if they were identical twins. She had heard that happening with the Jones twins up the street. But two kids, four years apart? What in the world?

"Bless you both," Mother said. "Are you catching a cold?"

"Nope," the kids said, in unison.

Mother shook her head and smiled. "Are you trying to bother me?"

"Nope." Again, the voices chirped in at exactly the same moment, and this time, it was almost difficult to tell which voice belonged to which child.

"Okay then. Would you like some tea?"

Neither child answered their mother, who had been studiously inspecting the rows she just knitted in a scarf made for Papa. She lifted her head and looked at her children. Just moments before the sneeze, the pair had been sitting in the large bay window of their living room, playing cards as the sunshine filtered through the curtains. But now . . .

Mother's heart thumped in her chest and her hand flew to her mouth. "What?"

"What's wrong, Mother?"

Two voices, intertwined and eerily harmonic, reached Mother's ears as she sat and stared at her children. They flickered in the light, as if their bodies were no longer tangible . . . like the holograms they saw on an old Doctor Who episode.

Mother sat up straight in her chair. "Lucy! Edmund! Are you okay?" She threw her knitting to the floor and rushed to the window. In the two seconds it took for her to get to the children, they were gone . . .

That's it, my friends. I have nothing else to add, and sometimes, that's what happens when you take a prompt and go with it. If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to update this post.

(Oddly enough, the entire world does not celebrate World Book Day on the same day. Here in the US, we don't celebrate until April 23. Which means I have that much time to finish up the rest of that story. Maybe.)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

I. Am. A. Unicorn.

Because we just came off a cold and busy week . . .

And because she just makes me smile.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

May vs Might

I tend to second guess myself when it comes to using may or might in a sentence, and I know that other people do, too. So today we're going to clear up some confusion about when to use may and when to use might. (As an aside, if I just speak, without thinking, I usually get them correct. Which means that somewhere, sometime, someone taught me the rules of this game.)

First off, when referring to possibility or probability, we tend to use the two words interchangeably, but if you speak to a Grammar Guru, they will tell you that a difference exists. And what is that difference? It's easy, really:

We use may when we want to express anything that is factual (or could be) or possible. We use might when we want to express something that is only improbable or hypothetical. Knowing that, then, how would you fill in the following examples?
Zoe and Talia         go to Nebraska.
We         leave for the store in five minutes.
Melina         need to eat dinner soon.
Patty         want to go outside.
If I color my hair red, I         make myself Irish.
Aaron         buy an $11,500 soccer ball if he wins the lottery.
They         have made it to the game, if traffic hadn't been so backed up.
If you're good at this, you'd answer may for the first four examples and might for the last three examples. And really, if you can keep in mind the fact that something ridiculous (or improbable) requires might, you'll be okay.

The problem, I think, is that might is the also the past tense of may. Yes, that's right! The English language at its finest.

So, if you want to say something that is factual, but in the past tense, then you need to use might. For example:
She might have stopped by the house at 3 p.m., but I was not there.
He might have been caught cheating, but the teacher was not looking.
Switching those verbs to the present tense could look like this:
She may stop by my house at 3 p.m. but I will not be there.
He may be cheating, but the teacher is not looking.
So anything else to trip us up? Yes, of course. What about if we're asking permission? Because both may and might can be used when asking permission, although may is more common.
You may have dessert.
May I be excused?
Might I ask you for a favor?
Might I ask when class begins?
Might I ask you for a ride to campus?
So it's okay to use both words, but what if you have previously asked the question, "May I go out with my friends?" You can answer that question in the following manner:
I may go out with my friends.
But that response can lead to confusion. Why? Because we want to know if you are not allowed to go out tonight or if you might not go out. Which is it?

At this point, you could be wondering if I remembered all of these details on my own and whether or not I call myself a Grammar Guru. I do not. I am far from a specialist in the grammar arena, but I do love the topic of correct grammar. I used my own knowledge plus a little help from some paper sources I found here in my pile of papers that didn't cite their sources.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Color Test

Did I ever tell you that sometimes, when I order a drink and they ask for my name, I tell the barista my name is Sparkle? Well I do. I have. And now, I have proof for why.

I took a color personality test and this is what I found:
According to this color test, you are a very sparkly person! You just have an aura about you that shines when you walk into a room. Your energy has the power to brighten up any situation! While you may not be the most outgoing person in the world, you definitely speak up when it matters. There is an aura of mystery surrounding you which immediately attracts people to you! You are classy and elegant. and always strive to make a good first impression!
Anyone who knows me realizes that nothing about that paragraph is true (ahem, classy and elegant? I think not) but it mentions sparkly! And so, I've proven that Sparkle should be my name! Great logic, right? If Trump can do it, so can I.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Nerve

I'm the type of person who looks behind me when I'm standing in line at the grocery store and offers to let the person behind me go ahead of me if they only have a few items. I do this regularly, and many times, people have thanked me profusely for allowing them to step in front of me. I don't mind, really. I think it is the right thing to do, and for the most part, I remember to glance back each and every time I go to the store.

This past Sunday, I was at Aldi and had just pushed my filled cart into the line. Of course, two seconds later, I looked behind me. There stood a woman in a red coat with about five things in her hands.
Me: Do you want to go ahead of me?
Red Coat: Oh, thank you, but no. I'm in no rush today.
Me: Are you sure? [I had to ask one more time. It would make me feel as though I'd done everything I could do to make her go ahead of me.]
Red Coat: I'm sure, but again, thank you.
I proceeded to unload my items onto the belt as another woman, clothed in a purple vest, stepped in line behind the woman to whom I'd just spoken. They got to chatting, and because I speak to everyone at the grocery store, I also added my two cents. As my groceries began to move forward, the woman in the purple vest looked directly at me.
Purple Vest: "You know, she [pointing to Red Coat] only has a few items. You should let her go ahead of you."
Me: I offered to let her go, but she said no.
Red Coat: Oh, she already offered, but I said no. I really am in no rush.
Purple Vest: Well, okay.
I felt like I should have said more to the lady in the purple vest, but I was flabbergasted by her comment. While I truly think everyone should check behind them to see if someone only has a few items to buy, I cannot possibly fathom telling someone to do that. Can you?

When I came home and relayed the story to Tim, he said, "Huh. She sure had some nerve." Yes, I think that's the best way to describe what I felt about her too. I'd love to see what she does when a conversation turns to politics.

Monday, March 13, 2017

My Week

Do you know what happened this past week? I experienced my spring break. Yep, that's right. All week long, I didn't have to go into work. I didn't teach. I didn't tutor. I didn't touch a single PowerPoint slide. Woo-hoo! But I did have work to do with respect to my classes: two exams needed to be put together and sent over to duplication. Monday morning, when I realized what I had to do, I crinkled up my nose and decided that the thing to do was to get them done. Then, I could move on to bigger and better things.

So did I follow through with that plan and write them on Monday? I finished most of those tests on Monday, but found myself double-checking them even on Wednesday afternoon. But, I also took some time for things that I really wanted to do, like converting a WIP into something a little different (I might tell you about that sometime). After that, for the rest of the week, I began reading a friend's first draft (yeah for first drafts!), I found Aaron a white shirt for his orchestra concert, I helped Aaron on the two days he stayed home sick with strep-like symptoms, and I had my hair done (red stripes are back in place!). Even better--I managed to read more than I have in a long time. Which means, it's no matter that I sat here in SW Ohio for the entire break AND that it's not really spring--I had an all around good week.

The one thing I didn't do is to catch up on my blog reading. So, cyber friends, I did not mean to neglect you. I'll do my best to get around to reading more of you in the upcoming weeks.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Kitchen Dance

Two steps to the left,
arm up.
Two steps to the right,
arm down.
Twirl to the left again.
This time, it's a curtsy
as I bend to open the freezer.

I pause, grab the cargo,
and without thinking,
its back to the left
with one foot
then the other. 
My other arm extends
and finds something else
that's needed.
Another twirl,
perhaps a pirouette

The steps of this kitchen dance
aren't pretty or alluring.
More function than fancy.
Nancy, the dance teacher,
would not approve.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Have Got

I found myself looking up "have got" on the internet the other day. Why? Because I was reading a book written by a British author and I was consistently seeing "have got" throughout the book, WHICH WAS DRIVING ME CRAZY.

Before you go wondering why I was so bothered, let me tell you this. The author was not using the phrase in this manner: I have got to go to the loo! That usage doesn't bother me so much, considering we use that sometimes as a way of emphasizing something. I have even heard myself mutter, "I have got to see that!" before.

What I found in my searching is that, according to a few sites, usage of "have got" is common in Britain (in place of just "have"). However, whether it's used frequently across the pond or by people over here, the combination just sounds plain wrong to me, especially when they use it in the present perfect sort of way.

So, "I'm sure my night terrors have got worse but then I guess that's not surprising . . ." should really say, "I'm sure my night terrors have gotten worse . . ." and "He'd have got in touch," should read "He'd have gotten in touch." And one more for you, ripped from this week's headlines, "Americans have choices, and they've got to make a choice." (In this instance, Jason Chaffetz could simply have used "have" when he spoke about low-income Americans and health insurance.)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Character Sketch, II

I had the wonderful opportunity to benefit from my writing group the other night. I gave them the first 20 pages of my newest WIP, Just Be. This is the novel that bounced around in my head for ages and then appeared on the pages during NaNoWriMo 2016. It has a long way to go, but my friends enjoyed reading it. They urged me to continue with my revisions. Encouragement like that is always welcome.

Because the characters have been with me for a long time, I know a lot about them. But I think sometimes it is useful to write down the characteristics of these people I hold so dear. So, it's time for another character sketch. This time, it's of Matt Bennet, one of my POV characters. The other main character is Emme McCarthy. She comes up in the list only because of her entanglement with Matt.

Matt is . . .
A 26-year-old male.
About 6'3".
A musician (some would say rocker) who barely earned his HS diploma.
A soccer fanatic.
A man who draws people toward him, whether or not he means to.
A secret keeper.
An all around hardworking person.
A horrible communicator.
A wiseass.
A mediocre son.
A loyal friend.

He has . . .
Thick, light brown hair.
Blue eyes.
Broad shoulders.
Long legs.
A slightly crooked nose.
A smile that makes anyone feel comfortable.
A strong handshake.
A tight back end.
A problem with personal insecurity.
Two best friends, one of whom he hasn't spoken to in too long.

He believes . . .
That while spiders are useful, he doesn't need to get to know them.
That he could learn to communicate better.
That women and men complement one another.
That all humans have the same rights.
That he might like to have children someday.
That almost everything is better when music is involved.
That he can escape the paparazzi every single time they come after him.
That his old friend, Emme, is the most beautiful and loving person he's ever met.
That he made a mistake when he left Emme without a word.
That anything can happen if you want it badly enough.

He doesn't believe . . .
That his parents tried hard enough.
That he deserves forgiveness.
That coincidences are coincidences.
In having sex for the sake of blowing off steam.
That Emme would keep anything from him.
That Emme feels anything for him other than friendship.
That the life you're born into is the life you must stay in.
That he can live in a world without Emme anymore.

He doesn't always see . . .
The reality of every situation.
Just how genuine of a person he is.
The ladies at the grocery store batting their eyelashes.
That his parents did what they could with what they had.
What's right in front of his eyes.

He fears . . .
That someday, the music inside of him will stop.
That when the music stops, he'll be useless.
That the climate is changing and the world needs to care about global warming.
That Emme has moved on.
That he will live a life of loneliness.
That he will never find the time and fortitude to apologize to Emme.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Dinner Tonight, II

Am I the only one tired of cooking? I know I can't be, because many of the moms (and dads) I know complain about that chore on a daily basis. Let it be known that if I had my druthers, I'd farm this task out. And just so you know, Tim would probably take the task on, like he did on many days when we were first married, but he gets home too late to routinely cook.

Anyway, with another blast of cold weather on us, I took it upon myself to find my favorite black bean soup recipe. It originally comes from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, a cookbook I own but cannot currently find in my house. Hope you enjoy it!


10 sun-dried tomatoes (not the kind that are packed in oil)
1 cup boiling water

1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1 minced jalapeno chile or 1/4 tsp cayenne
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup water
3 cups undrained diced, canned tomatoes (28-ounce can)
4 cups undrained cooked black beans (two 16-ounce cans)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
water or tomato juice

yogurt or sour cream (optional)


1. In a small bowl, add the boiling water to the sun-dried tomatoes and set aside.

2. In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic, and chile or cayenne in the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Add the cumin, 1/3 cup water, and the tomatoes with the juices.

3. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the black beans and their liquid, and continue to simmer, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking.

4. Drain and chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Add them to the soup and cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer. Stir in the cilantro and remove the soup from the heat. Puree 1/2 of the soup (or more) in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. If the soup is too thick for your taste, add some water or tomato juice. Reheat gently.

You can add sour cream or dollop of yogurt if you'd like. We simply serve the soup with a salad and bread, nothing fancy.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tell Me How You Really Feel: 27

OMG it's been so long since I've posted one of these. In fact, I had to look back and see when the last TMHYRF post was, and it occurred on April 13, 2016. Many reasons exist for why I haven't posted another one of these since then, and we'll go into none of those reasons today. Maybe another time. But here we are, at the beginning of the third month of the new year , and I think it's safe to say that I'm already done with 2017.

So what has prompted me to tell you how I really feel? How about all the headlines in the news? Or for that matter, scrap the headlines--most of them don't really tell you what's being reported. But the articles from reputable sources that reveal to me that hands down, I pretty much disagree with everything this current administration stands for? Yeah, those are getting to me. So much in fact, much of what I feel right now falls under the broad umbrella of anger.

I'll still read the articles so that I know what's going on. I'll still do what I think is right. I'll still fight for what I think is important and for those who cannot fight for themselves. But I just can't take the time to dwell on article after article these days.

On the other hand, I just had to tell you how I really feel. I know most of you know that I feel that way. I hope most of you also know that I won't try to convince you to think the way I do. That's not the way I work.

(In an effort to be transparent, I have never agreed with everything any administration has put forth. But during those administrations, I was up to my eyeballs in kids, so my time to really stew and write about anything was limited. I will also admit that this is the first time, however, that I've disagreed with so much of what's happening.)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Coffee Connections

Apparently, back in October 2014, I received an email letting me know that I could redeem my Starbucks rewards at Target, provided that Target store has a Starbucks cafe inside. (How do I remember this? Because this information, my friends, has been sitting in my drafts folder since that time. Yes, this is a draft makeover post.)

For some of you, combining Target and Starbucks might be the best thing ever: a partnership like none other, the golden moment of shopping. Being able to sip your favorite latte while you cruise the aisles of the place you drop too much money. Sounds great, right?

For me, it's worrisome. While I do like Target for the most part, I am not a fan of the Starbucks product. I don't like paying more for my drink than I do an entire gallon of milk, and I also don't like that any time I order a coffee, I have to be very careful not to get the fully caffeinated version. If I do, I will, quite literally, bounce off something after indulging. Plus, I have to add that I've never been a fan of shopping with a drink in hand. What if someone spills the drink all over the bras, panties, or shoes? What a sticky mess to clean up, right?

On the other hand, I have several Starbucks gift cards hanging around the house. Maybe I should throw one in my bag the next time I go to Target and, if I'm worried about walking and drinking at the same time, allow myself a quick break in the seating area. But if I'm going to do that, I might as well meet LRN at the Starbucks store right up the street and save myself some money (who doesn't go to Target and buy too much, right?)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Do Yourself a Favor

There's a beautiful saying (possibly lyric?) over at Tumblr that Reyna Biddy wrote. It has to do with learning to walk away, to let go when you know it's time. I'll let her do the talking, but you have to make the jump here to see it. 

Happy Sunday!