Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Stream of Consciousness and the Disasters of Doing Laundry

Some holidays, Hallmark or otherwise, have a unique vibe year after year. 

Take Valentine’s Day. 

Some years I remember longing, passion, young love. Others have been laden with tantrums as school-aged children threw fits over classroom card options at the drug store. And candy.

Some were wine soaked and dripping chocolate fondue. Others were met with exhausted bodies, minds and spirits longing, this time, for bed. Just bed. No monkey business.

Most have been smooth, easy, not terribly spicy, exciting or dramatic. Peaceful and calm. And monkey stuff.


I didn’t have to be to the aquarium until 8:00 a.m. today, so I planned to sleep an extra hour after staying up late last night because I could!

In my life, best made plans are usually meant with some type of resistance. And this Valentine’s Day morning was no exception because I was woken before 6:00 a.m. by what I thought sounded like a siren. In actuality, it was my better half vacuuming in the kitchen with my, in very close proximity, bedroom door wide open. 

Ummmm. That’s not very considerate, is it? Especially on the big V-Day. Or any other day!

I stumbled into the room all blurry-eyed, grumpy and What-the-Heck! 

He was vacuuming out the inside of the washer. Huh?

Okay, really, WHAT-THE-HECK! NOW?!?!?

He didn’t have his usual, chipper, happy face on.

I guess somehow there was a hardback book washed along with (his) clothes. 

I can confess to loading the washer with my his dirty clothes last night, but I did not actually start it. Don’t you think we share equal responsibility for the mess?

And a mess it was.

A 300 page hardcover book virtually disintegrates when it’s washed. Go figure. Its bits and pieces get into each and every crack and crevasse of both the washer and the dryer. Because, of course, you switch that shit over after the wash cycle even when you find a book in it? I guess you do...

Obviously, I didn’t put the book in there on purpose. For shame! But I was responsible and any amount of turning things around was not going to work.  My fault.

So the morning of this special day, at least here, did not start all light, love, and happiness. It’s still early though and I did get a smooch before he walked out the door. He gets over things extremely fast, and there's only one way to go and that's up!

Now I just need to tell him I ruined one of his favorite shirts. Maybe I'll wait until tomorrow. Maybe it will just disappear into thin air.

Monday, February 13, 2017

It's Monday, February 13th! What Are You Reading? Quick, Quick!!!

Hosted by The Book Date.

I say “Quick, Quick” because I would rather tell you about my experience in a Mayan sweat lodge while it is fresh in my memory. Though first I need to write it down.

What have I recently finished since we last discussed?

Nothing. I was on vacation, but not on the type of vacation that made reading easily prioritized. Actually, most days/nights, I did not have the mental or physical capacity for it.

What am I currently reading?

The same stuff as last time though I am a bit further along.

About halfway through and it continues to engage. It is funny, too. I now know what "The Nix" is! Love when the meaning of a title is illuminated. I also love the cover art on this one, too. It makes perfect sense for the story. This book is really good and I fully understand the "buzz" surrounding it though I wish I had more time to devote to it right now.

I am a Mary Oliver fan through and through. I just love her. This collection returns to what I think Oliver writes about best, her observations of nature and her surroundings.

Thirst is exactly what my desiccated lips and mind need right this very minute. I have taken to reading each poem once internally then out loud for the second time just to see if the experience is different. Feels different. It does and I will continue on this way. Will be finished today, sadly.

Almost finished and almost wish I was not listening to this. It is a bit confusing as there are so many names that sound similar, and the timing goes forward and back. Maybe it’s me. Still, it is compelling and sad and heartbreaking. Why are we so cruel to one another?

What will I read next?

Of COURSE! I have pre-ordered my copy for his event on March 2nd, and it is available for pickup TOMORROW!!! WOO HOO! Can’t wait. I am sure I will finish it before I come back for “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?” next time. Wait. I’ll be out of town. Trust me, it will be finished!

Okay, how about you? Any recommendations or books you think I should read?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Tell Me How to Feel and I Will: 100 Word Challenge

I’m lost, biding
the switch flip telling 
me to feel

Recognizable like my 
lips brushing yours 
breathing down my
neck hair raising, like 
salty rivulets as
your sweat dripping
between my breast

Or tempered glass 
withholding desiring
to see more
clearly more you more

Pulled hair
bitten lips filthy
dirt under our nails

And secrets buried
deep dark eyes
for whose or
those who were keen
or know

tricks or truths
map me
a forest for my
teeth to chew
echoing rushes, you
feel my pulse.

What are the contents 
of another’s words?


In cleaning out the content's of my phone's notepad, I found a few poems I wrote many moons ago. This one seemed an all right fit, despite the need to edit out fifty words, for Thin Spiral Notebook's 100-word prompt. The word is "telling" to be used or implied.

Give it a whirl. It is a blast!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Best Place on Earth: 100-Word Challenge

Bora Bora
This particular game goes, “If money were no object, where would you go?” It’s pipe dreams, that’s all.

A stilted hut on Bora Bora. An apartment in Florence. Diving the Great Barrier Reef. Sensation overload in Marrakesh. Sailing the Greek Islands. Patagonia!

On our well worn couch with a fire freshly stoked, I feel his breath on my neck as he whispers. Desiring.

I wear him like his softest tee shirt. Safe, cozy, loved. It can’t be bottled. No amount of money in the world can buy it. 

This home. This peace. This feeling.

We’re the best place on earth.


Squeezing in a 100-word challenge right under the wire! Check out the writers at Thin Spiral Notebook where this week's word is "Money". I firmly believe I have to practice often for writing to come naturally again. I'm trying!

My Email Has Been Hacked!

My personal one, not the blog's. At least it appears that way because weird things are happening. Old emails, from years ago, were sent out unbeknownst to me. Then I got over one hundred Mailer-Daemon mail failure messages:

Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address.

<email address here>:
Error code 475: Suspicious activity was detected on your account

If you have received any looking like spam or old and unexpected content from my personal email address (you know if you have it), I didn't send it. I am so frustrated trying to figure it out. Boy, I hate this.

Monday, January 30, 2017

It's Monday, January 30th (Can You Believe It?)! What Are You Reading?

Hosted by The Book Date

Sometimes life gets in the way and severely impacts your discretionary reading time like this past weekend. You, too? No, it’s fine and all good. Important to choose people over books, yes?

What did I finish?

Not a heck of a lot!

Not sure why it took me so long to read its 132 pages. It’s really a one sitting book. Mothering Sunday is the day servants are “allowed” off to visit their families. In this book, Jane, who is a servant for a neighboring estate, has a long-term affair with Paul, the upper-class dude next door who is getting married in two week’s time to a lady in his socio-economic circle and moving to London. It’s about love, lust, loss, class structure, finding oneself, moving on and letting go. I liked it very much and would definitely like to read more from Swift.

What am I currently reading?

This deserves a post of its own, but I have successfully convinced both of my book clubs to read the same book, or one to read a book I’ve already read, four out of the last five times. They usually meet within a week or two of each other. If I had to read separate books, one for each, it would leave me with precious little time to devour something of my very own choosing. Don’t tell them.

I’ve had a copy of this book for months. Both clubs were looking for an “it” pick (a new release everyone is reading, talking about and loving) that contains humor and some crazy. I thought this one would serve multiple (read selfish) purposes.

Within the last year, I’ve been trying to discover a few books from small press publishers. I can’t even remember where or how I came across this book. It’s pretty insane. It is extremely raw, not for the easily offended or faint of heart. The language and subject matter are pretty rough. It’s about addiction and relationships. I am liking it the more time I devote. I’m about halfway and finding myself mentally planning when I can squeeze in a few pages into a busy day. That’s a good sign. I should finish today or tomorrow, so I’ll give my complete assessment next week!

Kan is also the author of The Vegetarian. I chose to take on Human Acts first and I am listening to the audio version. I am about one third of the way through and on the second of what I assume will be many more narrators. It is already so, so dark. It’s going to break my heart, I just know it. Is cruelty part of being human? I think this book with drive us to ask this and many other things.

What am I going to read next?

On February 14th, I am going to be first in line somewhere to buy: 

the long awaited work of fiction by George Saunders!!! You see, I have a date with him on March 2nd, and I would like to discuss it from an intelligent and intimate perspective.

I can’t wait to find out what his favorite word is! (I ask every author if they would include it with their signature. Haven’t yet met one who wouldn’t.)

What are you all reading???

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Suspended Coffee

Over the course of my adult life, I have lived in the city of Chicago for many years and currently do. It is cold here and, sadly, with the cold brings the issue of our homeless increasingly to the forefront of my mind. It is not that I am seeing them more; actually I am seeing them far less than in warmer months. I pass by people every single day cold and hungry with cups in their oftentimes gloveless hands. Most politely ask for any spare change. Usually I don't have any, but they thank me for checking anyway.

Yesterday, I saw him before he saw me. He was perched in a poplar spot on a sidewalk curb in front of the corner Chase Bank.

With both my hands clutching two heavy grocery bags with not a penny in my coat pocket, I explained that I had no change and offered him a banana instead. He asked if I could come back later with change; he really needed money. I said I didn’t think so, but I had these bananas. He replied, “Okay, I’ll take the banana. How about two?” I gave him the bunch and he thanked me.

Last winter, there was a string of nights colder than a witches’s XXX. The moisture of my breath almost froze instantly as I exhaled.

An old woman, extremely small in stature even though wrapped in a full length, puffy coat, pulled a heaping cart down the same crowded theater district I was also passing though with what I assumed were her every belonging. 

I had gloves. She did not. I asked if she wanted mine. 

She didn't say yes or no.

As soon as she let go of her cart to reach for my gloves, the cart tipped over dumping half of what she owned onto the bustling sidewalk. She started screaming at me. I didn’t understand what she was saying. I knew I had agitated her. Asking if I could help only made her scream louder. I didn’t know what do and didn’t want to upset her further. I don’t know if she was embarrassed. I thought maybe she was mentally unstable. In any case, I did the only thing a lame person (that’s me) could think of, and that was to lay the gloves in front of her.

There are so many instances like this in a large metropolitan area. 

The first I told you because it happened yesterday. The second because I am still haunted by the woman who I have actually seen around here and there since.

Sometimes I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I feel stupid continuing to try. Sometimes I am at a loss. My efforts seem lame. Like all the time. But my feelings or discomfort are not what matters or going to make me stop. I am old enough to know that most things in this world, in life, even in my own, are not about me. 

I do what I can. I smile a lot. I suspend coffee.

Somehow, it is just not good enough.